Alpenglow – A Guide to Alta BadiaInspiration
Alta Badia in the Dolomites
Produced in Partnership with South Tyrol
At sunset, a rare phenomenon happens. The Dolomites, rising through the region of Alta Badia, turn a delicate pink colour. The enrosadira, the Alpenglow, shifts from pink to orange to carmine – the Santa Croce is a peak especially renowned for its blaze of colour. At any time of day, the Alpine pastures, mountain peaks and evergreen forests take on atmospheric hues, an interplay of light and shadow forever dancing around the valleys. No wonder Le Corbusier called the Dolomites ‘the most beautiful natural architecture in the world’. And on a late summer evening, an aperitif in hand, few could argue.
Alta Badia, high in the Dolomites in the north of Italy, has a culture and landscape unlike anywhere in Europe. It is the home of the Ladin people, who have traditions and a language dating back thousands of years. To visit Alta Badia is to visit a location rich in culture, rich in mountain activities and, more than any other place in Italy, rich in gastronomic excellence; in an area of just 15km², an incredible six Michelin stars have been awarded.
During the winter, Alta Badia offers a ski area with direct connections to more than 500km of slopes, including the Gran Risa where Ski World Cup races are held each year. In summer, its jagged peaks and soft green pastures attract hikers, cyclists, and adventurous families.
Alta Badia is surrounded by pastures and high plateaus, sharp rock faces and picturesque Alpine villages. It all adds up to a beautiful place to hike. There are easy walks perfectly suited for families, longer hikes and trekking tours taking several days, as well as challenging rock climbs. One of the most pastoral hikes is to the sanctuary of La Crusc/S.Croce. The walk leads through the Armentara meadows, renowned for their abundance of flowers, and under the Sas dla Crusc mountain soaring far above you. The views extend from the Marmolada to the Grup dl Sela, from Puez-Odle to Pütia and out over Alta Badia’s green valley.
CYCLING THE MOUNTAINS
While hikers rhapsodise over the scenery, cyclists are emphatic: this is one of the best places to bring a bike in the Alps. Road cyclists may recognise the region from the Maratona dles Dolomites, the ‘queen’ of cyclosportives, a day-long ride crossing seven mountain passes. It’s one of the most prominent Italian Gran Fondo bicycle races. The event gathers some 9,000 cyclists and has more than 33,000 enrolment requests from all over the world. It’s one of several cycling events in Alta Badia, including the 51km Dolomites Bike Day and the Sellaronda Bike Day, both non-competitive, open to everyone, and with no need to register. The roads are closed for the races.
Most cyclists come to Alta Badia between June and September. Those who know the region, however, may also favour holidaying here from the end of May or up to mid-October – there’s less traffic on the roads, and you can fully enjoy the landscape and natural beauty.
WHERE THE MED MEETS THE ALPS
But if there’s one thing Alta Badia is known for more than the cycling, it’s the cuisine. In an area of just 15km², there are six shining Michelin stars. Two new stars were awarded to restaurants in Alta Badia in 2018. Norbert Niederkofler, chef of Restaurant St. Hubertus at Hotel Rosa Alpina in San Cassiano, earned a third star to join the select group of nine restaurants each with three stars in Italy. There was also good news for Matteo Metullio, who earned a second star. Originally from the Italian city Trieste, the Michelin-starred chef has been at the helm of the restaurant La Siriola at Hotel Ciasa Salares since the spring of 2013. A star was also awarded to the restaurant La Stüa de Michil at Hotel La Perla, headed by Nicola Laera, a native of this Ladin valley.
Yet it’s not only about fine dining. You can try high-quality dishes made with South Tyrol’s best ingredients at many mountain huts dotted around the mountains – food tastes even better once you’ve worked to get there. A series of events throughout the summer celebrate Alta Badia’s culinary excellence. Sommelier in the Mountain Hut, taking place throughout July and August, brings the region’s best wines for an afternoon of tasting and pairing. Dinner Under the Stars is a one-off event where a long table is set up in front of the steps of the church of San Leonardo, Badia. Book through the Alta Badia tourist offices.
Alta Badia is more than the mountains and more than the food. Taking a holiday here is to open up the finest of the Alps, whether it’s cycling trails or hiking paths, spa breaks or foodie excursions. Bringing all these aspects together, among these high peaks, is an unforgettable experience.
Produced in partnership with South Tyrol. For further information visit: altabadia.org/dolomites-unesco