(Trentino Alto Adige) - The Trentino-Alto Adige is an autonomous
Alpine region and incorporates much of the spectacular Dolomite range
but nevertheless Trentino and Alto Adige are two vastly separate provinces.
The people of Alto Adige, or South Tirolo (Südtirol) are mostly
of Germanic descent and favour German (68%) over Italian (28%), although
Ladin (4%) is spoken in some valleys, mainly the Val Badia (Gadertal)
and Val Gardena (Grödnertal). In Trentino the population has
a stronger Italian identity. Tourism is highly organised and travellers
can enjoy inexpensive accommodation and information on activities
from walking to skiing.
are ancient coral reefs reincarnated as Alpine peaks. It is not unusual
to find marine fossils among the pinnacles, towers and sheer drops
of these mountains. The Dolomites,
stretching across Trentino-Alto Adige into the Veneto, provide the
most spectacular for walkers in the Italian Alps – from half-day
rambles to more demanding routes that require mountaineering skills.
Numerous rifugi (huts) offer overnight lodging and something to eat.
Trails are generally well marked. The walking season runs from the
end of June to the end of September. Most mountain huts close from
mid-September. The best areas for walking in the Dolomites
include the Brenta group, accessible from Molveno or Madonna di Campiglio,
the Val di Genova and the Adamello group, both accessible from Madonna
di Campiglio, the Sella group accessible from the Val Gardena, Val
Badia, Pieve di Livinallongo and the Val di Fassa, the Alpe di Siusi,
Sciliar and Catinaccio group, accessible from Siusi and Castelrotto,
the Pale di San Martino accessible from San Martino di Castrozza and
Fiera di Primiero, the area around Cortina that straddles Alto Adige
and the Veneto, the Sesto group north of Cortina towards Austria,
accessible from San Candido or Sesto in Val Pusteria.
boast innumerable excellent ski resorts, including Cortina, Madonna
di Campiglio, San Martino di Castrozza, Canazei, Val Gardena, Plan
de Corones and Val Badia. Accomodation and ski facilities
are abundant and you have plenty of scope to choose between downhill
and cross-country skiing, as well as sci alpinismo and Snowboarding.
The Dolomiti Superski ski pass allows access to 464 lifts and some
1220 km of ski runs across 12 regions.
Other activities are mountain biking and rock climbing.
Trento is the capital of Trentino. South of Trento vineyards are strung
the length of the road linking Trento with Rovereto.
Northwest of Trento the Brenta Dolomites
are isolated from the main body of the Dolomites.
Lakeside Molveno and Madonna di Campiglio make suitable bases from
which to delve into the Brenta Dolomites. Molveno is overshadowed
by the towering Brenta Dolomites. In winter, skiers and snowboarders
enjoy the slopes of Monte Paganella, linked by cable car to Andalo
and Fai della Paganella.
Madonna di Campiglio is one of the top ski resorts in the Alps. Madonna
has numerous ski runs and a snowboarding park in winter and mountain
biking trails in summer.
Other mentionable valleys are the Val di Non, the Val di Sole and
the Valle di Peio.
San Martino di Castrozza is a popular Trentino ski resort and walking
spot. In Val di Fiemme the World Cup ski-jumping championships were
held in 2002 and the Nordic World Ski Championships returned for the
second time to the valley in 2003. The Val di Fassa is also a popular
ski resort with Canazei as the main village.
Skiers can complete the tour of the Sella in a single day on the famous
network of runs known as Sella Ronda.
Alto Adige (Südtirol) is a year-round attraction for skiers,
climbers, walkers or those folk just looking to appreciate its natural
splendour. The provincial capital is Bolzano. The town’s historic
centre, with its Tirolean architecture and arcaded streets, harbours
numerous outdoor cafes and restaurants making it a pleasant place
to spend a few days. Merano
is famous for its Terme di Merano,
a complex of therapeutic baths and treatments. The town neighbours
the Parco Nazionale dello Stelvio and the spectacular Ortles mountain
range. Some 6 km east of town, the Funivia Val di Nova cable car carries
winter sports enthusiasts up to Piffling in Merano 2000, a small ski
The Parco Nazionale dello Stelvio offers fantastic walking possibilities
at low altitudes in the pretty valleys of Val d’Ultimo, Val
Martello and Val di Solda, and at high altitudes on spectacular peaks
such as the Gran Zebrù, Cevedale and the Ortles, all part of
the Ortles range. The glaciers permit year-round skiing and there
are well-serviced runs at Solda and the Passo dello Stelvio (2757
m); the latter is the second highest pass in the Alps. Immediately
south of the Passo dello Stelvio is the ski resort of Bormio, host
to the 2005 Alpine World Skiing Championships. With the highest slopes
at 3012 m, good snow is assured season-long.
The village of Solda, at the head of the Val di Solda, is a small
ski resort and a base for walkers and climbers in summer.
The Val Martello is a good choice for low-altitude walks, with spectacular
views of some of the park’s high peaks. It is a popular base
for tackling the glaciers. In winter there is excellent cross-country
skiing, and climbers can crawl up the valley’s frozen waterfalls
from January to March.
The Val Gardena is hemmed in by towering peaks of the Parco Nazionale
Puez-Odle, the Gruppo di Sella and Sasso Lungo, and the gentle slopes
and pastures of the Alpe di Siusi, the largest high plain in the Alps.
It is one of the most popular skiing areas in the Alps. The valley’s
main towns are Ortisei, Santa Cristina and Selva. Along with Val Badia,
the Val Gardena is an enclave that has managed to preserve the ancient
Lading language and culture. The ancient tradition of woodcarving
is nurtured here and the valley’s artisans are famed for their
statues, figurines, altars and toys. Activities are downhill ski runs
and cross-country skiing. This is walker’s paradise with endless
The Alpe di Siusi, the largest plateau in Europe, forms part of what
is known as the Altipiano dello Sciliar, which also incorporates the
villages of Castelrotto and Siusi, lower down at about 1000m. There
is something for walkers of all ages and expertise in this area. In
winter the Alpe di Siusi offers downhill skiing, ski-mountaineering,
cross-country skiing and winter walking trails.
Val Badia is one of the last strongholds of the ancient Ladin culture
and language. The Parco Naturale di Fanes-Sennes-Braies is one of
the most evocative places in the Dolomites and can be reached easily
from the Val Badia. Towns in the valley – Colfosco, La Villa,
San Cassiano and Corvara – together form the Alta Badia ski
area. Corvara is a ski resort but it is also an excellent base for
walkers wanting to tackle the peaks enclosing the Alta Badia. The
Gran Risa slope in La Villa is famous for the Alpine Skiing World
Cup Men’s Giant Slalom race. Corvara is on the Sella Ronda –
a four valley downhill circuit. Horse riding, mountain biking and
hang-gliding are other popular valley activities.
On the Dolomite’s northern edge, the Val Pusteria is bordered
by the magnificent Parco Naturale di Fanes-Sennes-Braies and, further
north, by the Parco Naturale delle Dolomiti di Sesto, which includes
some of the area’s most famous peaks – among them the
Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Its main centre is Brunico, a pleasant market
town, which neighbours the tiny ski resort of Plan de Corones and
sports excellent transport connections for excursions into Parco Naturale
di Fanes-Sennes-Braies. Easy to get to from the Val Pusteria is beautiful
Lago di Braies. At the other end of the valley, towards Austria, are
the Sesto Dolomites, where there are some spectacular trails. May
to October, adventure seekers can take a spin on a raft, river kayaking,
canyoning and waterfall climbing.
Cortina d’Ampezzo is the Italy’s most famous and fashionable
ski resort. Situated in the Ampezzo bowl Cortina is surrounded by
some of the most stunning mountains in the Dolomites. Cortina offers
some breathtaking skiing. Not far from Cortina are the Tre Cime di
Lavaredo, one of the world’s most famous climbing locations
and a panoramic place to walk.
Valzoldana lies 20 km south of Cortina. Modern ski runs hug the Civetta
group at Zoldo Alto. On foot, take advantage of an extensive network
of walking paths.