Discover all about this wonderfully magical town, in the guide curated by the duo behind the all-fun-and-games publication Bellissimo zine.
Editor: Elisa Carassai Curator and Photographer: Bellissimo Zine
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What to do in Cortina and Veneto’s Dolomites if not go skiing and visit refuges? One of the many options we’d suggest visiting is Lagazuoi. So, how to reach it? Take a cable car that leaves from Passo Falzarego and reaches the summit of Lagazuoi at over 2700 meters high, with an incredible panorama. Here you’ll find a refuge that is home to a restaurant and rooms where one can stay the night, and also home to the famous Finnish sauna, also known as "the highest of the Dolomites". It is considered one of the most beautiful cable cars in Europe and offers interesting routes also for history buffs, thanks to the numerous testimonies of the Great War.
Our favourite rifugi are El Sorei, Chalet Tofane and Rifugio Faloria. The refuge "El Sorei" takes its name from the Ampezzo dialect and means "in front of the front door", and opens up to the world with a beautiful and welcoming terrace. Located at the start of the chairlift Olimpia, in Pocol, the hut overlooks the picturesque view of the Tofane and can be easily reached on skis or walking along the Baby slope. The large hall and bar are furnished in rustic style, ready to serve the excellent dishes of Ampezzo cuisine. Among the unmissable choices, the homemade first courses such as canederli, casunziei, tagliatelle, and an unexpected proposal of high altitude: pizza. To conclude, the exceptional homemade bombardino, the result of Giulia's patient work.
Chalet Tofane is situated in Socrepes, a privileged and well-served location, frequented by thousands of visitors every day as it is the starting point for the Tofane ski area and a popular place to socialize and meet friends to spend a day on the snow together. The chalet is known to offer a fantastic specially tailored menu, summer cocktails, and a series of ad-hoc events, allowing Chalet Tofane to welcome and entertain its customers all year long.
Last but not least, Rifugio Faloria, is located on Mónte de Faloria, with a magnificent view from its spacious sun terrace. Within easy reach, just 10 minutes in the cable car whisks you up directly from the centre of Cortina. In winter the self service restaurant is open, with a vast choice of typical dishes. In the evening, you can take the exciting ascent by cable car with the illuminated valley below you, to be entertained in the large reception hall holding over 180 people.
Where to stay in Cortina if not at the Hotel de La Poste? A prestigious historical palace, a symbol of Cortina that is preserved intact, an old time-class that recalls memories and emotions: the Hotel de la Poste is hospitality at the highest levels and art of welcome, an atmosphere that smacks of home and a fashionable meeting place, a great tradition that still has many stories to tell. The Hotel de La Poste has seen great artists going through its expensive gold hinges, no less than Ernest Hemingway stayed in the same room, each time he visited. Our curators at Bellissimo suggest spending lots of time at the iconic Grill Bar, headed by Antonio di Franco, who has been the head barman there for the past 55 years! His specialty? The world-famous Mandarino is made with a special recipe.
A timeless landmark and an iconic destination rich in extraordinary experiences, the Grand Hotel Savoia was constructed in 1912 and sits at the cultural heart of this remarkable mountain town. Boasting a long and distinguished history, the hotel has welcomed a great number of notable personalities as its guests, including world leaders and stars of the silver screen. Charlton Heston, Sophia Loren, Winston Churchill, Tolstoy, Umberto di Savoia, Franklin D Roosevelt, and many other prominent celebrities have enjoyed our renowned hospitality, where contemporary style and an iconic topography meet in an unforgettable natural balance. Our curators at Bellissimo suggest not only staying at this glamorous hotel but also attending or sneaking into the marvelous Gran Galà delle Nevi, during Cortina Fashion Week, where you’ll be able to see a variety of stars of the Italian system, behind-closed-doors.
Looking to ski across regions? We suggest trying out the pathways at Falzarego and Giau. Connecting Belluno to Cortina, the Falzarego is nestled between the mountains Lagazuoi and Col Gallina, in front of Mt. Sasso di Stria at an altitude of 2,109 m, only a few kilometers south of the South Tyrolean border, to which it is connected via the Valparola pass, while the Giau Pass is known as one of the most beautiful Dolomites passes. It is famous not only because it was one of the stages of the Giro d'Italia, but also because during the year here take place some important competitions like the Ronde Dolomiti Bellunesi rally and the Maratona dles Dolomites, a single-day bicycle race.
To the east and south of Cortina lies the region of Cadore, San Vito di Cadore, a few kilometers from Cortina itself, Auronzo and its hamlet of Misurina with its famous lake, or Pieve di Cadore in a central position between the first two. They can also be a base from which to visit Cortina.
After a day spent skiing in the valley, there is nothing better than a good meal to restore you. The best restaurant inside a hotel? For sure Villa Oretta. The restaurant, consisting of two elegant rooms with large windows overlooking the vast valley of the Ampezzo basin and a beautiful sunny and particularly sheltered terrace is widely known for its fantastic Venetian cuisine. It is also laudable to go for elegant candlelight dinners and fun lunches in the sun.
Another dinner option we suggest is Da Beppe Sello, known as one of the historical restaurants of the Ampezzo area, and offers a refined and elegant atmosphere where you can enjoy a romantic moment or a jovial experience with friends or family. Beppe Sello’s cuisine is also available for simpler, less formal lunches or dinners in the bar area. In the summer season it is possible to have lunch in the adjacent outdoor area with the restaurant service.
If instead you’d like to spend a day off skiing, between glitz and glam, Cortina offers a wide selection of luxury shopping. But good taste doesn’t necessarily mean luxury, and Claudio Zanettin knows a few things about that. An architect, interior designer, and famously the antiquary of the VIPs, Zanettin is the owner of the world-renown antique shop, La Ruotellina. His peculiar and inimitable style in selecting art works is immediately evident, just as his intuition for the authentic and the unique and his fine taste for the exceptional, the whimsical, and the original. These can be found in each historical period and in each workmanship, in a gothic wood statue as well as in a baroque chair or in an art nouveau vase. He follows his inclination, which leads him to choose not only ancient and finely executed art works but also pieces with a strong symbolic and metaphorical value. He gathers rich collections, the result of many years of research all over the world, as, for instance, the collection of nineteenth century valentines. They display an amazing baroque flora, made of exotic shells which mimic the shape of flowers and plants.
Lake Misurina also offers a priceless spectacle in every season: in winter, you can walk on the completely frozen surface surrounded by an enchanting landscape; in summer that same landscape is reflected in its waters giving an incredible view. Misurina is a fraction of Auronzo di Cadore and is located at 1756 meters above sea level, a condition that allows it to have almost 6 months of snow per year. It is also one of the most common starting points to reach the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, one of the undisputed symbols of the Dolomites.
Among the most fascinating itineraries in the Cortina area there are some themed ski trails, such as the Skitour Olympia, which retraces the tracks along which the 1956 Olympic Games were held, and the Tour of the Great War, which touches on tunnels and emplacements built during the First World War.
Alleghe is one of the ski resorts of Ski Civetta with 80 km of slopes in the context of the prestigious Dolomiti SuperSki, the largest ski carousel in the world with over 1250 km of slopes and 450 lifts.
On the way back from Lake Misurina to Cortina, you could stop for dinner at Al Camin. This welcoming restaurant with a modern Alpine decor offers a cuisine that is regional in style, with the occasional modern twist, and there is an outdoor area for summer dining.
To conclude your trip around Veneto’s Dolomites you could head to Val di Zoldo, a destination far from the big tourist circuits, in the heart of the Dolomites World Heritage Site and located only an hour from Cortina. In winter, the Valle offers skiing by day and by night, in the Ski Civetta area. 72 km of connected slopes, among enchanting panoramas. The night that embraces you, the fresh air that caresses your face, the warmth of the shelters, a snowy valley ready to welcome you. Discover the emotion of skiing under the stars, let yourself be enveloped by the enchantment and the glow of fresh snow.
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