Italian land and nature: Italy's Peaks and Pinnacles

Feb 20, 2015 486

WTI Magazine #54    2015 February, 20
Author : italia.it      Translation by:

 

In all its territorial variety, Italy boasts a large number of beautiful and evocative mountain localities, ideal for visiting any time of year, whether summer or winter. From north to south, the Italian mountain scene offers tourists a range of landscapes: lakes at high altitutude, incredible forests, enchanting villages and borgoes rich in history, traditions and, of course, gastronomic pleasures.

Sports, fun and relaxation marry themselves perfectly well in a mountain vacation in the Bel Paese, both amidst snow or in the conditions of fairer seasons.

From the charming zones of Carnia, Piancavallo and Tarvisio (nestled in the Friulian Dolomites), and via the ski communities of Trentino Alto Adige – Val di Fassa, Val Gardena and Val Badia (making up part of "Dolomiti Superski", the largest ski district in the entire world) - one will arrive at the well-known sites of Cortina d'Ampezzo and Madonna di Campiglio.


Moving west, one encounters the imposing Alps of Lombardy: the Valtellina zone, containing Livigno, one of the highest-latitude municipalities in all of Italy, and Bormio, famous for having hosted the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup in 1985 and 2005, in conjunction with Santa Caterina Valfurva, the main ski resort in the same-named valley.

Touching the bases of the highest peaks of Europe – in Valle d'Aosta, on the border with France – one will find, at the feet of Mont Blanc, the glitzy resorts of Courmayeur, Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, and La Salle and La Thuile.

Along the French border, in Val Susa, rises the delightful Via Lattea or "Milky Way," featuring Sauze d'Oulx, Cesana and Bardonecchia – where the ski life really began when the Agnelli Family began to build the first establishments in the area of Sestriere in the 1930s.

Moving down along the Peninsula, one will be greeted by the Tuscan-Emilian Appenines, which contain the famous Abetone. Like nearby Monte Amiata and the summits in the Monti Sibillini National Park (in the Marches), Abetone is one of the most frequented ski destinations in central Italy.


Nonetheless, the most visited Italian mountain zone is that of Gran Sasso, the highest chain in the mainland Appenines; its best-known ski locations are Campo Imperatore, Campo Felice and the outer hedges of the Campo Pericoli Basin.

Heading further south, one finds the Parco Nazionale del Pollino, Sila and Aspromonte, which stands between the regions of Basilicata and Calabria. This park harmoniously unites winter sports with pristine nature.

An ideal Italian mountain itinerary also comprises a trek on Mt. Etna, the tallest volcano in Europe, at 3,343 meters (10,968 feet) high. From its heights, one can steal a glimpse at the breathtaking Taormina, the Straits of Messina and the Aeolian Islands. Taking in some sport on the snow or enjoying a summer time excursion is truly a special experience when done on the slopes of Etna!

The larger part of Italy's mountain retreats also invite visitors to experience a wide array of cultural and outdoor activities each season: ski, alpine skiing, snowboarding, trekking and Nordic walking, mountain biking... not to mention excellent structures for ice skating, swimming, tennis, horseback riding... the list just goes on!

Keep in mind the vast range of offers available for accommodation and lodging based on type – from those adapted for families or romantic getaways, to those that focus primarily on wellness and thermal spa treatments, where relaxation is king. No matter which category you choose, you are guaranteed to be surrounded by nature in all its beauty – and probably a mountain trail or two - in case you decide to take on some hiking activity, or merely just a pleasant stroll.

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