The Huts of Orias
A very easy hike in Val Pesarina, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy
I like to think of the valleys as worlds apart.
Each valley is unique and has something that makes it special. Val Pesarina is perhaps one of the most fascinating valleys in Friuli Venezia Giulia, given its link with the production of clocks and the measurement of time. In the place where I take you today, however, the Huts of Orias (Stavoli di Orias in Italian), it seems as if time has stopped. If you visit them and observe them carefully though, you will see that in Orias time does not stand still, it only flows more slowly.
Read on to find out the details of this hike.
I immediately make a clarification. It is possible to reach the huts by car (or in any case with a 15-minutes walk). I advise you not to be tempted by laziness. The hike is not that difficult anyway.
This hike in Friuli Venezia Giulia starts from Pieria, a hamlet of Prato Carnico. To reach it from Udine, drive north towards Carnia. If you decide to take the A23 motorway, the exit is Carnia – Tolmezzo.
Continue towards Tolmezzo, then towards Villa Santina. From there proceed towards Ovaro. After passing the village, before Comeglians, you’ll see a junction on the left to reach Val Pesarina. Proceed, pass Avausa, Prato Carnico and stop in Pieria.
Where to park
In Pieria, you will find convenient parking right in front of the town hall. The hike towards the Stavoli di Orias begins just beyond the church which can be seen on the left of the parking lot. Hike recap to Stavoli di Orias
- Total km: 6
- Elevation Gain: 450
- Total hours: 4 (including break)
- Difficulty: T
- CAI trail: there are no CAI trails
- Children: Yes
- Dogs: Yes
- Support points: Not present. At the huts, however, there is a fountain.
The Huts of Orias
The hike to the Stavoli di Orias is very simple and takes place entirely on the paved road. On paper, this hike seems very easy (and it is), but in practice, the slope is steep. Please don’t fall into temptation, keep walking.
From the very first steps, among the houses of Pieria, a different atmosphere is perceived. The road is asphalted, the houses more or less renovated but in fact, it seems that time flows differently here than on the plain. Dogs bark as we walk through and leave the village to begin to climb. The houses, wrapped in a light mist, seem to doze.
Right from the start, we cross the first huts, which obviously make my imagination fly. One is located in a hollow next to the stream, the other, immediately afterward, in a sunny position with a view of the mountains.
We barely started our hike but looking up, we already see the intermediate stage of our trip: Truia.
The Hamlet of Truia
The village of Truia can also be reached by car, it can be another parking point for the Stavoli of Orias which are only 15 minutes away on foot.
Truia is also balancing between complete abandonment and enduring life.
In the center of the village, we find another sign to show us the way to Orias, but before continuing we are enchanted by the sight of two little girls doing their homework sitting on the sidewalk in front of their house. The vision is so atypical in the city that it really seems to have entered another temporal space.
Arriving to the Huts of Orias
After passing this group of houses, the hike continues on a paved road with a final ramp. As we elevate, the mountains that surmount the De Gasperi Lodge, emerge beyond the slope and opens up to our view.
It is so exciting to see it from this perspective that we hardly notice that we have reached the huts.
The buildings emerge on our right in all their rural beauty.
What are the "stavoli"?
Let’s take a step back. The stavoli are typical rural buildings of Carnia that served as a support point for animals and shepherds who moved towards the mountain pastures. Usually, each farmer built one in their own land. Instead, the stavoli of Orias were strangely built next to each other.
Orias is therefore a small rural village made up of 12 practically identical stavoli positioned at an altitude of 1000 meters above sea level. Their construction dates back to between the late 1700s and early 1800s. They are located on a plateau facing the valley and from them you can admire, to the east, Mount Arvenis, Mount Tamai, and the Zoncolan and to the west the Creta of Mimoias.
In the articles that are found online, they are defined as a place where time has stopped.
But looking at them the feeling is different. What is in front of us is not a stationary village, if anything it is a place where time passes at a different speed. The dilapidated huts are close to those that have been renovated or are being renovated. The buildings that once housed livestock, now become a place where the lucky owners can take refuge and unplug.
The Huts of Sopravalle
The hike does not end there. Proceeding along the road that leads to Orias, and walking along the path that bends to the left, you can reach another tiny village, consisting of just four houses, Sopravalle.
Here the feeling of abandonment is more felt. In the lawn next to one of the huts there are in fact some old rides, a slide, a swing, the base of which is now covered with grass. Nature is taking them back.
Returning to Pieria
To return to the lunch Stavoli of Orias and sit in the sun to enjoy our sandwich, while in the background we hear the games of the children who have arrived here to explore.
We return to Pieria following the same road as the outward journey. When we get to the car, the sun has already disappeared behind the mountains creating an early sunset.
Why you should visit the Huts of Orias
To savor the taste of tranquility and a life closer to nature. As I wrote in the story of the Pusti Gost trail in Val Resia, I cannot help but think that these buildings were used and inhabited until not so long ago. Looking at the huts now it seems crazy, but every now and then I wonder if, perhaps, we are the real crazy ones.