From Belluno to Cortina
Valleys, rivers, waterfalls and snow-capped mountain peaks: the irresistible appeal of the Dolomites.
A trip to the Dolomites and Italy's favorite high altitude hangouts.
Visitors to Belluno soon find themselves in Piazza Duomo, a stunningly beautiful square home to the town's Cathedral, Torre Civica, Palazzo dei Rettori and Palazzo dei Giuristi.
Other sites not to be missed include the Gothic Church of Santo Stefano, Piazza del Mercato and Piazza dei Martiri.
A walk through the old Borgo Piave, introduces visitors to a district where the boats employed to transport goods to and from Venice used to be moored
National Park of the Belluno Dolomites
The road to Agordo leads to the National Park of the Belluno Dolomites and Mas, town which nestles between the Monti del Sole and Della Schiara Mountain range.
The 15th century charterhouse of Vedana would be well worth visiting had it not been converted in convent. Surrounding the towns of Pedavena and Feltre there are more than two hundred villas, some of which, strikingly beautiful. In order to admire the Marmitte dei Giganti rock formations and the Cascata della Soffia waterfall, we take the road towards Lake Mis and the Cadini del Breton.
Piazza della Libertà, with its ancient Palazzo Crotta-De Manzoni, forms the historic heart of Agordo. Not far away lies the mining village of Val Imperina, awarded world heritage status by UNESCO. Whilst on the road which traverses the San Lucano Valley, we make time to stop at the "Cascate dell'Inferno" waterfalls and Falcade, home-town of the 20th century sculptor, Augustus Murer.
Cable cars, cable ways and chairlifts
Once at Alleghe, we take the cable car to Piani di Pezzè and then the chair lift to Col dei Baldi. The climb is rewarded by a breathtaking view over the Civetta and Pelmo mountains. Those wishing to reach the summit of the Dolomites highest mountain, the Marmolada, will need to take the cableway from Malga Ciapena.
The Zoldo Valley is traversed by the torrent Mae. From Longarone, sadly famous for the tragedy of Vajont, we proceed towards the Canale di Zoldo. Along the road, overlooking Lake Pontisei, lies the 15th century Church of San Florino. Once beyond the Cibiana Pass, we soon reach Fornesighe, and the slopes of Mount Rite.
Lying at the foot of the mountain, the town of Cibiana is famous for the fabulous murals which adorn its walls
Mount Pelmo Nature Reserve and the Marmolada
The Staulanza mountain pass is the gateway to the Fiorentina Valley, and the heart of the Mount Pelmo Nature Reserve. Once at Arabba, visitors take the cableway to Porta Vescovo so as to admire a spectacular view of the Marmolada glacier. From the Falzarego Pass, the cableway transports passengers directly to Lagazuoi, where to observe a 360° view of the Dolomites.
Shop and ski
Having arrived in Cortina d'Ampezzo, we take a stroll along the fashionable Corso Italia, past the town's many luxurious shops and boutiques, before paying a visit to the Baroque church of Saints Filippo and Giacomo, and the Mario Rimordi Museum of Modern Art.
A fine example of 18th century Cortina, the district of Col has remained largely untouched by the passage of time. Our itinerary continues via the Tre Croci pass and the Forcella Staunies refuge. From here, the final stretch of our journey brings us to the magnificent Tre Cime di Lavoredo and Pieve di Cadore, Titian's birth town.
At this stage, skiers find themselves just moments away from Sappada and some of the best ski resorts in the whole of Italy.