Pure Mountain Magic

The Dolomites are the absolute mecca for outdoor enthusiasts in Italy. Here are plenty of outdoor activities, and you see people of all ages practicing one of the most popular physical activities here, biking and hiking.

We tried various hiking trails over the span of a week+ and enjoyed some short steep walks, coupled with flat walks to more challenging mountain hikes with some significant elevation changes. Our trusted guide explains that it’s all about elevation challenges and not distance.

The region has a native culture “Ladins” and where we stayed in the Val Badia it is the third ethnic group protected by law. Ladino should not be confused with Ladino a Judeo-Spanish language, and is referred to as Ladino in German, but also spoken in Switzerland called Romanish where myths and legends were passed down verbally.

In an area of 100,000 acres, it is a breathtaking territory consisting of various mountainous terrain; lakes, rivers and huge blue skies are the background to some stunning towering peaks mixed with rolling green pastures and plenty of winding roads.

Alta Badia is a truly unique experience, and its here their ancient culture still exists making you feel as if you back in time. The history here is no less than the northern territories of Italy and it reminds me in some ways of the Kobarid valley.

Kobarid front of the First World War in the valley of Soča River was home to 12 battles between the Italians and the forces of the Austro-Hungarian empire between May 1915 and November 1917. A battlefield of extraordinary proportions, the exact death toll has never been established. While talk used to be of over a million, historians now say that at least 300,000 soldiers died in three years of fighting. source: wikipedia

Here too a torn territory once ruled by the Austrians and today the Italians, it is now a protected park bordering Austria. But the tragic history of the Dolomites was the World War I from 1915 to 1917 where the front line between Italian and Austro-Hungarian forces passed through the Dolomites excavating miles of long tunnels and bunkers in the mountains.

The warfare lasted almost 4 years and had a fatal ending for many soldiers, who died more often from hunger and cold than from fighting. Supply was difficult and in winter, the soldiers often had to wait for weeks without getting supplies. The casualties at both sides were enormous and the ending of the war as the border was finally fixed in 1919 between Austria and Italy.

The terrain is perfect for hiking, biking and skiing, or for simply taking in the spectacular nature that surrounds it. There are more than 1000km of trails to explore, certainly enough to keep any busy hiker active. The challenge for beginners is not as difficult as it looks, but never underestimate the danger of any mountain. I was speaking with a search and rescue expert, and he was clear that paying attention to mountain trails is not something to be taken lightly. It does happen that hikers perish by falling more than climbers.

The area is also home to several award-winning hotels and some local restaurants that serve gourmet cuisine such as the Rosa Alpina:http://www.rosalpina.it one of the most beautiful places we’ve seen. There is no doubt the hospitality here is supreme and second to none and if you have the time to go here – don’t miss the opportunity.

Categories: Cycles

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