Cadore Centrale

Foto © Cortina Marketing

Cadore Centrale e Val Boite

The beating heart of the Belluno Dolomites is here: headed by Cortina d’Ampezzo, the Cadore and Val Boite area is worth a stay in the Dolomites on its own.

Surrounded by superb and majestic mountain passes, this area is crossed by the river Piave and is characterised by numerous lake basins.

Not to mention the mountains, first and foremost the Three Peaks of Lavaredo, the Tofane, the Sorapiss Group, and Antelao.

In short, there is so much to say and so much to discover here. Ready to take notes?

TOP 5 NOT TO BE MISSED

Rounding the Tre Cime di Lavaredo

Falling in love with Lake Sorapiss

Skiing in Cortina (and enjoying the Ampezzo nightlife)

Measuring yourself on the Tofane fixed rope routes

Reaching the 5 Torri

CORTINA D’AMPEZZO

It’s likely that if you hear “Cortina” your mind will conjure up numerous images: from wild shopping in the centre, to social events, sporting events and many more. And you are absolutely right.

What we will start by telling you is that Cortina d’Ampezzo – Anpezo in Ladin – is a paradise for skiing and climbing. Sportsmen looking for great emotions will not be disappointed, both in winter and in summer, with many activities and all of them first-rate: and if you don’t want to practice them yourself, just consider attending some international event, such as the Women’s Ski World Cup or the Coppa d’Oro delle Dolomiti car race.

In 2021 Cortina will host the Alpine Ski World Championships and in 2026 the prestigious Winter Olympics with Milan.

The centre of Cortina is certainly known for the glitter of the shop windows on Corso Italia, where you can see an array of international designer labels. On the same axis, stands the Basilica dei Santi Filippo e Giacomo, a majestic church built in the 18th century to replace two small churches that stood on the same site before. Its interior is characterised by a baroque style that is not too showy. The exterior, on the other hand, features an important bell tower (el ciampanin, as the locals call it) that towers 73 metres above the town of Ampezzo.

Continuing in the cultural vein, we recommend the Zardini Paleontological Museum, which houses the largest collection of fossils in the Dolomites. When our beloved mountains were also the sea. It seems almost impossible to think that, doesn’t it?

Finally, we would like to tell you that Cortina is the home town of one of the greatest Italian downhill skiers: Kristian Ghedina. If you’re lucky, you may catch him from time to time in the town centre and certainly on the slopes!

Foto © Eliana Silovich

SAN VITO DI CADORE

On the outskirts of Cortina lies San Vito di Cadore, nestled between the peaks of Mount Pelmo, Mount Antelao, and the Sorapiss group.

The late-Gothic church of the Beata Vergine della Difesa is worth a visit, with a triptych attributed to Titian’s brother, Francesco Vecellio, on the high altar. It was here in San Vito, among other places, that in 1985 the Mondeval man was found with all his grave goods. He was a hunter who lived around 7000 years ago and is now housed in the museum in Selva di Cadore.

In winter, the ski lifts provide skiers with kilometres and kilometres of downhill slopes of varying levels of difficulty, whose optimal conditions are guaranteed by the sophisticated system of programmed snowfall. But places such as the Mosigo park, where there is a magnificent lake, the Alpe di Senes, the fir woods or the Giau wall (the eighteenth-century boundary of the pastures between Ampezzo and San Vito) are excursion destinations to be enjoyed amidst fun, sport and relaxation during the summer.

AURONZO DI CADORE

The town of Auronzo lies on the northern shores of Lake Santa Caterina (or Auronzo) and its origins are very ancient: despite the easy connection between the word aurum (gold) and Auronzo and despite the presence of gold and silver mines in the area, the origin of the name is still uncertain, since there was already a settlement of barbarians before the Romans.

Lake Auronzo is an artificial basin created by the damming of the Ansiei stream, which flows through its entire valley. Around the lake it is possible to follow a stretch of cycle path that runs for all eight kilometres of the valley.

Auronzo also offers a rich calendar of sporting and cultural events: from the summer training camp of S.S. Lazio to international canoeing and dragon boat competitions, from the Wood Sculpture Symposium to the Tre Cime InCanto festival, from mountain running races to cycling events.

The Multitematic Museum in Palazzo Corte Metto offers an insight into the geological, mining and archaeological history of the Ansiei Valley.

The municipality of Auronzo also includes Lake Misurina and the wonderful Tre Cime di Lavaredo.

Foto © Nicola Bombassei

CURIOSITies

Action movie fans, gather round!

Did you know that the beauty of these landscapes has also impressed the great Hollywood directors? We are talking about the most famous saga in cinema, such as James Bond – 007, who in the film “For Your Eyes Only” shot scenes in Cortina in 1981.

But wait, we haven’t finished yet: in 1992 Sylvester Stallone climbed the via ferrata above Cortina for the film “Cliffhanger – the last challenge”. As you can see, the adrenaline is pumping!

WINTER ACTIVITIES

The reign of the Alpine Ski World Cup has little to explain: think that in 1956 the Winter Olympics were held in Cortina, which will be repeated in 2026 together with Milan.

Alpine skiing, but also ski mountaineering or cross-country skiing, winter trekking, snowshoeing with wonderful landscapes to discover. But also novelties such as snow-kiting in the passes around Cadore.

For the romantically minded, we recommend skating and horse-drawn sleigh rides – do you need anything else to convince you?

Foto © bandion.it

Foto © bandion.it

SUMMER ACTIVITIES

If you think there are too many in winter, then you should try coming here in summer: a paradise for trekkers, but also for those who want to measure themselves against the heights, the roughness and the coldness of the mountains.

There are countless via ferratas, all of a fairly high standard, and challenging treks for adrenaline junkies. But there are also gentle slopes and easy routes where you can admire crazy landscapes and exhaust the memory of your phone.

The area of Cadore and Val Boite is crossed by the most important High Routes of the Dolomites: Alta Via n.1, 4, and 5. These routes last from four to twelve days and take place at high altitude; along the way you can lean on refuges and bivouacs. A great adventure!

Don’t underestimate the possibility of enjoying the many waterways in the area: canyoning, rafting or simply a boat trip on the lakes.

SKI / HIKING AREAS

CORTINA D’AMPEZZO

Cortina is undoubtedly Italy’s best-known and most prestigious ski resort: a name that has endured over time, partly thanks to the World Cup races that take place there every year on the Olympia elle Tofane slope.

Cortina d’Ampezzo is supported by three ski areas: Tofane, Faloria – Cristallo and Lagazuoi – 5 Torri. With the valley ski pass you can ski on all the pistes of the Auronzo – Misurina, San Vito di Cadore and Cortina area, 140 km of pistes included in the Dolomiti Superski circuit.

For lovers of ski mountaineering: starting from the Lagazuoi – 5 Torri area there are numerous ski mountaineering trips. A well-equipped snowpark is located in Socrepes; it is divided into two areas: the Easy Line for beginners and the Media Line for experts.

In the Ampezzo Dolomites Natural Park, cross-country skiers will find 7 km of rings, 2 of which are illuminated at night, and groomed routes with guaranteed snow for 70 km of slopes. Dolomiti NordicSki is a card that entitles you to ski on around 1300 km of slopes in 12 locations, the largest cross-country skiing carousel in Europe.

New experiences on skis can be represented by snow kiting: kites fly between Martisa, Passo Giau and Lake Misurina, areas where there is always a good wind.

Foto © bandion.it

In summer in the Cortina area you will find many paths, which together make up more than 400 kilometres, to spend unforgettable days in the open air surrounded by unspoilt nature. These routes are suitable for all types of sportsmen and women, for the most trained and for those who wish to relax while admiring the breathtaking views.

Along the way, you can stop at the numerous high-altitude refuges to savour the most typical flavours of the mountains with taste and zero-kilometre products. To reach the starting points of many itineraries you can use the ski lifts open in summer.
With the purchase of the Hiking Pass you can access all the lifts in Cortina with a single card.
Special tours of the Dolomites can also be organised to discover the flora, fauna and breathtaking views with the convenience of luggage transport and specific dedicated services.

Particularly suitable for everyone is Sentiero Montanelli: the Montanelli walk starts from Pié Tofana, at an altitude of 1,675 metres: a small forest road closed to transit that the famous journalist Indro Montanelli loved to walk in the morning, stick in hand and hat on his head, sometimes accompanied by friends (often with him was Dino Buzzati). The flat route leads through a sparse forest of larch, fir and mountain pine trees and then descends slightly to the junction with the road that climbs to Cianderou (1,649 m).

For your heart’s content with historical themes, but also to keep your puppies entertained, we recommend the following:

The Way of the Dinosaurs where spectacular dinosaur footprints dating back 220 million years have been found;
The Mondeval Man Trail, which leads to a burial site at an altitude of 2,000 metres, dating from 5000 BC;
The Great War Tour, a cultural experience that winds for 80 kilometres between history and nature, in the mountains between Lagazuoi, the 5 Torri and Sasso di Stria, protagonists of an important part of the history of the First World War.

There are routes of superb beauty such as the Tofane, Cristallo (like the legendary Ivano Dibona) on the Lagazuoi or Nuvolau.

The Falzarego is the pass that connects Cortina with Alta Badia (together with the Valparola pass) and is the starting point for numerous trails. The Lagazuoi peak can be easily reached in 10 minutes from the refuge of the same name along an easy path accessible to all. Along the way you can sit and meditate, observe the rare flowers that surround you or simply listen to the silence of the mountains. From the highest point, at the cross, the horizon widens even further towards Val Badia. A view so beautiful that it hurts.

A tip for all lovers of panoramas, but of easy treks: from the Giau Pass or the Falzarego Pass reach the 5 towers on summer mornings and wait for the sun to rise. And then let us know if you too are illuminated by the sun.

SKI AREA SAN VITO

At the foot of the Antelao, on the slopes of Cima Belprà, is the San Vito di Cadore ski area, with 9 Alpine ski runs, not very long, suitable for those who want to ski on uncrowded slopes. There are 16 kilometres of pistes served by 6 lifts, where families will find an environment suited to the needs of each member. There is a snow kindergarten for the little ones, while the “Parco Nevesole” offers a school camp, a slope for rubber dinghies, bobsleighs and sledges, and a baby park with games and inflatables.

Cross-country skiers will find a cross-country centre with two rings at Pian de la Graes, with free admission, another small ring at Alpe di Senes and the Deona track at Passo Cibiana, which consists of several rings, one of which is lit and open for night skiing. Other tourist opportunities in San Vito Di Cadore include ski mountaineering, snowshoeing, dog sledding, a skating centre in Borca di Cadore and a natural skating track in Vodo di Cadore.

In the summer, this area is rich in Nordic walking, trekking and high routes. The Antelao area is perfect for your excursions.

Mount Antelao is second in height only to Marmolada. This mighty, pyramid-shaped mountain has two glaciers on its northern slope, which are now in sharp decline. Rugged gorges, enormous gullies, and high, compact walls contrast with the wide, green meadows that characterise the base of the south-eastern side of the mountain. It is on this side of the mountain, at an altitude of 1789 m, that you will find the welcoming Rifugio Antelao, the starting and finishing point of the Sentiero Naturalistico delle Tre Forcelle (Three Forks Nature Trail), a 4-hour tour that covers all the morphological, faunal and floral characteristics of the mountain.

Foto © Andre Schönherr

TIPS

An unmissable excursion is the one that takes you to Lake Sorapiss. Taken by storm in summer, this lake can be reached from various points. The quickest one is a three-hour walk.

From the Tre croci pass, two routes begin that will take you to admire this spectacular sheet of water with its almost fluorescent blue colour, set in a unique frame. You can choose the classic path, the 215 or the 213 for an extra thrill, which takes you up to the infamous Marcuoira pass and some exposed passages, but with an unparalleled panorama! Remember to turn your gaze north-east every now and then: you will have a beautiful view of Lake Misurina and the three peaks of Lavaredo.

At the Vandelli hut you can take refreshment in the shade of the “Dito di Dio” (Sorapiss mountain), the peak behind the lake that guards the lake.

PARCHI NATURALI

Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park

The Fanes-Senes-Braies nature park is enormous. We may have already mentioned that bears are often spotted in this park, in particular the Speleo bear, the common cave bear.

In the more than 25,000 hectares, you will also be able to admire the beauty of the flora and fauna, as well as the play of water in its seasons: waterfalls, streams and lakes. Don’t forget that the Boite river, which gives its name to the valley of Cortina, originates here. The park can also be accessed from Cortina by reaching the Lavarella refuge.

For budding speleologists, but also for those who love the theme, the park offers the possibility of visiting its caves of karstic origin with specialised guides.

The Fanes-Senes-Braies Park has been a protected area since 1980 and covers the municipalities of Badia, Braies, Dobbiaco, La Valle, Marebbe, Valdaora and Cortina.

Tre Cime Nature Park (Drei Zinnen)

The symbol of the Dolomites and South Tyrol par excellence is world-famous: the Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Drei Zinnen) have conquered musicians and actors all over the world. They consist of the Cima Grande (which you can reach by a via ferrata), Cima Ovest and Cima Piccola.

A ring-route around this marvel is recommended, and to reach the park you can arrive from Auronzo via Lake Misurina and leave your car at the Auronzo Refuge (with a Euro 30 car toll).

Other important peaks are the Punta dei Tre Scarperi (3,152 m), Mount Popera (3,046 m), Croda dei Baranci (2,922 m), Mount Paterno (2,744 m), Peak Una (2,698 m), Peak Undici (3,092 m) and Peak Dodici (3,094 m).

Somadida Oriented Nature Reserve 

The Oriented Nature Reserve of Somadida is a state protected area that extends for 1,676 hectares from the locality Palus San Marco, along the Ansiei stream, to the peaks of Marmarole and Sorapiss.

From this forest, the Republic of Venice used to make flagpoles for its sails and masts for its ships. In the lower part, where there is a splendid protected forest, there are level paths suitable for everyone, a visitors’ centre with a small nature museum and a small hut used as the Bosco Library where nature books can be consulted. In summer, the forest is the scene of meetings, concerts and various activities.

The most interesting area is represented by the forest of spruce, fir and beech, crossed by numerous water courses. As for fauna, here you can find chamois, roe deer, deer, squirrels, foxes, stoats, as well as eagles, peregrine falcons, buzzards, owls and owls.

Somadida is a jewel protected by the forestry department.