Italy’s rustic hut Rifugio Guide del Cervino is technically two-thirds Swiss due to glacier movement.
Swiss ski resort Zermatt and Italian resort Cervinia share a border and together form the interconnected ski area Matterhorn Ski Paradise. Year-round skiing happens on the shared Plateau Rosa glacier, currently one of the only European glaciers with lifts still turning this summer after record temperature highs follow a winter of low precipitation.
Italy shares dozens of moving markers with Switzerland, as well as with Austria. And Switzerland, in turn, has thousands with its five neighbours.
Way up in the snowy Alps, a melting glacier puts the location of an Italian mountain lodge in dispute.
Theodul Glacier’s retreat means the watershed has crept towards the Rifugio Guide del Cervino, a refuge for visitors near the 3,480-metre (11,417-foot) Testa Grigia peak — and it is gradually sweeping underneath the building.
The menu is in Italian, not German, and priced in euros rather than Swiss francs. Nonetheless, at the counter, he orders a slice of pie and asks: “So — are we in Switzerland or in Italy?”
When it was built on a rocky outcrop in 1984, its 40 beds and long wooden tables were entirely in Italian territory. But now two-thirds of the lodge, including most of the beds and the restaurant, is technically perched in southern Switzerland.
Image courtesy Fabrice COFFRINI