Alpine tradition meets nostalgic beauty

On a sunny autumnal morning, waking up at Zum Riesen Historic Refugium, located in the romantic valley of Venosta, in the Italian Alps, feels like traveling back in time.

As soon as opening the windows, my ears would hear birds singing mixed with carefree laughter, while my eyes would meet the beautiful and pure faces of a few children, running around the small alleys of the town. They surely reminded me of my own childhood, which I too spent in the Alps, and which also has been filled with the most beautiful memories of laughter and playing outdoors all day long, without a care in the world.

That very small Alpine village, smelled like sweet nostalgia and traditional romance at the same time. And that story dates back to the 14th century, when the first Zum Riesen landlady started offering a well-curated place to stay and dine. Throughout the centuries the place was mainly run by women, passing the management from woman to woman. And it’s still the same today.

Alexandra, together with her son, is the loving and caring owner of a unique place preserving the past in a most beautiful way. She might just add a bouquet of dry flowers or offer some of her homemade jam together with what tasted like the world’s number one apple juice I’ve ever tried.

And those small details truly make the difference. To me, those details, define true and pure luxury. Especially when breathing in that clean Alpine air, just outside of the inn, or entering the garden opposite of the guesthouse, and becoming aware of how beautiful nature is treating us. Just as good as Alexandra is treating her guests and spoiling them with local apples or homemade jam.

On the outer wall a wisteria lovingly hugs the house, a gorgeous sight in summer. Its thick roots still push through the house floor. Entering the guesthouse through the main door, most unusal you’ll be in the midst of that mountain spirit, while climbing a flight of old stone stairs, which are precious traces of how the place once looked like. Before being renovated succesfully.

But Zum Riesen is much more than a usual romantic Alpine refugium, surrounded by mountains and fresh air.

Zum Riesen is a poetic harmony of historical treasures, such as Alexandra’s grandmother’s tea cups and breakfast table set up and contemporary wooden architecture, providing light and the most surreal window views. Again looking at mountains and the small Riesen garden, where all the ingredients for small and delicious dishes come from. Breakfast, and oh what a luxury that is, only consists of local products, deriving from the Venosta Valley.

Oh and did I mention the so-called Gentlemen Salon which back in time was reserved for men only, and today is open to all guests at Zum Riesen for having breakfast or simply gathering for a most delicious homemade drink after a long day in the mountains. Back in the days, the counsellors from nearby towns, used this room as a sort of stage to announce important decisions after a council assembly. Back then, the doors were shut and all women had to keep out of politics.

But who stayed at this unique Alpine guesthouse?

The inn was particularly busy during the month of October, when the farmers of the close-by Ultimo Valley started their pilgrimage through the pass of Tarres to the Riesen. Here they would sleep, play cards in the evenings, and talk business.

In short words, the Riesen, is not only a treasure of history and successful result of an amazing refurbishment, but it also is a place of peace and beauty, a house of tradition and poetry.

And like Alexandra, the Riesen owner confirms:

With a great deal of respect and love for this place, we merged history and new creations. This results in harmony.

Special thanks to Alexandra & Franziska for having me at this Alpine fairytale place to stay!