Hit the Slopes in Style: Italy's Winter Getaways
As ski season quickly approaches, it’s time to hit the slopes in style. The Dolomites (Dolomiti in Italian), are located in northeastern Italy, and make a great side trip from Venice. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, these beautiful and unique mountains offer world class skiing and a plethora of outdoor activities. After spending a few days in Venice, escape to the great outdoors and enjoy the gorgeous scenery in these mountaintop towns.
Driving for a few days through the Dolomites, you will pass some of the most dramatic landscapes you will ever see. There is a route that begins in Venice, passes Pieve di Cador, and brings you up to Cortina. When traveling in winter months, this road is safer and much faster than taking the passes.
We suggest you spend a few days in Cortina d’Ampezzo, enjoying the premier mountain resort town. Known as the “Pearl of the Dolomites,” Cortina is a symbol of sport, style, fashion and Italian living at its best. The spectacular scenery is an ideal backdrop for visitors to enjoy culture, tradition, sport, art, food, wine and Italy’s natural beauty. In addition to hosting world cups and international ski competitions, Cortina attracts ski enthusiasts with its scenic slopes, perfectly groomed cross country tracks, and thrilling off-piste rides. One of the joys of Dolomiti Super Ski, as this area is known, is that you can ski miles and miles, dine on the way, end up in another valley and then use public transport to return.
Continuing on your luxury Italian vacation, depart Cortina to visit the next valley, the Val Badia. Here you will find charming and authentic Italian villages, such as Ortesei with its traditional crafts, wood carving, cow bells, and clocks.
Moving on, take the Passo Pordoi down to Bolzano and Merano. The city of Bolzano was the meeting point between Mittel European and Mediterranean lifestyles You can see and feel this meeting of Austria/ Germany and Italy in this valley. You can feel a distinct difference between Italian Bolzano and Austrain Merano which is German speaking. On your trip to this region in Italy, do not miss a visit to the Otsi the Ice Man Museum and the Castel of Firmian.
The Messner Mountain Museum is located in the Castello of Firmian, which overlooks the city of Bolzano. The museum concept was developed by pro climber Reinhold Messner. The museum is an exposition of hiking and climbing worlds and the relationship between man and mountain. Don’t forget well treaded shoes as you can hike around the castello complex. Please note the museum in closed in November.
If you are visiting Italy outside of snow season, or prefer hiking to hitting the slopes, there are a lot of great trails to choose from. From a variety of hikes to biking trails, this area is a haven for the active traveler. Day hikes from Cortina include Passo Giau, Passo Falzarego, Cime di Laverado, and Marmolada. We can arrange a hiking guide who will accompany you on your customized itinerary.