Rifugio Auronzo is a high mountain refuge at an elevation of 2.340m (7,677ft) above the sea level, located in the Sexten Dolomites of northeastern Italy, rising on the border between the northernmost section of the province of Belluno and Alta Pustera, in South Tyrol.
The shelter is the base of the climb to the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, three distinctive battlement-like peaks and it has been climbed several times in Giro d’Italia race. There’s an asphalted road to reach the refuge, and the speed is limited to 30km/h. It has an average gradient of 12.4 per cent – with some ramps touching a crippling 18 per cent, and it’s a toll road.
The drive is definitely worth it. Don’t forget your camera! It’s one of the most touristy roads in the Dolomites, because of the spectacular mountains and also because of the the many good walking paths that takes you to places and remnants of where the first World War was partly fought.
The asphalted road finishes in the shelter. Behind the Rifugio Auronzo, just where the tarmac ends, a difficult footpath could take one down the valley on the other side or one could take an easier one going down a bit ahead from the gravel road. The unpaved continuation of the road by the rifugio takes you to Rifugio Lavaredo, where it is no longer possible to continue cycling on a road bike.