In the northwest of Italy, you will find the little town of Cortina d'Ampezzo, often shortened to Cortina. This city nestled at the foothills of the Alps is a sleeping area which comes alive during the summer and winter months. Cortina offers hikes and mountain climbing for the adventurers. Cortina is also a town that brings its deeply entrenched history to life in open-air and more traditional museums. Read on to learn more about the best things to do in the area!
1. Hike the Giau Pass
For your first taste of adventure, the top pick has to be the Giau Pass. The Giau Pass is a mountain alpine drawing Colle Santa Lucia and Cortina d'Ampezzo together. The steep slopes can be challenging, but the scenery, which has been featured in several movies, is worth the effort. In summer, the Giau Pass is the place to start many hikes. It also hosts the Marathon of the Dolomites bike race and the Dolomiti Gold Cup vintage car race.
Address: Loc. Passo Giau, 32020 Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
Website: Giau Pass
2. Walk back to World War I at the open-air Museo all'Aperto delle 5 Torri
Like combining adventure and a love of history? Then the open-air Museo all'Aperto delle 5 Torri is for you. This specific area in the Giau Pass played a role in World War I. Learn more about Italy’s role in this war, the value of the cannons still mounted here, and how soldiers dug the trenches you can still walk in. The Museo all'Aperto delle 5 Torri has paths, walkways, and trenches walkable by people of all ages with the right climbing equipment.
Museo all'Aperto delle 5 Torri
Address: Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
Website: Museo all'Aperto delle 5 Torri
3. Take in the sights or go skiing on the Faloria cable car and ski area
Back to adventure with one of the best areas in the Dolomites called Faloria. This area offers expansive panoramic landscape sights from the cable car (at a cost of 17 USD), the summit, and alongside trails. Don’t stop in summer though, as the ski slopes are some of the best in the world due to the pristine snow and the excellent service. Looking out over it all as our hooded friend is above, you will see how much there is to take in at Faloria.
Address: Via Ria de Zeto 10, 32043 Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
4. Take in the waters of the Lago di Sorapiss
With water so exceptionally colored you will be muttering “no filter” just looking at it, stop by the Lago di Sorapiss. The limestone deposits make for the almost unnatural coloration of the water. Make sure to take the hike slowly to take in the landscape. You can get here by taking a bus or car to Passo 3 Croci and then hiking up to the lake. The hike is easy enough for families with children to climb.
Lago di Sorapiss
Address: Sorapiss, Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
Website: Lago di Sorapiss
5. Scale the Tofana Mountain
For Olympic ski slopes and hiking past landscapes unmarred by construction, visit the Tofana Mountain. During the summer, ride up to the top of the mountain on a cable car built right into the rocks. The Tofana Freccia nel Cielo funicular lift and the Bus Tofana chairlift carry skiers to the top of the longest ski slope in Cortina. The slopes on Tofana were the motivation behind Cortina being selected as the site for the 1956 Winter Olympics.
Address: 32043 Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
Website: Tofana Mountain
6. Take in the beauty of the Mario Rimoldi Modern Art Museum
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
Take a break from the outdoor beauty to appreciate some beauty indoors at the Mario Rimoldi Modern Art Museum. Officially opened in 1974, this collection draws from local and international artists from the twentieth century in the areas of experimental, neo-avant-garde, and the abstractionism. The museum is open during summer and fall from June 24 to October 15. Be careful to come during the opening hours of 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Mario Rimoldi Modern Art Museum
Address: Corso Italia 69, 32043 Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
Website: Mario Rimoldi Modern Art Museum
7. Jump back in time at the Museo Della Grande Guerra 1914 to 1918
The Museo Della Grande Guerra 1914 to 1918 acquaints you on a personal level with the soldiers who fought here. Listen as a knowledgeable guide takes you on a historical snow-shoe tour through the barracks and trenches the men fought in before entering the museum. The tour wouldn’t be complete without an authentic meal and a hot mulled wine. Now during the Winter months, there is the option to explore the museum. Come experience the site of so much history that 20,000 patrons a year visit.
Museo Della Grande Guerra 1914 to 1918
Address: Localita Passo Valparola SNC, 32043 Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
Website: Museo Della Grande Guerra 1914-1918
8. Visit the Centro Storico
Before heading off to the mountains and adventure, take a stroll down the Centro Storico, or Old Town. Here you will find several quaint streets to meander down stopping at will at the shops or cafes. This charming area is the place to go for ice cream or maybe some chocolate.
Address: Corso Italia, 32043 Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
Website: Centro Storico
9. Behold the breathtaking church La Parrocchiale SS. Filippo e Giacomo
If you aren’t a skier, the La Parrocchiale SS. Filippo e Giacomo church is a must-see. This magnificent church dedicated to St. Philip and James can be found in the center of Cortina, known as the Corso Italia. The current structure is made up of two separate churches originally built in 1775 which were joined during their restoration in 2009. The vaulted ceilings and beautiful architecture make this an impressive experience.
La Parrocchiale SS. Filippo e Giacomo
Address: Piazza Roma, 32043 Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
Top to bottom
Cortina is the place for a wonderful time. If you are looking to combine adventure with history, climb the surrounding mountains and passes. Take a day or maybe even a whole vacation in the charming village as well. Cortina is spectacular from the top of a mountain or in the city.
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