Perched at an elevation of 2,800 meters above sea level, the enigmatic Buffa di Perrero holds the title of the “loneliest house in the world,” emerging as an unconventional tourist magnet in the picturesque landscapes of Italy.
This isolated dwelling, situated on the rugged slopes of the Italian Dolomites, has stood uninhabited for a century, yet its allure persists.
Ascend to the lofty altitude of 2,800 meters, navigating the rocky contours of the Dolomites, and the Buffa di Perrero reveals itself.
What remains elusive, however, is the origin story behind this peculiarly positioned abode.
Over the years, speculation has surrounded the means by which laborers, thought to have toiled during World War I, gained access to construct a dwelling on this challenging terrain.
The perplexing history of Buffa di Perrero is shrouded in legend. According to local lore, Italian soldiers erected this concealed refuge to seek shelter from inclement weather and find respite during confrontations with the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Constructed with brick walls, a slanting roof, four framed windows, and a set of camping chairs, the structure leaves many puzzled about the transportation logistics of construction materials to this remote location.
To address treacherous sections of the trail leading to the mini-structure, the Via Ferrata, or “iron way,” incorporates steel ladders and cables.
It is believed that over a century ago, soldiers erected the hut during World War I, providing a haven for rest, storage, and a strategic vantage point against approaching forces from the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Numerous similar “bivouacs” sprung up along the Italian front during the global conflict, as both armies engaged in foot battles and bombarded the mountains with heavy artillery, causing avalanches and tragedies like the infamous “White Friday” on Mount Marmolada in December 1916.
Weather-induced damage continues to pose threats in the region, with reports from the local newspaper Il Dolomiti stating that the hut became “unusable” for climbers after its roof collapsed.
How did this isolated structure gain notoriety?
To catch a glimpse into the mysterious house, adventurers can navigate the steel ladders, rungs, and cables affixed to steep mountain rocks along the Via Ferrata.
However, the gray wooden interior may disappoint, featuring only several white wooden chairs and little else.
The cramped room adorned with wood suggests that soldiers or modern explorers seized the chance to unwind—a logical choice given that some Dolomite paths take about a week to traverse.
Inspired by this peculiar dwelling, the Auronzo Cluba Alpino Italiano (CAI), overseeing hiking trails in the region, erected a contemporary shelter near the Forcella Marmarole pass. This modern refuge, capable of accommodating up to 12 people, was positioned dramatically by a helicopter, creating the illusion of a descent down the mountainside.
Adventurers willing to embark on a challenging five-hour journey, partly aided by a ski lift, can explore this spectacular shelter, reminiscent of Buffa di Perrero.
Like any renowned landmark, Buffa di Perrero has sparked imitations. The Auronzo Cluba Alpino Italiano (CAI) crafted a modern shelter transported by helicopter to the Forcella Marmarole pass, requiring an arduous five-hour trek to reach the seemingly plunging structure. While offering a peek into the mysterious edifice, the surroundings and panoramic views remain the primary highlights of this secluded spot.