For centuries the Dolomites have preserved among their impressive peaks the ancient language and traditions of the Ladins, one of Italy’s linguistic minorities. But it is the unparalleled beauty of the Dolomites that has made them the epitome of South Tyrol’s mountainscape.
From the Isarco/Eisacktal valley in the east to the Pusteria/Pustertal valley in the south, several valleys stretch out to form a unique landscape dominated by extraordinary peaks such as the Catinaccio/Rosengarten, the Latemar, the Sella massif, the Puez Fanes Langkofel group, the Sesto/Sextner Dolomites and the iconic Three Peaks – to name just the most famous. Add to that the verdant pastures, lush meadows and thick woods that complete the picture, and you will understand the attraction. Once home to poverty-stricken farmers, the Dolomites have evolved into a thriving area, where small-scale industry, handicrafts and agriculture rub shoulders with an ever-booming tourism industry that has become the driving force of the local economy. The Gardena/Gröden, Badia/Gader, Funes/Villnöss, Tires/Tiers and Sesto/Sexten areas, which extend at the feet of the Dolomites, are all tourist hotspots. In June 2009, UNESCO declared the Dolomites a World Heritage site (www.dolomitiunesco.info).
The natural beauty of the Dolomites is matched by the quality of service offered – from the top-notch ski areas with manicured pistes and advanced lift facilities to the idyllic walking paths and mountain huts that pamper hikers and mountaineers with fine experiences and indulgent stopovers in the summer. The local hospitality stands out for its wealth of excellent spa hotels, and fine dining is offered everywhere from starred restaurants to high-mountain Alpine huts.
We, the tourist guides and tourist leader of South Tyrol, will be happy to take you on a discovery journey:
On a 1½-hour guided tour, we will visit Ortisei/St. Ulrich, one of the most charming Ladin towns. Local attractions include Art 52, a permanent exhibition of Val Gardena/Gröden valley handicrafts hosted in the congress house, and the Luis Trenker exhibition at the town museum. We will go for a stroll along the traffic-calmed corso with its chic shops and a short walk along the promenade, taking in the view that sweeps from the rooftops to the peak of the mighty Mt. Sassolungo/Langkofel. Time permitting, we will also take the funicular and ride up Mt. Rasciesa/Raschötz to enjoy a spectacular view. Similar experiences are offered in the other chocolate-box villages in the area.
If you opt for a half-day or full-day trip, the tour guide or holiday rep will offer you a close-up encounter with the area’s beautiful mountain passes. Cortina – pearl of the Dolomites – is within easy reach and an ideal destination for a day trip. Depending on your point of departure, the historical towns or Brunico/Bruneck, Bressanone/Brixen and Chiusa/Klausen are also within range, and so are other worthy destinations such as Anterselva/Antholz with the biathlon centre and Lienz in eastern Tyrol (Austria).
Are you looking for accommodation in the Dolomites?
The local tourist associations will be happy to receive your booking enquiries: Gröden, Dolomites Val Gardena, Tel.: +39 0471 777777; email@example.com; www.valgardena.it, Tel. +39 0471/836176, Alta Badia/Corvara: firstname.lastname@example.org; www.altabadia.org; Sesto/Sexten: www.drei-zinnen.info; Funes/Villnöss: www.villnoess.info; Tires/Tiers: www.seiseralm.it .