The Italian Dolomites, Summer and Winter

June 30, 2015 / Places
Dolomiti, Trentino Alto-Adige
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As a place to visit, the Italian Dolomites have everything to recommend them no matter what season you visit.

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Located in the Trentino-Alto Adige area of Northern Italy, which shares its border with Austria and Switzerland, it is also known as South Tyrol, where the fabulous food, wine, scenery and culture are quite different to the rest of Italy.

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Highly mountainous, in the winter season it is a popular skiing area, especially with the Italians who flock there in their droves for settimana bianca (white week).

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Summer sees them heading there for mountain climbing, hiking and cycling, or even just to see the flowers.

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Having visited in both early summer and mid-winter over the past year, I have been able to observe the contrasts in scenery and weather. But what remains constant is the fabulous food.

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Speck, dairy produce, vegetables, fruit and great wines are par for the course and local dishes such as canedorli and apple strudel are on most menus.

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When I visited in summer last year, the gentle sunshine and flower-filled meadows were a sight to behold. These gave way to snow in winter when I arrived with a large group of friends for settimana bianca which illustrated another type of beauty altogether.

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Meeting at rifugi high in the mountains for lunch is a fantastic experience: culinary and visual bliss.

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by Orna O’Reilly

Orna is a former interior designer who practised in South Africa, Mozambique and Ireland. Now writing full time, she moved from Ireland to the Veneto area of Italy in 2013.

She writes her way around Italy by blogging about it (at Ornasite) and is currently writing a novel set in Venice. You can follow her tweets @OrnaOR, and her Travel & Design page on FB.

19 Responses to “The Italian Dolomites, Summer and Winter”

  1. Josephine Leonardelli

    You refer as the Trentino Alto -Adige as also the South Tyrol. Only the Province of Alto Adige is the South Tyrol, the other province is Trentino.

  2. Have visited every nook and cranny of South Tyrol. .It is bi-lingual, Italian/German, which makes it a great place in Italy to visit for someone who speaks German. The towns have both Italian and German names…Its beauty is magnifico!!

  3. Margie Martini Jones

    Thanks for the pictures. This the home of my ancestors!

  4. Bob Paglee

    Was that ski-slope called “Cortino d’Impezzo”? I saw Cortina only in winter around 63 years ago, when I tried to ski there and wound taking a slope with a sign in German at the entrance that I couldn’t read — found out later that it stated “Advanced Skiiers Only”! I finally got down sitting on my skies.

    • That sounds pretty hairy! I’m not sure where I took that photo, but I definitely visited the rifugo over Cortina that day, so perhaps it is. :-)

  5. Victoria De Maio

    I’m not a skier but I loved visiting the Dolomiti around Lago di Garda a few years ago and even in summer, high on the peaks we had snowfall!
    Grazie for a wonderful piece, Orna!

  6. Antoinette Shapiama

    Lovely photos! Beautiful region that I visited with my Veneto-native cousins. My first time in any mountains took my breath away, literally. At the rifugio looking out at “Le Tre Cime di Lavaredo” I didn’t see much beyond the black dots before my eyes. The bicchierino of brandy restored me in no time!

  7. Riccardo Russo-Hayden

    Ahhhh – Memories: Last fall, The principessa and I celebrated our 50th anniversary with a motor tour of La Grande Italia, using the same Michelin Green Guide (geared to the motorist, of course) that we had used on our first visit to Italy some 46 years earlier. The Old Dolomite Road (a 3-Star drive – the best) between Bolzano and Cortina was to be a treat, and the meal BEFORE the arduous drive was memorably recalled by your pictures. The now-defunct (sigh) Cavallino Bianco in Bolzano was the site, decked out in the Germanic hunting-lodge style, with game-heads hanging from wood-paneled walls seemingly looking over your shoulders guiding menu choices. The Bauern Teller (Farmer’s Platter) as shown in your pix was my choice – More meat in one sitting than any Italy tourist could dream of in any other area of the country…and those dumplings! To die for…or FROM. Calorie-meter off the chart, too much satisfaction – and (of course) STRUDEL for desert! Halb-Italiano & Meta-Deutsch is not a bad gene pool, gustatorily speaking.

  8. Wow, Orna, what fabulous foodie shots!! I’m soooo hungry now and have added the Dolomites to my trip wish-list!! Keep the great posts coming!!

  9. Ciao Orna! Great pictures and a superb post. I am not a skier but I hope to visit this region and ski someday :)

    • Unfortunately, not a single lederhosen presented itself to me for comment during the research for this blog. Glad you enjoyed my article and pics Tom.

  10. Bob Amoruso

    Trentino- Alto Adige is beautiful, but that is only one part of the Dolomiti. Cortina and a few miles south to SanVito di Cadore have some of the most spectacular mountains in the world. In particular, Cortina which opens up into a wide valley surrounded by massive peaks. Cortina is upscale distination, but still a nice little town. It’s worth a drive a few miles south to San Vito to see the highest mountain peak in the Dolomiti (Antelao) and “the throne of God” (Mt. Pelmo). The Tirol is mostly German -speaking as the primary language whereas the Veneto region has always been primarily Italian. My mother’s family is from San Vito and I have lived there and visited many times. Never get’s old. Strongly recommend the drive from San Vito to Cortina, then the passes Falzarego, Pordoi to Ortisei (stop for lunch) before hitting the autostrada to Lago di Garda, Sirimione and Verona. And don’t forget the food that you won’t get anywhere else in Italy. Canederli and Casunziei are my favorites. But the gnocchi and polenta are great also.


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