Two thirds of an Italian building on the Alpine border between Italy and Switzerland is now in Switzerland, reported Le Matin. The incident has triggered three years of intensive transnational negotiations with no breakthrough.
The Rifugio Guide del Cervino (pictured above) sits at 3,480 metres above sea level on the border of the ski domains of Zermatt (Switzerland) and Breuil-Cervino (Italy). Constructed originally on Italian ice, much of that same that ice is now part of Switzerland.
On Alpine glaciers, borders are defined by the line of watershed where water departs towards each respective country. On this particular border the melting of the glacier has moved this line away from Switzerland and towards Italy leaving around two thirds of the Rifugio in Swiss territory.
The Théodule glacier lost around a quarter of its weight between 1973 and 2010. This had shifted the border roughly 30 metres away from Zermatt into Italian territory.
According to Alain Wicht, the Swiss official responsable for managing the border, these movements are frequent and are usually resolved without any political involvement.
However, the Rifugio sits on a prime patch of icy real estate. The site is right on the cusp between two resorts. Ski south west and you’ll end up on the Italian side, ski north east and you’ll eventually end up down in Zermatt. With great views in both directions the site sits at the heart of plans to build a modern facility.
The future of the unrenovated building remains unclear. However, for Lucio Trucco, the manager of the Rifugio, it could not be clearer. The menu is Italian, the wine is Italian and the taxes are Italian, he said.