Cortina d’Ampezzo, located in the Italian province of Belluno, is one of the most renowned tourist resorts and winter sports hubs in the Dolomites.
Surrounded on all sides by the Dolomites - which have been declared one of only 189 UNESCO World Heritage Sites - the majestic Tofane, Pomagnon and Cristallo mountains exalt the beauty of the Vallata d’Ampezzo, rendering it utterly unique.
In 1956, the town in the Valle d’Ampezzo played host to the Winter Olympics, and to this day, Cortina d’Ampezzo remains a favoured location for important national and international winter sports events.
With its enchanting surroundings and centuries-old tradition of hospitality, Cortina offers a wealth of fantastic possibilities for visitors: from long hikes in the mountains (complete with a plethora of trails of different levels of difficulty) to winter sports (such as skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, curling and hockey), not to mention the great shopping to be had on Corso Italia.
With more than 100 km of pistes, fields and woodlands, the Queen of the Dolomites Park ("Regina delle Dolomiti") is the ideal destination for those who want to make the most of the mountainous landscapes in both summer and winter.
The area is a paradise for sporty types, who will enjoy skiing down the pistes where the 1956 Winter Olympics were held, such as the Stratofana Olympic Piste (a mecca for downhill skiers), the Vitelli Piste (scene of the Giant Slalom) and the Col Druscie’ Piste "A" (used for the Special Slalom).
For nature lovers, among the myriad places of interest to visit there is the Regional Park of the Dolomiti d’Ampezzo: officially established in the 1990s, it features a profusion of typical Alpine flora, with forests predominantly of fir and conifer trees; moreover, it is home to a rich variety of fauna including roe, deer, chamois, ibex, marmot and the golden eagle. The Park plays host to a total of 19 Alpine lodges and restaurants.
For culture vultures, the Valle d’Ampezzo offers a wealth of monuments to visit, including the 18th-century Church of Santi Filippo and Giacomo and the Chapel of the Holy Trinity (dating from the late 17th century). Other historic buildings of interest include: the Austro-Hungarian Tre Sassi Fort at the Valparola Pass; Botestagno Castle, situated in the valley of the River Boite; the small fortress of Zanna Castle, located in the Majon district; and the Great War Museum, which is housed within a fort constructed by the Austrians at the turn of the 19th century that was involved in the battles of the First World War.
The centre of the town features numerous boutiques, shops and small craft workshops. Corso Italia, in the heart of Cortina, is reserved exclusively for pedestrians and is perfect for a bit of peaceful shopping. After a day on the slopes or a wonderful trip through the mountains, visitors can take a relaxing walk through the centre and admire the displays in the shop windows, before heading into one of the welcoming bars to enjoy a tea or a hot chocolate along with a slice of strudel or some warm doughnuts.
As you stroll through the town, it is not unusual to bump into one of the many celebrities who visit Cortina throughout the year.