International jet set resort or mountain village with vibrant traditions? Cortina d’Ampezzo lets these two souls flow into each other and creates a mixture that would inebriate literally anyone. Whether you’re a sporty type or a foodie, running away from urban mayhem or looking for some high-altitude yoga, for all of you we have just one advice: let yourself be guided by those who live and breathe these mountains every day. And you’ll see that just one weekend in Cortina is never enough.
Spending summer in Cortina d’Ampezzo is like starting to see colours after a black and white existence. The emerald of the slopes is punctuated by the yellow of calendulas and the purple of bluebells, wildly counterweighting the domestic colours pouring from the balconies. A typical mountain picture, you may think; yet a singular note will strike you: the tidiness, echoing from the buildings up to the forest.
It’s essential, at this point, to introduce the institution that explains why Cortina may seem so different from other mountain resorts. The Regole d’Ampezzo are constituted by the offspring of those families that first lived in the valley; nowadays they’re still held responsible for the territory’s preservation, including the safeguard of the Dolomiti d’Ampezzo Natural Park. Recognised by the Italian government in their powers, the Regole are still a stronghold against savage urbanisation, maintaining the land inalienable and indivisible. Quite the contrast, if you think of the ultra touristic fame that this city retains.
La Ciasa de ra Regoles
To start your full immersion in the authentic spirit of this place, head first to the Ciasa de ra Regoles (House of the Regole), which dominates the main avenue, Corso Italia. The facade sports the Regole’s crests, painted here as old reminiscent that flows into modernity thanks to what is collected inside the building. In fact, from 1974 this is where the Mario Rimoldi Modern Art Museum is housed, named after the notorious art collector enamoured of Cortina and contemporary art. From de Pisis to Morandi, from Depero to Guttuso, coming past Sironi and De Chirico: the museum hosts art as Rimoldi knew it, as close to the artists as possible and always ahead of its time.
Ciasa de ra Regoles
Corso Italia 69, 32043 Cortina d’Ampezzo BL
+39 0436 866222
An aperitif al Poste
Culture VS counterculture. We’ve mentioned Cortina’s dual soul, so it’s time to savour its mundane side. If you still want to play with the dichotomy jet set/heritage, there’s no better place than the Hotel de la Poste.
Why? Because il Poste is, literally, an institution. These rooms have been inhabited by actors and scholars, tycoons and famous athletes. They all have been attracted here by a reception with kid gloves, yet never aseptic. Il Poste is a place where to see and be seen, yet it also gives way to stay undisturbed, maybe nestled in one of the ultra comfortable suites.
This hotel seems to live on welcoming contradictions, a mundane guest house yet also a rock-hard vessel of memories; a place that reinvent itself in a seemingly harmless way, just as much as it’s necessary to not lose its cornerstone allure.
That’s why here are hosted timeless events such as Calici di Stelle, a wine tasting paired with local dishes, planned this year for August 12.
Whether you’re staying al Poste or you’re just passing by, this is the right place where to find yourself when aperitif time comes up. The timeless barman Antonio di Franco is waiting for you in the typical stube, with wood marquetry creating the most welcoming atmosphere. Let him surprise you with the cocktails of his own creation, or maybe just go with an honourable classic: the bellini, Hemingway’s favourite here al Poste.
Hotel de la Poste
Piazza Roma, 14, 32043 Cortina d’Ampezzo BL
+39 0436 4271
A family dinner
Another location that combines coziness and sophistication is the Ristorante Crignes. The owner Mario Verzi is also deeply rooted in the Ampezzano culture, with his family having managed local hotels and lodges for almost a century. In this restaurant Verzi decided to bring “your mountain lodge in the valley”, offering traditional dishes that you may usually find at an higher altitude. A must: the reginette Croda Rossa, home made pasta with zucchini, speck and truffle.
Via Lungoboite, 35, 32043 Cortina d’Ampezzo BL
+39 0436 680002
There’re thousands of possibilities for your Saturday in Cortina; either you chose an unbridled shopping day or some thrilling trekking, one thing stays the same: make sure to have a rich breakfast, you’ll need lots of energy to face the day.
So let your fantasy go wild imagining what would really fulfil your personality. We’re sure that Corina won’t let anyone down.
For the reckless: climbing as you like it
Both amateurs and pros will find their on share in these mountains. In Pocol you’ll find a natural climbing wall that is ideal to move your vertical first steps. And if you’re starting from scratch, head to the new Lino Lacedelli indoor climbing center. Located in Sopiazes, it combines safe entertainment with green architecture.
For the adrenaline junkie: flying on e-bikes
With the e-bike, the electric MTB with pedal assistance, you won’t certainly look on the verge of a stroke at each rise. The various speeds make everyone capable of facing one of the 16 cycle paths in the area, each one flagged with a specific level of difficulty. At Due e Due shop in Corso Italia 88 you’ll also find a free recharge station.
Due e Due
Corso Italia 88
Via Roma, 70
32043 Cortina d’Ampezzo BL
+39 0436 4121
For the explorer: walking through history
Walking around the hundreds of itineraries up in the Dolomites is not just about the – however amazing – panorama. In fact, Cortina’s hiking tails were born from the military walkways of World War I, steep corridors where Italian and Austrian soldiers battled on for months. These are the places where you can literally touch history, all while getting an adrenaline shot on a sharp climb or just wandering around with no hurry. The last trail to be born is called Ra Pegna and it’s easily accessible yet still with a great visual impact.
For everyone: guided field trips with the masters of the mountains
Whether it’s rock or ice, ultra trail or MTB, hiking trail or snowshoes: everything gets another edge if you’re guided by those who have mountain in their veins. To make sure of getting the most out of your experience, rely on certified mountain guides. At Dolomiti SkiRock you could run into Mario Dibona, whose experience on the highest peaks of the world is the stuff of legends. If you find yourself hiking with him or maybe just walking around the Dolomiti d’Ampezzo Natural Park, ask him about what it’s like to be on top of Mount Everest’s 8848 meters. The answer will leave you gaping.
Corso Italia, 14, 32043 Cortina d’Ampezzo BL
+39 0436 860814
Lunch in the clouds, snack in town, dinner with art
It could be because of the amount of calories burnt, because of the pristine ingredients, because of the natural beauty of the landscape; it could be anything, but you can rest assured that dining in Cortina will always have that extra kick.
If you find yourself on the 5 Torri trail, hosting another great natural climbing wall, your must stop for lunch is Rifugio Averau. The owner and chef Sandrone (Sandro Siorpaes) avoids touristic stereotypes and offers a traditional menu that nothing has to envy to starred dishes. One choice above all: il cappello dell’alpino (Alpine’s hat), home made pasta with a cheese and nuts filling, covered in cubed tomatoes and thyme. Another must-try is the starters’ platter, a feast of cured meats, local cheeses and jams.
Localita’ Forcella Nuvolau, 9, 32020 Cortina d’Ampezzo BL
+39 0436 4660
For those who may have come back (or stayed) in the valley for a relaxing afternoon, stop and be pampered at Alverà bakery. Once again, the place offers the right mixture of past and present; in fact, this historic bakery has recently got upgraded to a modern – and quite Instagrammable – cafe, yet without never forgetting the fragrance of its origins.
Piazza Fratelli Ghedina Pittori, 14, 32043 Cortina d’Ampezzo BL
+39 0436 862166
If some energy still remains after an hot shower or a dive into a Jacuzzi, leave your room for dinner and enter the dreamy atmosphere of the Hotel Ristorante Pontejel. Its rooms are covered in wooden panels painted by Paolo Barozzi, artist and brother of chef Marco. Art Nouveau, vaguely eerie landscapes reflect the menu’s delicacy, with home grown herbs making the most out of every dish.
Hotel Ristorante Pontejel
Largo delle Poste, 11, 32043 Cortina d’Ampezzo BL
+39 0436 2525
Sleeping in the sky
No, this is not a photogram from a fantasy movie. It’s the Starlight Room Dolomites 2.0 360, an all-glass suite that takes the experience of sleeping under the stars on the next level. As the panorama of its 2046 meters, the fireplace and the bathroom en suite weren’t enough, the entire structure can turn over itself of 360 degree, thus allowing stargazing in every possible way. An entirely made in Veneto project that comes as a revolution for the whole world of panoramic suites.
Passo Falzarego, 32043 Cortina d’Ampezzo BL
+39 0436 2939
Waking up mind and body
Sunday mornings in Cortina will present you with an hard choice: staying in bed and waiting for the town to calmly start buzzing, or waking up before dawn and getting regenerated by the contact with nature? If the latter is your pick, follow Giuliana of Dolomiti SkiRock up to a panoramic point for an awakening made of yoga, shiatsu or energising walk. Sun salutation gets a whole different edge if done while the first rays of light hit the rocks and sparkle with pink hues. We guarantee that all your efforts will be repaid.
Coming back in town, you’ll soon realise that the air is permeated by the spirit of traditions.
Spending a summer Sunday in Cortina means getting transported away by the fascination of past and present history while living new and old celebrations.
Speaking of which, one that you shouldn’t miss is the commemoration of 1917 war events, stage on August 6 at the open museum on the Nuvolau mountain pass. During the event the Rifugio Averau will be turned into a military canteen, making the experience even more immersive.
And if you’re traveling with kids, there’re plenty of choices sto have fun. From Nicolò Cusano Planetarium, for the enfant prodige of astrophysics, to Minigolf Helvetia; the Adrenalin Center Adventure Park or the mom’s cycle trail; the Regole d’Ampezzo Ethnographic Museum, with accurately preserved tools and costumes, or a trip at the Botestàgno castle, a mysterious place where history and legends melt together.
A taste of memories
Some childhood memories, feeble yet indelible, seems to linger in everyone’s minds. These are the memories of Sunday lunches, convivial moments to make the festive day even more sacred. Ra Stua restaurant strongly recalls those very memories, with its home-like atmosphere coming from 90 years of heritage; in fact, this restaurant is considered the oldest one in Cortina. And you can totally feel – and taste – the wisdom. Each dish comes from old recipe books and has been revisited with high quality ingredients, from vegetables to meats and fresh made pasta. You can’t simply beat their steer carpaccio: the meat just melts in your mouth and gives off all the aromas coming from the highly controlled feeding of the animal, made of cereals and fodders directly cultivated by the the Azienda Agricola Vitis & Vita farm.
Ristorante Ra Stua
Via Grohmann, 2, 32043 Cortina d’Ampezzo BL
+39 0436 868341
A very special guide
Living a high day in Cortina surely is enticing, yet everything reaches perfection if you have guide who lives traditions as her own life purpose. It’s the case of Elsa Zardini, president of the Union de i Ladis de Anpezo. This cultural organisation preserves and passes on the ladino’s heritage, the ancient population of this land, whose language is still spoken and taught.
Let yourself be enchanted by Elsa’s tales and costumes, with a movie-like allure yet never out of context in modern days Cortina. Dive into the cultural beginnings of this cradle of beauty, when Empress Maria Teresa d’Austria made men and women stronger trough the cultivation of literacy. Strolling along he city streets, the final picture will finally come together: luxury boutiques and craftsmanship studios, half-length statues of famous statesmen and sportswear shops, e-bikes and old snowshoes.
As Cortina’s major, Giampiero Ghedina, perfectly recaps: “In this globalisation, we still have our roots”.
Per se. Da. Per se. Da. Per se. Da. Per se. Da. Per se. Da. Per se. Da. Per se. Da. Per se. Da. Per se. Da. Per se. Per se. Da. Per se. Da. Per se. Da. Per se. Da. Per se. Da. Per se. Da. Per se. Da. Per se. Da. Per se. Da. Per se.
Special thanks to Cortina Marleting Se.Am.