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Italian Alps

By travelanswerman | August 29, 2009

When I need inspiration and an entire full body recharge, I usually want to spend time in the mountains. They have a way of lifting my spirits unlike any other location. Since Italy is frequently on my mind, it is quite natural to consider a visit to the Italian Dolomites. Wow, and the heavens opened up and the chorus began! What a vision!

These mountains are entirely different from anywhere else in Europe. In fact, they are considerably different than most any other mountains on the face of the earth. Instead of triangular peaks of dark rock, often coated in ice and snow, the Dolomites look like tall towers, castles, or pinnacles in the sky. The pale rock changes color with the movement of the sun: pink in the early hours of the morning,  slate gray or blue in shadow, yellowish at sunset.

We suggest starting your next energizer holiday in a community called Merano, an important visitor center near the Brenner Pass. It is located in the Province of Bolzano-Bozen which is generally known for its spa resorts and is in an area surrounded by mountains of more than 3,335 m (11,000 ft). A good tip would be to follow the Dolomite Road between Cortina d’Ampezzo and Canazei, with detours over the Sella, Gardena and Falzarego passes.

Huge rock forms surround Cortina, a beautiful resort in a broad, sunny valley. Cablecars to the Tofano di Mezzo and the Tondi di Faloria raise you above these great walls. It is rare that you can drive rather than hike up to an alpine club hostel, but that is possible near Cortina. Simply drive over the Passo di Tre Croci and take the tollroad up to the Rifugio Auronzo. From here it is an hour’s walk to the Rifugio Lavaredo which provides views of three exceptionally large columns, the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, as well as tremendous views of more distant rock formations.

West of Cortina, just above the Dolomite Road, is the majestic Sella group, like a city of rock. Can you imagine such a spectacle? A naturally built city of rock! Significantly different than a city built by man. The route over the Passo Sella provides you with spectacular views of the stone behemoth. With special field glasses, you can watch the athletic climbers moving up these vertical rock walls. The route over Gardena Pass and the Passo Pordoi allows you to loop around the Sella mountains with a different view from each direction. And from the Passo Pordoi you can take a cablecar to the top of the Sella wall and look across part of the upper surface of this stone citadel; you also get incredible views of the snow covered Mamorlada, the largest mountain in the area and the only one with a major glacier.

If your thirst for adventure and a stimulating environment wasn’t orginally peaked, then these descriptions should get your outdoor juices flowing!

Italy is a lot more than tasty pasta, aged cheeses,  locally harvested olive oil, fine wines, and world famous architecture. It is filled with a landscape that defies generous descriptions and is inhabited by a people who live life large!

Contact the Italian Government Tourist Board soon to begin your planning. They have been very helpful and friendly when called upon in the past. Hope to see on a mountain top soon!





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