The beauty of Italy is that is so incredibly diverse. Modern living collides with ancient history, villages perched on cliffs plummet into the sea, the sacred and the profane live together side by side in almost perfect harmony. And in the north of Italy the German culture is alive and well. Yes, you heard me. The German culture. The Sud Tirol/Alto Adige is decidedly more northern, not only in location but in philosophy and lifestyle, than the rest of Italy. Things are a bit more organized, decidedly cleaner and more modern. This is a region that is often overlooked by Americans as a tourist destination but keep reading and perhaps you will be tempted to book a flight to this Alpine wonderland früh, I mean presto, I mean soon…
Northern Italy is an obvious destination for skiers. Cortina d’Ampezzo is the place to be if you are looking for the high society scene – more snow bunny, less hit the slopes hard from morning to evening. But it is undeniably beautiful and worth a visit. The town is filled with luxury shopping and hotels so no worries about roughing it up here. If you are looking for more a more low key scene, head to Plan de Corones for excellent skiing, a charming village and a very cool vibe. Rent a room in a home for a great bargain and even better hospitality. Think thick down comforters and warm apple strudel for breakfast before you hit the slopes.
If skiing is not your thing but you are looking for a luxurious spa getaway, the Relais & Chateax property of Rosa Alpina should be your destination. The property of 51 rooms was renovated just last year and includes a spectacular spa as well as a Michelin star restaurant.
Summer time in the mountains - though the summers are quite short in the Dolomites, the Alto Adige is a outdoor adventurers paradise. Extensive hiking paths ranging from gentle walks to challenging climbs are to be found in any direction. The trail is extremely organized being operated by organizations like the Alpine Association of South Tyrol (AVS) and the Italian Alpine Club (CAI). An option for those who want to REALLY get away is to stay in one of the rifiugi nestled in the mountains. These rustic mountain houses provide a clean, simple place to stay along with homemade, family style meals for lodgers. It is a great way to experience the alpine life.
Cyclists find the Alto Adige to be paradise. The roads are challenging and in pristine condition. What a thrill to be able to ride some of the historic routes of the Giro d’Italia such as the Passo di Pordoi or the Passo Gardena. These are not for the faint of heart but provide a true sense of accomplishment at the summit!
Food & Wine -
the culinary traditions of this area provide an unexpected and delicious break from the Italian cuisine of Rome, Tuscany or Sicily. There are also an abundance of well renowned, fabulous restaurants in the region. Try some of the dishes that you will not find anywhere else in Italy
· Canderli – bread dumpling served with sauerkraut
· Pizzocheri - buckwheat noodles in a cream, butter and cheese sauce
· Speck – a type of prosciutto which is smokier than the Parma variety
· Apfelküchel – Apple cake – the best apples in Italy come from the Trentino & Alto Adige so there are an abundance of sweets made from apples
· Grappa - lots of it – served after meals or in coffee (café corretto)
If a week in the Alto Adige seems like the vacation you have been dreaming of, contact me and we can talk about planning a fabulous trip of a lifetime.