The queen of the Italian Dolomites, Cortina d’Ampezzo, has for decades been a favorite of the rich and famous who come here not just to ski, but to see and be seen.
Cortina has always been associated with the world of film.
Peter Sellers, in his signature deftly clumsy way, chased diamond thieves, James Bond took a plunge on skis down the well-known bobsled track, and in the golden era of the Italian film, Sofia Loren and her acting buddies were here every winter.
Dolce Vita is to this day the leitmotiv of the guests of this pretty little town squeezed between the massifs of Tofana, Faloria and Cristallo. To some it may seem like an grande dame when compared to the modern ski resorts, but Cortina d,Ampezzo has kept its decadent charm and is today considered to be the most fashionable ski resort in Italy.
The tourist tradition is here truly a tradition. The beginnings of the story date back to the 1920s, when the first cable cars and the first Grand hotels were built, like the Miramonti Majestic, Cristallo or Savoia which to this day, pays tribute to luxury, with rooms that offer a spectacular view of the most beautiful part of the Dolomites. The panorama is truly unique, and although it would seem that the Alps look similar everywhere, the Dolomites are the most beautiful part.
Entertainment is abundant and varied.
The main shopping street Corso Italia is replete with boutiques and expensive stores with the latest collections of Italian designers. There is a decent number of cafe and après ski bars, not too noisy because that is not the kind of clientele that comes here. After skiing, they prefer to walk their fur coats, which match the colors of their pets.
Cortina d,Ampezzo is called the fashion capital of the Alps.
Fashion shows take place very often and while the ladies are choosing fur coats or ski suits for the next season, the gentlemen taste wine in numerous, superbly supplied wine cellars.
Cortina d,Ampezzo is located in the province of Belluno at an altitude of 1210 m.
The ski resort has for a long time now had the reputation of having good restaurants and chefs, so the gastronomic offer far surpasses that of the ski resorts offering gulaschsuppe and germknödel as the pinnacle of cuisine. When you have all that, who cares that the cable cars are not the latest make, and that the three main slopes are connected only by ski buses.
Local ski instructors wear Prada
and drive expensive SUVs. Their ski suits are embellished by Mercedes or Maserati signs.
We should also mention the sports flavour of Cortina d,Ampezzo. Every year, it is host to World Cup races. Janica Kostelic was queen here for a number of years, and Cortina was also the venue of the winter Olympics in 1956. That says a lot about the quality of the slopes, which are simply spectacular. Especially those on the Tofana side, which has a tourist cable car riding to its summit at 3200m, and in clear weather you can even see the sea. The best slopes are Olympia and Canalone. On the other side of the valley, Cristallo, accessible by a cable car from the very downtown, offers somewhat milder slopes.
Those who don’t ski have plenty of things to choose from, ranging from walking in nature and ice-skating at the old Olympic stadium, to kite-flying, horseback riding, and snow rafting.