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Summer in Cortina
In summer, Cortina’s tourist offering is all about the beauty of the landscape; Cortina d’Ampezzo is located in a sun-kissed natural amphitheatre that is protected from the wind by the wonderful mountains that encircle it.
The valley, situated between Cadore and the Val Pusteria, extends from the Falzarego Pass to the Tre Croci Pass, and is surrounded by the most stunning peaks of the Eastern Dolomites: the Sorapiss, the Antelao, the Croda da Lago, the Tofane group, the Croda Rossa and the Cristallo.
With a total of 300 km of trails, this area offers an immense array of mountain walks and hikes at various levels of difficulty and durations. The most evocative of these include: the Montanelli trail from Pié Tofana, the tour of the Val Travenanzes and the Fanes waterfalls (for expert hillwalkers), excursions to Federa Lake, and trips to Lake Pianozes, Lake d’Ajal, Lake Ghedina and, last but not least, Lake Sorapìs, which is famed for the turquoise colour of its waters.
The Dolomiti d’Ampezzo National Park plays host to all manner of enchanting walks.
High-altitude thrills and chills
This part of Italy plays host to numerous mountain bike trails, fixed-aid climbing routes and rock faces that are perfect for tackling in the summer. Exploring the mountains and promoting mountaineering are the main objectives of the “Scoiattoli di Cortina” (Cortina Squirrels), a long-established group of amateur climbers who are renowned for having blazed the trail on numerous climbing routes and for their myriad expeditions.
The mountain and natural-history guides who work around Cortina organise “Safe Adventures”, which include excursions, hikes, ascents, rock-climbing courses and free-climbing trips.
Summer alternatives to climbing include canyoning and exploring the adventure park.
History, art and culture in spades
Cortina is more than just a tourist hotspot – it is also a favourite destination of culture vultures, playing host as it does to high-quality art exhibitions and literary events, as well as meetings with leading names in the worlds of film, politics and journalism, not to mention highly enjoyable and enlightening musical and cultural events.
The entertainment offering ranges from folklore to music, and even takes in major sporting events including the Women’s Downhill Skiiing World Championships; the “Dobbiaco-Cortina” international cross-country skiing competition; the Italian “A” League ice-hockey championship; and much more besides.
Winter in Cortina
“Pearl of the Dolomites”, Italy’s Alpine drawing room – the beating heart of the Dolomites and the entire mountainous section of the Veneto region.
Literally surrounded by awe-inspiring peaks such as the Tofane group, the Cristallo and the Pomagagnon, Cortina has long been celebrated as one of the world’s most stunning holiday destinations. The high esteem in which it is held is due not only to the landscape that surrounds it but also to its efficiently run skiing facilities, its modern ski lifts and its scheduled snowfall system that makes skiing viable from November right through to April.
With 110 km of downhill slopes and around 70 km of cross-country trails, Cortina is one of the world’s leading downhill and cross-country skiing resorts!
For downhill skiers, Cortina plays host to 37 ski and chair lifts, as well as 110 km of pistes, which vary widely in terms of length and difficulty level. There are 5 different ski zones in total: Faloria, Cristallo, Mietres, Tofana, Socrepes-Pocol, Falzarego-Cinque Torri, all of which are linked up by ski and chair lifts or by a dedicated ski shuttle bus.
For those just getting started on the slopes, or those who want to improve their technique, 250 ski instructors are on hand for group courses and private lessons.
For cross-country skiers, the routes – which take in various difficulty levels – meander their way through the Tre Croci and Fiames areas, from where you can ski all the way to Dobbiaco (30 km) along the former railway line.
Not just skiing
For those who prefer not to don their skis, there are numerous other sports on offer, such as ski mountaineering, or walking on groomed pistes or with snow shoes, ideally accompanied by expert guides.
Those with a reckless streak may want to have a go at ice-climbing up frozen waterfalls, whereas those who are a little more sensible can try their hand at curling or take a trip by horse-driven sleigh. Those who like skating and swimming will be in their element at the Olympic Ice Stadium and the Cortina Swimming Pool, both of which are indoor facilities. Après-ski, the choice of bars and restaurants is almost endless.
Not just fashion
Shopaholics will adore Cortina’s 250 or so elegant and exclusive stores, where you can pick up the very best in Italian and international fashions. But the town also plays host to art galleries, featuring important works of modern and contemporary art, antiques and local craft products.
The beating heart of the local community, and the most popular haunt for tourists, is the renowned Corso Italia, one of Italy’s most famous boulevards, which features some of the most prestigious stores to be found anywhere in Italy and, indeed, throughout Europe.
Gastronomy and local specialities
The local cuisine of Cortina d’Ampezzo is, for the most part, Tyrolean in origin, reflecting the strong links between this part of Italy and western Austria. These are popular dishes, based on simple ingredients that are, nevertheless, packed with flavour and redolent of tradition.
The eateries of Cortina have something for every palate: from high-class restaurants to characteristic mountain shelters and places where you can savour the finest local produce: cold meats, speck, barley broth, “casunziei” (fresh filled pasta), “canederli” (dumpling soup), polenta, grappa and liqueurs.
The local traditional sweets include: redcurrant jam omelettes, apple fritters, strudel, “brazorà” (a ground focaccia sprinkled with sugar), “fartaia” (an egg-based dish) and deep-fried “carafoi”.