Thursday, January 14, 2010


Several years ago, we went to Cortina d' Ampezzo, the super chic ski resort in the Italian Dolomite mountains for a winter ski vacation.  Growing up skiing in the northeast where frigid weather, icy mountains and cafeteria style food is re rigueur, I had high expectations for our visit.  After all, we're skiing in Italy! 

Nestled in the Ampezzo valley near Italy's northeastern border with Austria, Cortina is known for its stylish visitors, challenging skiing and amazing food. We stayed at the charming the Hotel Ancora, situated right in the center of the town square. I chose the hotel because of the charming bedrooms which featured hand painted murals and Tyrolian style furniture, with blue shuttered windows that opened to a commanding view of the spectacular Dolamite mountains. In true Italian style, we were treated like family by the hotel's proprietor, who knew our names and what we liked to drink by the end of our first night.

Skiing in Cortina is a civilized business.  After a leisurely breakfast, we hit the challenging slopes with our handsome guide Charley, who had grown up on the mountain and had spent several years teaching at Vale. The slopes are steep--but Charley guided us through even the most difficult runs and rewarded us with spaghetti Bolognese at one of the restaurants on the mountain.  I don't know if it was the exercise or bottle of Chianti--but that little restaurant served the best Bolognese!  By late afternoon we had all changed and made our way into the town square where the stylish apres-ski was in full swing. Little outdoor restaurants served espresso, beer and mini pizzas as the sun set over the mountains. Dinner, which was included with our room, was served in the hotels beautiful restaurant, which was filled with stylish families from Rome.  Five courses later, we returned to our room, exhausted and very full. Yes, there was a lot of eating going on--but we were in Italy!

We spent five magical days in Cortina during which my skiing improved dramatically (thanks Charlie) and I enjoyed some of the best regional dishes in Italy.  La Dolce Vita is definitely for me!

Cortina Town Square

Hotel Ancora

Sweet rooms

Hotel Ancora dining room

1 comment:

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