ALTA VIA 1 & ITS RIFUGIOS
The breathtaking landscapes, beauty and mystique of Italy have inspired, captivated and charmed people for centuries — from writers to hikers and beyond. It even prompted Mark Twain to pen that “the Creator made Italy from designs by Michelangelo.” One of the most incredible hikes, well known to trekking enthusiasts, is the Dolomites Alta Via 1 (High Route 1) trail starting at Lago di Braies in South Tyrol, Northern Italy. Whilst making your way through steep valleys, past high Alpine grazing lands or viewing majestic mountains and breathtaking sunsets, this picturesque trip is perfected by the many rustic rifugios along the route, and just as well since camping is forbidden. These little alpine mountain huts offer a warm place to sleep and replenish your energy, whether you’ve chosen a leisurely stroll at medium altitude or a challenging trekking tour amid glaciers and Alpine lakes. They also offer delicious local cuisine so you don’t need to carry extra gear and can better enjoy what will most certainly be an unforgettable, perhaps even Twain’s heavenly, experience!
The fabulous Dolomites of Northern Italy are a hiker’s dream. These rugged limestone peaks formed over a million years ago originally as deposits in the form of marine sediments and coral in a low open sea and later lifted up by the various tectonic events when the Alps came into existence. The weathering over time created the distinctive jagged peaks that are a unique signature of this spectacular range.
Known as the “Queen of the Dolomites”, Cortina d’Ampezzo is one of the most famous Alpine holiday destinations in the world, and is inserted in the association “Best of the Alps” which lists the most exclusive Alpine resorts from the 5 nations that make up the Alps.
The rocky cliffs of the Dolomites that crown the town, like Tofane and Cristallo, represent a dream for every mountain hiker, and the pastures and forests of the Ampezzo basin are the destinations for many fans of mountain sports, or for those who are simply looking for relaxing holidays in one of the most scenic places in the world.
In the spring and summer, the forests and peaks that surround Cortina are the perfect place for all kinds of sports-loving holiday-makers.
For those who like to go trekking, Nordic walking and mountain biking, Cortina offers 42 excursion itineraries in a comprehensive network of 300 kilometers, including 8 aided climbing routes and 6 equipped trails. A unique concept to Cortina, there are also the historic trails: two routes that cross the military installations from World War One, while the another trail leads to the spectacular dinosaur footprint that dates back to 220 million years ago.
For those who love thrills, the Cortina Adrenaline Center can offer emotions at 360°: descents in wheel-bobs on the Olympic track, and also rafting, hydrospeed, canyoning and kayaking in the valley’s streams.
And sports aren’t all: Cortina d’Ampezzo is also one of the liveliest holiday places in the Alps. Corso Italia, the city’s meeting place, is always hopping during shopping hours; here you can find shops and boutiques with the best that fashion has to offer, from clothing to jewelry and sporting equipment, not to mention the wide selection of local artisan goods.
Art and culture are right at home in Cortina. As always, the Queen of the Dolomites is an irresistible attraction for artists from all over the world. During the tourist season, the many art galleries are continually holding exhibits by internationally respected contemporary artists, and writers frequently come to Cortina to present their new works.
Cortina also offers a series of interesting museums:
- The Paleonthological Museum “Rinaldo Zardini” – collection of fossils from the Cassian period.
- The Ethnographic Museum of Ampezzo – objects, tools and costumes of a peasant’s life Museum of Modern Art “Mario Rimoldi” – collections of figurative art from the early 1900’s
- The outdoor Museum Piccolo Lagazuoi -, Historical patrimony: positions, trenches, tunnels, dormitories and storehouses, in one of the most panoramic areas in the Dolomites In World War One
Personalized Custom Hiking Tours by Russell Tours™ – Taking people hiking to beautiful places like Switzerland, Austria, Italy, France and Spain.