But WaitThere's More
Find other great ideas in these related stories:
- The World's Best Hiking Trails ›
- Slope to Table ›
- The Last Wild Place ›
- 11 Hard-to-Get-to Hotels ›
- Last-Minute Escapes: Beach Vacations ›
- New Zealand's Otherworldly Landscapes ›
- Adventures That Give Back ›
- World's Sexiest Fitness Retreats ›
- How to Vacation Like Indiana Jones ›
- Extreme Sports for Spectators ›
- Comeback Destinations for Experienced Travelers ›
Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
Once the preferred winter playground for Agnellis and other members of the jet set-era Italian cognoscenti, Cortina remains one of Europe's most stylish skiing destinations. Surrounded by the pink-capped Dolomite Mountains, the site of the 1956 Winter Olympics brings a dash of the dolce vita to winter sporting.
10:00 AM Fashionably Late
Make your base on the boutique-lined Corso Italia at the 49-room Hotel Ancora (62 Corso Italia; 39-0436-3261, fax 39-0436-3265), which is filled with elegant Italian antiques collected personally by owner Flavia Bertozzi. Awake late and have a quick café and a cornetto at the hotel before heading out into the Cortina scene.
11:00 AM Inclined to Ski?
On one extreme there are the mountains—where skiers can aim high (on the Tofana slopes), low (bunny skiing on Socrepes), or opt for more pastoral pursuits, such as dogsledding, snow-rafting, and skijoring, a sort of horse-drawn skiing. (The aptly named Cortina Adrenalin Center is a great school for first-timers, whether you're looking to ski, sled, or snowraft.) At the other extreme is the time-honored Italian tradition of the passeggiata—the daily promenade along the Corso to see, be seen (in your Milanese finest), shop (Gucci, Prada), and chat on the latest 3G cell phone. A well-organized local shuttle bus network makes life easy for both skiers and shoppers.
2:00 PM A Civilized Lunch
Enjoy a long and leisurely bite at Ristorante Vienna (Alverá 225; 39-0436-868568), a low-key, reasonably priced pizzeria and pasteria close to the Corso. (Forget about your low-carb diet; this is Italy.)
4:00 PM Souvenir-Hunting
Afternoons mean a nap and perhaps a spot of antique shopping at Falegnameria Bellodis (Alverá 225; 39-0436-868568), for fine wooden furnishings, followed by another preprandial parade along the Corso.
8:00 PM Refined Tastes
Cortina evenings begin slow and late, with an extended apertivo at Enoteca (Via del Mercato 5; 39-0436-862040), the city's top wine bar, before a Michelin-starred meal at the romantic Ristorante Tivoli (34 Via Lacedel; 39-0436-866400). Set in a hillside chalet, the Tivoli experience starts with handmade pastas and foie gras with cherry sauce followed by Alpine specialties such as roast deer with porcini mushrooms in a raspberry vinegar reduction.
WHO SHOULD GO:
Families, foodies, and fashion fans. Although it lures the likes of Naomi Campbell, Cortina's laid-back, traditional-styled atmosphere is perfect for more relaxed types, too. In fact, there's little pressure to actually ski for travelers looking to merely maximize together time.
Italy itself—not only is there top food, wine, and shopping, Cortina is only two hours drive from Venice and close to the charming towns along Lake Como and Lake Maggiore.
A ski safari in the expansive Sella Ronda—a circuit of five challenging passes through the Dolomites.