The Dolomites

The Dolomites, a beautiful mountain range in northern Italy, were just superb. I don’t know if I have ever seen more beautiful peaks. As we returned home via Switzerland I found the Swiss Alps lacking after our time in the Dolomites. They are rocky and there are huge rock faces jutting up into the sky. They were a short drive from Venice and on our first day driving through some magnificant passes it started raining and most of our view was blocked by clouds and mist but when it cleared up the next day we were just blown away with the beauty.

We stayed in the beautiful village of Castelrotto, full of ambience and wonderfully painted buildings.

Our really great hotel which has been in service for 800 years if you can believe it. It had a Swiss or Austrian feel. In fact, German is spoken in this area of Italy and I often forgot which country I was in. If WWII hadn’t happened I think this part of Italy would be in Austria.

I saw quite a few sculptures of witches here as it apparantly was once the home of many witches who had their own Salem type occurence when many of them were executed. I thought about buying a cute kitchen witch-there were many for sale-but didn’t.

As you might imagine, there is a lot of skiing in this area but it is also known for its hiking. Here is a photo of the map showing the hiking trails. We actually spent one day hiking on a beautiful sunny day and, luckily for me, it wasn’t all uphill although I did find myself doing that donkey way of climbing, sort of zig zagging back and forth to make it to the top of a steep slope now and then. We took a bus from our hotel to a nearby village, then a gondola to midpoint up a mountain before we finally started our hike. We were gone about five hours and I was very glad to get back to the hotel, take off my seldom used hiking boots and get in a hot tub.

Just one of many photos I took on the hike. We stopped for lunch at a hut and met some nice people. A cute group of men ordered some grappa-a very strong liquor-and sang a little song as a toast before drinking it. We had our own little bottle of a local poire william which we drank at one point. It seems so cool to drink something like that when you are on top of a mountain.

6 thoughts to “The Dolomites”

  1. I would love to go hiking there and I’ll have to hide your blog from my husband. His grandparents are from northern Italy, but when they came over in early 1900s, they had to give up allegiance to the Austrian government. They never talked about their home country so it wasn’t until the past five years or so we learned that it was really northern Italy. His cousins own a ski resort there. Gorgeous.

  2. One of my Swiss ancestors is alleged to have employed the last Swiss witch as a nanny a few hundred years ago.
    Love the village, and your 800 yr old hotel which is very 21st century, with their website address part of the decorative wall painting.
    A beautiful region!

  3. Were you near Val Gardena? I skied there some years ago. Beautiful country. That area, up above Bolzano (Bozen to the Germans), was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire and went to Italy after WW I, I believe.

    I remember there being lots of blond ski instructors who spoke Italian with German accents and were named Hans. 🙂

  4. Beautiful photos, Linda! Hotel still looks lovely. Did you get any pictures of the men in the village with the blue aprons and cute hats?

  5. Such a beautiful area, and it is hard to imagine sleeping in a hotel that has been around for 800 years! I know that my German cousin has several of those witches in her house, suppose to keep out the evil spirits I believe!

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