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  • Writer's pictureVanessa Valenti

Hiking among the Dolomiti d’Ampezzo and Tre Cime di Lavaredo

Exactly in the same days as last year we went back to the mountains. This time we moved further east, choosing the area of ​​the Ampezzo Dolomites and Tre Cime di Lavaredo, which we approached last year but which we were unable to see. The period is the same as in 2020, mid-October which, despite what everyone says, in my opinion is ideal: wonderful weather, like last year, never a rainy day, indeed, an exceptional sun and heat, plus, being out of season, there are very few people and the prices are really low compared to the standard. Obviously some hotels, shops and restaurants are closed for the seasonal break, but honestly we hardly noticed it. The only thing to keep in mind during this period is that most of the refuges on the trails are closed, so always remember to bring some food during your treks.

The hotel is located in Vito di Cadore, a 10-minute drive from Cortina d'Ampezzo ❥ price on € 263 for two (booked at the beginning of August) I made a reservation for this hotel without too many demands, just wanting to save money being able to spend a long weekend in the mountains, near Cortina. Once we arrived there, we were speechless. Beautiful structure, very typical, warm and welcoming, well-kept and at the same time modern: the rooms (if desired there are also apartments) have a rustic design with parquet floors, LCD TV with satellite channels and private bathroom. The price included a very rich buffet breakfast, with typical products, both sweet and savory. The hotel also has a pastry shop (accessible directly from inside the hotel), and at breakfast the baked goods and desserts were exceptional.

Always included in the price there were some snacks, served from 3 to 6 pm, with a selection of sweet and savory products. If desired, there is also a lounge bar within the structure. For €15 each (for customers) we enojoyed the wellness area, with two beautiful saunas, a Turkish bath, a relaxation area and two cold showers. In addition, upon arrival we were given two cards for restaurants and affiliated activities with discounts of 5 and 10%. Wifi and large private parking on site available free of charge. The hotel provides ski rental service and a ski pass office, packed lunches available for € 7 per person. Super friendly and helpful staff, very attentive to every need. A wonderful discovery, highly recommended.

Day 1 - Saturday the 16th, October

- Cortina

We left from home early Saturday morning and we arrived in Cortina at 10:30 am for a quiet city tour. We found parking easly (in this period free) and we headed on foot to the center, walking among the shops and the alleys. We stopped at the Embassy Bar to immediately get rid of two cravings we had been having for a while: Sacher and Apple Strudel. With a full stomach we then left for the first excursion of the weekend, a not too demanding trek, to start.

The round trip is of medium level, but suitable for everyone, a bit challenging only the uphill stretch to get to Lake Federa, where you will also find the Croda da Lago Refuge, which was open. The landscapes are splendid, and very varied, and once you reach the lake you are breathless: wonderful, with crazy colors. I suggest you go in the morning, when we arrived the sun was already beyond the mountain, making the view a little dark and less bright. After the trekking we finally headed to the hotel for the check in and after having rested and settled down we went out for dinner in one of the restaurants affiliated with the hotel (always book in advance, even between the week and out of season, because it is often full and not all facilities are open).

- Rifugio Alpe di Senes, San Vito di Cadore

We dined at this refuge, one of the few still not fully booked, at the advice of our hotel staff. The place is very simple and easy-going, nothing particular, but still typical, and the owner is very kind and helpful, she was very interested in our holiday and gave us somegood advice on the various things to visit. We ordered a platter of mixed cold cuts as an appetizer, polenta and goulash for me, polenta with mushrooms, grilled sausage and cheese for Enrico and two beers. We spent a total of € 60 with a 10% discount thanks to the hotel card. It was all good, but nothing exceptional..

Day 2 - Sunday the 17th, October

Sunday morning wake up early to leave at a good pace with the trekking of the day, but only after a rich buffet breakfast at the hotel to get off on the right foot. The first stop of the day was the Fanes waterfalls.

The path to the viewpoint on the waterfall is very simple, almost all flat, and not so exciting, but the it's really worth once you reach the falls: for those who feel it, you can go down to the foot of the waterfall down a path with a lot of steps, at the end of which there are about ten meters of pseudo-ferrata, absolutely feasible without equipment, which will take you right to the base. I strongly advise you to go all the way, because the view is breathtaking. If you have the equipment you can continue the route with the safeguarded climb and go beyond the waterfall, but we went back on the same path. Back to the car we then moved on for the second trek of the day to the Cinque Torri.

- Trekking: Cinque Torri 7km

The path to reach these famous peaks starts at the base of a cable car, with a first piece in the woods followed by about 1km on a paved road. Don't be fooled by this first part, not too exciting, because the rest makes up for it. From the paved road you will take the path of the trenches, which will take you through the trenches and some places of the Great War, until you reach the base of the Cinque Torri, which will literally leave you speechless, a unique spectacle. From here you continue towards the refuge, which will give you a splendid view of the valley and the Towers. From here, if it works, you can return to the car park by cable car, otherwise go down on foot. In total there are about 7km, nothing too demanding. After these two wonderful outings, we went back to the hotel, where we booked access to the wellness area, allowing ourselves some well-deserved rest before going out for dinner.

- Birreria da Bauce, San Vito di Cadore

This evening too we chose a restaurant among those affiliated with the hotel: a very friendly but typical place, kind and friendly staff, ideal for enjoying grilled specialties. Here we gave vent to our desire for meat and ordered a pork shank (1kg) with rustic fried potatoes, Ciccio ribs always with potatoes, 1.8l of beer and to top it off the usual Sacher and an apple strudel for a total of 55 € with 10% discount. Really excellent value for money and delicious food. Really recommended, even just for an after dinner beer.

Day 3 - Monday the 18th, October

Monday trekking to the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, so we woke up early, a hearty breakfast and headed towards the Natural Park. Entrance to the park is subject to a fee, € 30 per car: there is also the chance to go by foot for free, but from the entrance to the Auronzo refuge, there are about 5km. In summer, the queue to enter is always long, and it happens that, due to the large turnout, they have to close the entrance. In this period we had not any problems and we entered without problems by car, parking at the Auronzo Refuge. From here we chose to take a different route than the usual one around the peaks. What we did is definitely not a path suitable for families: 18km with a lot of climbing, and some points were steep, icy and with a nice overhang on the side. The view is breathtaking, at every point of the route: there was very little snow, only very high up, and we passed by the Laghi dei Piani behind the Locatelli Refuge, truly splendid and with very special colors. Before descending towards the base of the peaks we also managed to find the famous caves from which to admire the Tre Cime: they are definitely worth a small detour.

- El Brite de Larieto, Cortina d'Ampezzo

For our last dinner, we made a reservation in Cortina D’Ampezzo: a splendid farmhouse open for both lunch and dinner, which produces many typical products. The location is wonderful, typical all in wood, very accurate and welcoming, definitely an intimate place and also a little romantic. Here we started with a mixed platter of cheeses and cold cuts produced by them, served with various types of bread and butter of their production. Following a selection of delicious dumplings for me, and for Enrico a cheese fondue, all accompanied by two glasses of wine. To conclude, the inevitable homemade apple strudel, perhaps the best eaten this weekend, for a total of € 80 for two, but I guarantee you that the quality-quantity-price ratio is absolutely excellent. It was my favorite place, if you are in the area you can't miss it.

Day 4 - Tuesday the 19th, October

Last day in the mountains, with departure to go back home expected in the middle of the afternoon, but we could not miss a last trek.

- Trekking: Lago di Sorapis 217 11,5km

We decided to reach Lake Sorapiss even though several people advised us against it, as in autumn it empties completely and does not transmit the same magic as in summer. What can I say to you? Luckily we didn't listen to anyone and went anyway: the lake is wonderful, even if partially empty and completely frozen. The colors and the view remain splendid, in any season, so don't be scared and go! I warn you, there are two paths to reach the lake, we chose the 217, which after a rather simple and flat first stretch, includes a pretty tough climb, not so much for the slope itself, but because the path is quite steep: full of logs, roots and boulders, in some places I had to climb. However, it is doable without much preparation, if you can, take your chopsticks with you which help a lot, even in the most slippery sections.

For more information about the routes, click on various treks, an overview of each one will open on wikiloc, from there you can also follow them live once there. Well I'd say it's time to wish you a good journey, and a good journey!

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