The Italian Dolomites

The Dolomites are a beautiful mountain range located in the north-east of Italy and are equally shared between the three provinces of Trentino, South Tyrol and Belluno. There is another smaller group called the Piccole Dolomiti close by and that is where I called home whilst I spent close to 20 years in Italy. The Dolomites are full of parks including one national park and has also been declared a natural heritage site by UNESCO.

Steeped in history, during the First World War the line between the Italian and Austro-Hungarian forces ran through the mountain range and many open air war museums can be visited such as Cinque Torri. Many people visit the area to climb the Vie Ferrate, protected paths also created during the First World War and also to trek the Alte Vie, long ‘high’ trails numbered 1 – 8 requiring at least a week to walk through and served by mountain huts along the way for refuge, the most nominated being the  Alta Via 1

The Dolomites are famous for skiing in the winter, (a subject close to my heart and which I shall return to in the autumn *watch this space*) and all kinds of sports in the summer months such as mountain climbing, hiking, cycling, base-jumping, para-gliding and hang gliding. Free climbing has been a tradition in the Dolomites since 1887 when 17 year old Georg Winkler conquisted the ascent of the pinnacle Die Vajolettürme!

Today I am going to concentrate on the Region of Trentino as I know it so well and for those who are not lovers of the sun, sand and sea holiday this could be the perfect alternative. Trentino is a huge favourite with the Italians themselves, many flock from the hot sticky towns in the height of summer in order to sleep at night in a cool environment, to enjoy the sun but in a fresher climate and to savour the sweet mountain air which of course works up quite an appetite. And if it’s food you’re worried about let me tell you hand on heart, you’ll be in your element, the menus are full of delicious options such as Strangolapreti (spinach gnocchi), or Gulash and polenta, a firm favourite from this part of the world. In fact watch out for the Polenta di patate which is sublime.

Are you a wine lover? Then this region is bursting with prize winning wines from the full bodied red San Leonardo, grown in the Adige Valley to the deliciously bubbly prosecco Ferrari. Some of my favourites are the Vallarom oaked Chardonnay, a Gaierhof Nosiola or a Barbanico made from one of my favourite cantina’s Balter Do look them up and see if they’re available close to you, they are delicious.

So where to go in Trentino? Well some may have already been as Riva del Garda at the top of Lake Garda is in Trentino and of course I must mention my old home town of Folgaria which I shall highlight properly one week but here are a few other places that are well worth a visit should I have tempted you; the Altopiani Cimbri , Madonna di Campiglio e Val Rendena, the Val di Non con Tuenno, Cles and Sarnonico. Here are some Travel organisers who specialise in the area from the UK and for more information make Visit Trentino your first stop.

This is my letter D for Jenny Matlock’s Alphabe Thursday where you can find plenty more interesting D’s to read