If you are a mountain lover and are always looking for new places to hike, Italy is the right place for you. Its beautiful mountains, hills, valleys and lakes make the country an excellent destination for people of all ages. In particular, the Italian Alps run through every region in northern Italy creating a 1200 Km long natural border with Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland, and France. This article will focus on the Dolomites in one northern Italian region specifically, i.e., Veneto.
The Dolomites in Veneto are well known for many reasons; among them is the so called enrosadira, a natural phenomenon by which the mountain peaks take on a pink color which gradually turns into violet. This happens at dawn and it is due to the chemical composition of the rocks.
The Dolomites constitute a big group of mountains. Among the most famous groups are Marmolada (with the highest mountain top: Punta Penia which is 3348 m high), Sorapis, and Sella. If you want to enjoy a good view of Marmolada without having to walk for hours, you can go hiking on the Viel del Pan path. The view from there is breathtaking. Furthermore, you will see the mountain tops of Lavaredo (Tre Cime ) from the Rifugio Auronzo. Another area which can be reached easily is Val di Fassa which is close to the mountains of Vajolet and Sella. San Martino di Castrozza is another beautiful location which is located near Baita Segantini, a cozy chalet where you can enjoy traditional local dishes.
If you love lakes the bordering region of Trentino and in particular Madonna di Campiglio will be the ideal place for you. Among the most famous lakes is Braies which is considered to be one of the most beautiful lakes in South Tyrol. Lake Tovel is also very famous and you can do scuba diving there and see the so-called submerged forest. You can book this for only 20€ and you will be accompanied by a guide. Among other lakes are Misurina and Sorapis, which is particularly popular with visitors during weekends.
The Lake of Sorapis is located near the town of Cortina d’Ampezzo, which is known for its skiing facilities but also for being the setting for a number of well-known films. Corso Italia, which is the main street in the city centre is full of boutiques and luxury hotels as well as spas and restaurants. Cortina is famous in Italy for being an exclusive ski destination however, it is also popular in the summer; indeed, golf, tennis, rafting, horse-riding are only a few of the activities that you can try here during this time of the year. Among the most beautiful villages near Cortina are Auronzo di Cadore, Selva di Cadore and Calalzo.
The area surrounding Cortina is also famous from a historic point of view as many First World War battles occurred there. Historic remains include the Lagazuoi tunnel, which was carved inside the mountains by soldiers to hide mines. It is also worth walking along the Kaiserjäger-Lagazuoi path which hosts the so-called 52 tunnels (more than 6 kilometers of tunnels, 2 of which have been carved in the mountains). Other interesting places include the Paleontology and Anthropology Museums in Cortina and the Museum of Modern Art. As far as town’s architecture is concerned, it is worth visiting the Basilica with its 11th-century tower built with dolomia rock (the type of rock that gives the name to the Dolomites).
As for the local cuisine in the area of Cortina, this includes: casunziei (delicious pasta with vegetable flling), canederli (small dumplings made of bread crumbs with meat or vegetables and served with melted butter or broth), polenta (boiled cornmeal) with local cottage cheese and mushrooms, soups, but also sacher cake, apple pie and cream-filled krapfen.
Cortina has been chosen to host the 2026 Winter Olympics, and the next ski world championship in February 2021. Therefore, you might want to visit the area during December 2020 or January 2021 since there will be more than 600 athletes, visitors and tourists in February 2021. On the other hand, if you are thrilled by the idea of seeing live sport competitions you should start planning your trip in advance in order to find a comfortable and affordable hotel and add sightseeing or hiking to your championship-themed vacation. The choice is up to you but the Dolomites will always be the right choice!