Cortina d’Ampezzo is one of those postcard perfect little villages that comes in to your mind whenever you think about Christmas, Winter wonderlands or romcoms that take place in charming mountain retreats. But actually Cortina d’Ampezzo is better than all that because it’s real: the chalets, the light green pointed bell tower, the twisting mountain roads surrounded by green meadows and dense woods, those impressive, magnificent mountains that border the landscape… We live the whole year waiting for that first crisp, pine scented, invigorating deep breath that we take the moment we arrive.
HOW TO GET THERE
Cortina is located a two hour car ride away from Venice Airport. Remember to book your seat on the right side of the plane to see the majestic Venice from your window. If a thick matted wool like fog doesn’t interfere with your landing, that is. Once in Venice, you can take the Cortina Express or de ATVO regional buses. Both have a very convenient stop at Venice airport.
You can always rent a car (the roads are really good) or hire a shuttle service. If you choose this last option, we highly recommend the Cortina Limousine Service (E-mail: i[email protected]) Maurizio has been our driver these past two years and he is the kindest man. Plus he can give you nice tips on the area.
There is just one place that we can recommend. Of course you can rent a cozy chalet, a modern apartment or stay at one of the different hotels that Cortina has to offer, but we happen to have found the perfect hotel. In fact, it has become our favorite place in the world. Whenever we think about relax, wellness and bliss the incredible Rosapetra Spa Resort jumps into our minds. We did a whole post about it here, if you are interested in this perfect Winter dream retreat. The Spa is the best we’ve ever been to: watching the sunset from one of the loungers in the warm swimming pool curled up in a white, fluffy bath robe herbal tea in hand is the most relaxing experience. And once you’ve taken their Mediterranean sauna and washed all the toxins away in the mint mist shower, you will feel your skin rejuvenated and your muscles will be just good as new. Reborn.
There are two old-school, absolutely charming cafes perfect for people- watching and drinking your cappuccino: Lovat (Corso Italia 65) and Embassy (Corso Italia 44). Pay attention because you will probably see the most beautiful designer handbags hanging nonchalantly from the chairs, as well as the most elegant ladies in the chicest Winter outfits while sipping a fantastic coffee. If the sun is shining go drink an aperitivo in the beautiful Lovat’s terrace. Life will look much brighter.
If you have a sweet tooth you won’t be able to resist the delicacies at Alverá (Piazza Fratelli Ghedina Pittori, 14). The selection is unbelievable and they have a small counter to drink your coffee Italian Style, that is in just one quick sip.
Our favorite place to have lunch has to be Col Druscié (first stop, Funivia Tofana Freccia nel Cielo). For us, it represents pure joy. This traditional mountain shelter has the most amazing terrace with breathtaking views, a wonderful menu full of local products and a cosmopolitan clientele that is, inevitably, in a good mood. Order the wonderful fresh pasta with radicchio from Treviso and their perfect cheese plate. Sit down, take a deep breath and be thankful because life doesn’t get better than that.
Of course, we have to mention La Corte del Lampone, the restaurant of our beloved Rosapetra Spa Resort. We did a full post last year here. You can enjoy a lovely light lunch menu in its beautiful dining room, which is always filled with a warm, soft light. But it is at night when the restaurant truly shines. The candle light that make the glassware sparkle, the attentive service and the incredible food, always inspired on the traditional cuisine but with modern twists to it, makes La Corte del Lampone the perfect restaurant for a special occasion. And a slow-paced weekend in Cortina is always special. Just one last thing: don’t skip dessert! Ask for L’omaggio delle Dolomiti. Sublime!
OUT & ABOUT
Of course, Cortina is all about Winter sports: three ski areas connected by a free of charge ski bus and 115 km of slopes. Since we don’t ski we can’t give you advice on this, but there is plenty to do in Cortina if, like us, you are always tempted by Skiing but not willing to lose your teeth because you know you will be terrible at it.
You can take the Funivia and visit Faloria and Tofana. The views will be worth the ride. The ever green pines alternate with white, fluffy ones that look like huge, spongy dandelions. The majestic, grey, white and coral peaks will make you feel insignificant but the pure, cold air will empower you.
Hiking is a must when in Cortina. You can choose from lots of routes, but we love the old railroad track. There are plenty of alpine lakes, so you can hike until you find one of them. The landscape makes hiking a pure pleasure.
Cortina is also a great shopping destination. During our last visit the Cortina fashion weekend was taking place so we, inevitably, made a little bit of shopping. Corso Italia is dotted with the most elegant boutiques. Our favorites are Marinotti (their selection mixes perfectly casual attire with the chicest accessories) and Guerresco (we left our hearts with their fur trimmed parkas). If you love the latest designer trends you have to pay a visit to Franz Krazler, quite an institution in Cortina.