Italy’s north-east is dominated by the Dolomites (Dolomiti), an extensive range of impressively jagged peaks. This area, in the Trentino-Alto Adige Region (the South Tyrol) and the neighbouring Veneto, is close to the Austrian border, and there is a strong German/Austrian influence throughout. Popular with summer walkers and climbers, in the skiing season the Dolomites rejoice in sunny weather and plenty of powdery snow, with slopes and trails for all abilities. The ‘Superski Dolomiti’ area is linked by over 450 lifts which serve 1220km of slopes, incorporating 12 ski areas. You can buy a pass for the entire network, for single days or longer periods. There are good road links, and regular bus services. Bolzano is the regional tourist centre.
One of the most fashionable and well-known ski resorts in Italy, Cortina was the home of the 1956 Olympics. It’s still a rather chic destination, which is reflected in prices. However, the winter sports facilities are good, including a wide range of activities. The town is in the Veneto and a three-hour coach ride from Venice.
> Cortina d’Ampezzo tourist information
> Book accommodation in Cortina d’Ampezzo
Val Gardena is located to the north-east of Bolzano. Above the valley is Alpe di Siusi, a bright plateau with excellent ski schools. Ortisei (or St. Ulrich) is the largest town in the valley, which is decorated with castles. Like neighbouring Santa Cristina and Selva di Val Gardena it is a good, well-equipped resort with lifts up to the heights of the plateau. Santa Cristina also has lifts up to the jagged Odle range of mountains and to the peak of Sassolungo. Woodcarving is a speciality of the area; if you’re tired of snow you can buy souvenirs or visit workships and exhibitions.
> Ortisei accommodation
> Selva di Val Gardena accommodation
> Santa Cristina in Val Gardena accommodation
Val Rendena – Madonna di Campiglio
Madonna di Campiglio is a well-developed ski resort with accommodation of all standards. The town is the most important ski resort in the Brenta Dolomites, north of Lake Garda. Winter sports enthusiasts can rejoice in 31 ski lifts, a ski-jump, skating rink, speed-skating and an indoor pool. The surrounding peaks have superb views; this is also a popular area for summer walking and climbing.
> Madonna di Campiglio accommodation
Val di Fassa
Val di Fassa is a beautiful valley in the Dolomites, where the Ladin (ladino) language is preserved (there is Cultural Institute at Vigo di Fassa). The visitor can admire traditional wooden cabins, attractive churches, and the chairlifts heading up Rosengarten from Pozza di Fassa. Moeno is the largest town, a winter sports resort with the extra appeal of attractive, frescoed churches. Canazei, at the northern end of the valley, makes another good base. Football fans may be interested to know that this is where Lazio previously spent a couple of summer retreats – these cool high-altitude destinations are popular with Italian teams.
> Vigo di Fassa accommodation
San Martino di Castrozza
San Martino is located at the foot of the Pale di San Martino (Altars of St. Martin), a lofty group of peaks reaching up to 10,466ft. The modern resort is extremely well-equipped.
> San Martino di Castrozza accommodation
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