Sea or mountains? That’s one of the classic questions that affect the choices of any family, couple or group of friends. It seems that at the basis of the choice there is also a factor linked to “personality”: the University of Virginia (USA) conducted a series of five psychological experiments through a total of 613,000 questionnaires, confirming – apparently – that people living in the mountains tend towards more introversion than those living by the sea.
In reality, from our point of view, the choice between sea and mountains for summer holidays should be based only on the type of experience you want to have on vacation. Want to relax? Perhaps enjoy local specialties, a spa, massages and unparalleled wellness centers? Or would you prefer an adventurous holiday, full of movement and sports – even extreme?
Ok, we’re biased: our opinion, however, is that the Dolomites perfectly encompass both of these aspects, permitting the harmonious co-existence of alternative characteristics. Relaxation and sport, recreation and adrenaline, everything seasoned with traditions, history and taste.
In Cortina D’Ampezzo, all that is exalted to the nth degree, and enriched by the following exclusive aspects:
Nature and Sport
Passo Giau, Lake Sorapiss, the “outdoor museum” of the five towers, the Tofane, Monte Cristallo, the Fanes waterfalls, the Federa and Pianozes lakes, the Val Travenanzes, Pomagnon, Croda da Lago, are just some of the natural interest points that only the Dolomiti Ampezzane can offer: an incomparable nature, reposing in the Regional Natural Park of the Ampezzo Dolomites.
The real luxury of Cortina lies in the possibility of actively living this incredible nature, through tours, climbing, mountain and downhill biking, cable cars and also more extreme sports such as canyoning, paragliding, rafting, climbing, trail running (more than 475 km and 18 routes of trail running in Cortina d’Ampezzo). Consider that only in the Natural Park of the Ampezzo Dolomites are there 9 integral reserves and 11 oriented reserves, covering 25% of protected area.
Read our tips for climbing, hiking in the Dolomites and mountain bike trails.
The history of Italy (and Europe) passes through the Belluno Dolomites, the scene of fierce clashes between Austria and Italy; you can still visit numerous signs of the past. Trenches, bivouacs and camps from World War I, military architecture such as the Tre Sassi Fort, Botestagno Castle, Zanna Castle and the Military Shrine of Pocol, along with several museums, are all places that can be found around Cortina, which have the delicate task of transmitting the difficulties and memory of those years.
Not to mention the discovery of the Mondeval man, immediately named “the oldest known mountain man”: the skeleton of this prehistoric man was discovered almost by accident in 1987, at 2200 meters of altitude. It was a hunter who lived approximately 7,000 years ago, found alongside his tools and ornaments.
Mountains excellently dissipates stress. In addition to classic spa treatments, there is a particularly popular type of massage… in fact, more than massage it is a true and proper rite: Hatma Essence, a relaxing ritual with oil and warm cloths. The treatment begins with a total body massage, proceeding with the application of hot cloths for almost an hour, along the whole body. The result is like an enveloping and secure buoyancy.
What are the effects?
Free and light joints, all tension disappearing, along with pain; the muscles relax, coming into a state of harmony; a subtle flow is activated, the mind changing along with the body. The Hatma Essence massage is the result of a synergy between Eastern tradition and Western technique, an anti-stress ritual that promotes good sleep and sweetly elasticizes the body and mind.
There is not just nature, of course: Cortina – since the Winter Olympics of ’56 – has always been synonymous with the good life, shopping and appetizers along the Corso Italia, but also the pleasures of the table: dumplings, strudels, spatzle, polenta in a thousand forms and sweets without end. We recently spoke of bacon, polenta and all the delicacies of the woods and pastures of Ampezzo…
Yeah, well … do you know what you will choose for us this summer, between the sea and mountains?