Cortina d’Ampezzo

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Cortina d’Ampezzo
Cortina d’Ampezzo

Cortina d’Ampezzo is one of the most charming ski resort in Italy, near the north-eastern border with Austria.

The village, boasting a thousand-year old remarkable historical background, has nearly 7,000 inhabitants. It attracts visitors from all over the world for its lively international atmosphere, its fashionable shops, and excellent restaurants.

Cortina is also known as the “Regina delle Dolomiti” – Queen of the Dolomites – since it is in the heart of the wonderful Dolomites.

Cortina is surrounded by forests and wide ski slopes, below the towering craggy red rock mountains. It offers something for everyone and most keen skiers will be willing to visit it.

A number of worldwide famous movies have been shot in Cortina. Among them:

Ash Wednesday starring Elizabeth Taylor and Henry Fonda
The Pink Panther starring David Niven and Peter Sellers
For Your Eyes Only starring Roger Moore
VonRyan Express starring Frank Sinatra
Cliffhanger starring Sylvester Stallone

Ski area in Cortina d’Ampezzo – Photo
Ski area in Cortina d’Ampezzo – Photo

Nowhere is more picturesque than chic Cortina, the most up market of Italian resorts. Dramatic pink-tinged peaks rise sheerly from the top of the slopes, giving picture-postcard views from wherever you are.

Cortina’s slopes are fine for its regular up market visitors from Rome and Milan, many of whom have second homes here and enjoy the strolling, shopping, people-watching and lunching as much as the odd leisurely excursion on to the slopes. For beginners and leisurely intermediates, the splendid beginner slopes and long, easy, well-groomed runs are ideal. For keen slope-bashers, Cortina’s fragmented areas can be frustrating, especially if snow is scarce and the area is fragmented even more; but the access to the Sella Ronda and other Dolomiti Super ski resorts, though time consuming, is some compensation – having a car is best for exploring. For experts, there are few tough runs, and the best of those are liable to poor snow conditions and closure because they face south.

Cortina’s picturesque square is framed by two massive mountain ridges: to the east lies the connected area formed by Cristallo (9,613 feet) and Faloria (7,690 feet); to the west, Tofana (9,317 feet) and Pocol and Socrepes (7,487 feet) form another connected area, accessible from the town. Further to the west, approaching the Falzarego Pass (6,906 feet), the areas of Cinque Torri (8,438 feet) and Lagazuoi (9,009 feet) beckon the adventurous skier.
These areas are loosely connected by a system of inexpensive buses and taxis.

Cortina d’Ampezzo Ministero degli Affari Esteri
Cortina d’Ampezzo Ministero degli Affari Esteri

Cortina is situated more or less to the center of the Ampezzana valley, encircled nearly completely by the high Dolomites. Originally it was composed of numerous frazioni, isolated villages and hamlets, but with the advent of the tourism from the 1950s it grew rapidly. Only the furthest villages and hamlets in the commune have remained secluded and isolated from the main town, which today is known for its shopping. Cortina is home to some of the most prestigious names in fashion, including Bulgari, Benetton, Gucci and Geox, and various artisan shops, antiquarians, and craft stores. It is also home to many stores which specialize in mountaineering equipment.

Cortina d’Ampezzo center.

However, the symbol of Cortinese shopping remains La Cooperativa di Cortina, founded on June 28, 1893 under the name of Consumverein Ampezzo. In this shopping center many trades can be found, from confectioners to newspaper vendors, toys, gift shops, skiing stores and blacksmiths. The building is divided into three levels (more a raised plan and a balcony). The cooperative in Cortina was one of the first cooperatives founded in the Italian Peninsula, and currently provides employment to approximately 200 people. Near the bridge on the Bigontina River is the Town Hall, a palace in the Tirolese style.

Piazza Venezia houses several popular spots. The Ciasa de ra Regoles is one of the more important legal buildings in Cortina, where the “regolieri” — a council for the local villages that stood before the town merged — trained the community and gave administrative orders. In the same building today is also found the office of the Scuola Sci Cortina, Cortina’s skiing school.

Where to stay in Cortina d’Ampezzo

Hotels, apartments, villas and B&Bs in Cortina d’Ampezzo can be searched and reserved here.