A Simple Lunch Turns Into A Lasting Memory In A Small Italian Alps Town.

Hirsch Stube in the summer. Small, friendly, perfect for a day of rest from skiing.

When you are living out of a suitcase while traveling from one ski resort to another and have to transfer cash and cards from ski pants to jeans daily, inevitably, one day a mishap will occur.

I am in Gressoney La Trinité, the highest town in the Lys Valley which itself forms part of the even larger Valle d’Aosta in Northwest of the Italian Alps. It’s an ancient town as are all of the towns in this steep sided valley. This is skiing Mecca to those in the know. Down the road a piece is Chamonix very nearby is Mount Rosa,  the second highest mountain in Europe. I have earned my day off. Skiing for the week in powder and steep rocky pitches, I confirm with my buddy at breakfast, today I rest.

So rest day is my time to reset, wander, and ponder in the little village dominated by steep mountain sides soaring to over 14,000 feet and will include lunch nearby.

At Hirsch Stube Trattoria in Gressony La Trinité, I order a half-litre carafe of red wine, the house special, and very special it is too, musky with dark chocolate, beautiful drinking. In addition to the wine, I add a ravioli, sparkling water and mountain bread. Briskly the order is removed to the kitchen just an arms length from my table for one.

Suddenly clutching the empty pockets of my jeans I discover to my horror: No cash, no Euros and no credit cards. OMG! 

‘Scusi, I say, to Francesca, the delightful host, I have no money. I attempt to explain my embarrassment. She says, in perfect English, “No no, I trust you, we are open all day, just enjoy your meal and come back later”. I do. 

The trattoria is almost full. A child wanders in with a Labrador on a lead and joins her parents. This seems so normal here in this mountain village. Everyone greets the dog, rubbing its ears and whispering niceties to the animal. It sniffs the floor for crumbs and sits contentedly, quietly, at the owners feet.

Here’s the bar in the trattoria.

Timber panelling, local stone, blackboard menus and timber tables decorate the space. The place is tiny, seating no more than thirty persons. The owners Francesca and her husband have owned it for three years. Prior to this proudly exclaiming they had spent a year in Australia. Yes, she says, we visited the Great Ocean Road near Melbourne. And so we exchange mutual stories about travel and restaurants owned and experiences. I promise to come back some time. An exchange that isn’t the first this trip.

The wine, the ravioli sublime with wild mushrooms and mountain herbs are swept up from the plate, every last crumb. What a wonderful place here in the mountains of high Italy. Snow decorates the pine trees in this little village shoe horned in to this steep valley. The locals are aware of the the tasty fare at this ristorante. You should visit sometime. Me, I plan to return again soon.

What: Bar Trattoria Hirsch Stube

Where: Gressoney la Trinité, Aosta Valley, Italy



  1. Ken Francois says:


    Thanks for sharing your beautifully written and heartwarming story about Hirsch Stube Trattoria…so nice to hear about trusting folks like Francesca.

    Looking forward to hearing more about your travels.

    R/Ken Francois
    Colorado Springs, CO

    • Dave Chambers says:

      Ken, I find the Italians always to be warming, trustworthy and overall wonderful human beings. Certainly has been my observation over many trips to Italy.
      And thank you for your very kind comments.
      Vic, Australia

  2. Great story. I intend to ski in Italy once safe travel resumes.Thanks for sharing.

    • Dave Chambers says:

      Bryan, thank you appreciated. My first story and I hope not my last. Italy is a treasure not always on the radar for many people. It has quaint villages, great food and lovely people. If you have been before you know this already.
      Vic, Australia

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