Within a 3-hour drive from Venice lies the glamorous Alpine resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo. With 140km of ski runs, it is a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts in winter. In summer months, keen hikers and mountain bikers arrive to the town to explore the vertiginous mountain trails with stunning panoramas across the Dolomite peaks. Even if you are not feeling fit enough to take on the rocky heights on foot, you can still reach the mountain peaks using cable-cars and buses.
You will not need much time to get familiar with Cortina, as the town is small with the main sights concentrated along the compact cosy town centre. Check out the pretty 18th century Church of Santi Filippo e Giacomo which belltower rising above the town’s rooftops. There is a modern Art Gallery and Palaeontological Museum both conveniently located in the same building and are certainly worth a look. You can also visit military sites and tunnels where battles were fought during the World War I.
A chic resort for selected rich tourists since the 19th century, Cortina d’Ampezzo shot to fame after hosting the Winter Olympics in 1956. You will see photographs of the Games in many local restaurants, hotels and shops with the Olympic logo still proudly displayed at the stadium (Stadio del Ghiaccio ) which nowadays serves as a public skating rink.
Corso Italia, the most popular street in the town, is lined up with glitzy upmarket boutiques, souvenir shops and trendy wine bars. Treat yourself to a meal in one of Cortina’s excellent restaurants that serve modern and traditional dishes. For a meal with a view head to one of mountain refuges and farms that offer hearty meals made with strictly local ingredients. El Brite de Larieto, a dairy farm surrounded by spectacular peaks, serves delicious meat and cheese. At Rifugio Scoiattoli you can order homemade pasta with blueberries and other traditional dishes with a twist.
Photos via Flickr by: Mariani Malinowski, Hans Porochelt.