Getting to know: Cortina d’Ampezzo, the Dolomites

Home of the all-glass Starlight Room 360, and much more

Cortina | credit: Cortina Marketing

This coming winter the Queen of the Dolomites welcomes guests offering typical high-end Italian dolce vita as well as top sport events.

Cortina d’Ampezzo, an enchanting mountain location at 1,224 metres above sea level in the Italian Alps, is in the heart of the Dolomite mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2009 and the ideal spot to spend time this Northern winter.

Cortina d’Ampezzo will be among the first destinations opening the gates of the ski lifts for the winter season 2020/21. The first lifts will start operations on 28 November 2020, while the last ski area to close will be the Faloria, on 5 May 2021, making once more Cortina the destination with the longest ski season in the Dolomites.

Only a couple of hours from Venice, easily accessible from Marco Polo International Airport, Cortina is home to the lavish Italian luxury lifestyle, and will be hosting two exciting events in coming years: the 2021 FIS Alpine Ski World Championships in February and the 2026 Winter Olympics alongside Milan.

Town centre shopping experience

With over 300 shops and boutiques, Cortina is a paradise for shopping lovers. Windows display exclusive brands, both local and international, and stores sit side-by-side with the most prestigious art galleries and famous jewellers, antique shops and artisans’ workshops, offering a skilful blend of past, present and future, for a unique shopping experience.

Cortina d'Ampezzo | credit: Cortina Marketing

Cortina’s centre is very lively and has a diversified offering of shops, hotels, bars and restaurants lining up on the pedestrian high street: Corso Italia, the place to be for a real Italian aperitif, one of Cortina’s most loved traditions for sipping a prosecco with friends, tasting a new wine with your loved one or sharing the adventures of the day with friends over a good local beer.

Cortina Fashion Weekend is the most glamorous weekend of the Dolomites that welcomes the winter season at the beginning of the month. It includes three days of events on and off piste, including presentations of new collections, special openings, cocktail parties and entertainment in many shops, hotels and restaurants.

Treat yourself sleeping tight

Cortina offers a wide range of accommodations: from cosy, family-run, traditional places to innovative, luxury-to-boutique hotels, enchanting mountain huts, high-end apartments and chalets equipped with the latest technology as well as integrated wellness and relaxation facilities. Enjoy an exclusive experience waking up with a spectacular view on the Dolomites of the Ampezzo Valley.

Only in Cortina – unique experience in Cortina

Starlight Room: sustainable luxury with stunning 360-degree views of the Dolomites at 2,055 metres. There are two rooms made of wood and glass located at Col Gallina and surrounded by the Dolomites for a unique experience immersed in a 100% natural setting.

Starlight Notturna © Manaz Productions

The Starlight Room 360 bedroom’s walls and ceiling are all made of glass, for a magic night under the starry sky, and the whole structure can rotate so that you can enjoy the different views. The mobile room is makes this special night comfortable along with a non-stop changing sky; in the evening the landscape is painted red, at night the stars and the moon won’t leave you alone, in the early morning the world’s famous Dolomite peaks get pink, like in a fairy tale. In addition, a high-level dinner for two completes an unforgettable experience.

Exclusive gourmet experiences

The all-encompassing love for food and for what’s typical of the Italian culture is deeply rooted in Cortina, while the cuisine of the Ampezzo Valley has elements of the two sides of the Alps, namely Veneto and Tyrol. The most local dish is probably the casunziei: moon-shaped ravioli, with beetroot filling served with melted butter and poppy seeds.

Rifugio Averau, Casunziei | credit: www.bandion.it

Cortina offers visitors several chances to taste the variety of the Italian culinary tradition, in town with oyster bars and fish menus, and at mountain huts – real gourmet spots on the slopes – often offering food and wine tasting. Many of them can be reached also by non-skiers, via lift during the day and, for a special dinner, snowshoeing or with a snowmobile in the evening.

Luxury wellness

  • In town: Hotel Faloria – With the biggest private swimming pool in the Dolomites.
  • Hotel Cristallo – Part of the Marriott Collection, and the only five-star hotel in the Dolomites, it offers a wellness and fitness area with an enchanting landscape overseen the whole Ampezzo Valley.
  • At altitude: Rifugio Lagazuoi(2,752 m) – The highest Finnish Sauna in the Dolomites – Enjoy the experience in total relaxation and with a 360° view of the Dolomites. The heat of the wood fire and the scent of balsamic oils will help you relax after a long day of hiking or skiing.
Vasca Mietres | credit: Cortina Marketing
  • Rifugio Scoiattoli (2,255 m) – Do not miss the wood-fired open-air hot tub next to Rifugio Scoiattoli, a traditional mountain hut in front of the spectacular Cinque Torri. Enjoy a long, hot soak while sipping champagne under a starry sky, with the majestic Dolomites as backdrop.
  • Rifugio Mietres (1,710 m) – With a hot tub to enjoy views of the Tofane, next to Europe’s largest larch forest, Rifugio Mietres also offers a Finnish sauna to warm up after a snowshoe hike or ski mountaineering. Both the hot tub and the sauna are made of local wood and offer a mesmerising views on the valley and mountains around, particularly scenic at sunset.

Sports heaven

A huge restyling and infrastructure upgrade is ongoing in Cortina for the coming February 2021 FIS Ski World Championships. With works on several slopes completed, a new slope has been created and equipped with all the safety features, a new gondola has been built and a new, modern, avalanche control system has been implemented to protect the ski areas. An exclusive VIP lounge is ready for booking. The Great War and Super8 Ski Tours are for passionate skiers, who can sleep in cosy mountain huts like Rifugio Averau and Rifugio Scoiattoli. Or if you want to ski on the Olympic slopes you can book a descent with Kristian Ghedina, the Ambassador of the 2021 Ski World Championships.

Next year’s Ski World Championships will run from 7 to 21 February 2021.

Tickets for the event have gone on sale to the public this month, and are available at cortina2021.com.

While waiting for the 2026 Winter Olympics, Cortina d’Ampezzo also offers outdoor activities like fat biking and snow kite, ice skating and curling, and husky sledding.

Cortina Wellness Vasca - www.bandion.it

Lead image: Cortina, set in the Italian Dolomites | Credit: Cortina Marketing

To find out more about Cortina and Italy, visit: www.italia.it and/or visitaly.com.au

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This article is a LATTE exclusive and was prepared in partnership with ENIT – Italia National Tourist Board.

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