Truly Unique Mountains
On June 26th 2009, the Dolomites have become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This status was awarded for their uniquely beautiful landscape and because of the scientific importance of their geology and geo-morphology. The Dolomites are listed as “serial property” because – despite their size and diversity – the entire range is to be considered like a single unit.
This extraordinary “fossil archipelago” consist of nine areas spread over five Italian provinces (Bolzano/South Tyrol, Trento/Trentino, Belluno, Udine, Pordenone), although the Province of Belluno is home to the greatest number of these magnificent peaks. Within this framework, Cadore is an area of outstanding natural beauty whose history and traditions are kept brilliantly alive by the local people – a truly unique heritage to delight the more discerning visitors in search of an original, spellbinding experience.
Skiing in Cadore
The ski area of San Vito di Cadore – together with Auronzo, Misurina and the famous slopes of Cortina d’Ampezzo – make up a vast paradise for skiers, which is part of the ‘Dolomiti Superski’ zone: 140 km in all of slopes, and just one ski pass needed to ski wherever you wish in the area. You can also take a well-earned break in one of the many cosy mountain refuges (Rifugio) scattered along the slopes. Those who would like to learn or improve their snowboarding, downhill or Telemark skiing techniques can attend the San Vito di Cadore and Auronzo-Misurina ski schools, with 50 instructors between them.
Perfect Peace and Exercise in an Enchanted World
Cadore is an ideal place for lovers of cross-country skiing. Palus San Marco is the site of the historic Somadida spruce forest (‘Foresta di Somadida’) – the largest wooded area in Cadore, which in winter is a hub for its many cross-country circular ski trails with varying degrees of difficulty, some of which are even lit up for people who fancy a night-time skiing adventure. Lorenzago di Cadore has some cross-country skiing circuits from 2,5 to 5 km long, equipped with lighting and snow machines. The mountain pass of Passo Cibiana (1,530 m) is home to one of the most magical cross-country ski routes in the region, the so-called ‘Deona’, with circuits from 2,5 to 7 km long, which can also be skied at night. For beginners there is also the “La Graes” trail in San Vito di Cadore, where you can ski along the banks of the River Boite, with stunning views over Monte Antelao (3,263 m).
Cadore for Kids
In Cadore extra care has always been taken to meet the needs of families and of the youngest visitors. Kids who want to have a go at skiing can make use of Cadore’s specially equipped spaces, such as the nursery slopes on Monte Agudo (1,573 m) above Auronzo – which also have a special baby ski-lift – or the ‘Nevesole’ Park in San Vito di Cadore, where kids can learn to ski in perfect safety and also have fun with snow-tubing, bob-sleigh and sled runs. Wintertime in Cadore offers something exciting to suit every taste: you can watch rumbustious ice-hockey matches at the Auronzo and Pieve di Cadore ice-rinks; you can learn to drive a sled pulled by Siberian husks at the ‘Athabaska’ sled-dog centre in San Vito di Cadore or you can sample the goose-bump thrill of driving a go-kart on ice at Palus San Marco.
Cadore for Fun and Relaxation
Cadore offers plenty of trails to follow with the snow shoes (here known as ‘ciaspe’), while delighting in the perfect peace of the landscape. Ski-mountaineering fans have a number of routes at their disposal, from the Tre Cime to the Antelao; from Piani di Ciauta in Borca di Cadore to Taulà dei Ciampe. You can also take trips on a snow-mobile, transporting you up to the traditional mountain refuges known as ‘baite’ – maybe for a delicious lunch or dinner. If after a meal you are after some more fun, you can still whizz downhill on a bob-sleigh or sled. For our visitors who want to pamper themselves, Cadore offers superbly equipped health and beauty spas for a really relaxing stay in the Dolomites.
Cadore Lakes’ Tour
The whole region of Cadore is studded with lakes. For example, you can take a pleasant walk along the edge of Lake Misurina (Lago di Misurina), with the iconic Tre Cime as a backdrop. As you go down towards Auronzo, you encounter the lake of the same name (Lago di Auronzo), with its very popular pedestrian paths and cycle lanes that snake around its edges, which is the regular setting for a number of major sport events throughout the year (especially canoeing and power-boats). Between the built-up areas of Pieve di Cadore and Lozzo di Cadore you will also find the Lago di Centro Cadore – starting point for a large number of trails that lead right up into the neighbouring peaks.
The ‘Laghetto delle Tose’ in Calalzo di Cadore is yet another small jewel in this area’s crown, where you can sunbathe in the little beach or wander among the woods, while following a stream of the purest mineral water. The tour of the lakes ends in the Boite Valley, with the Lago di Valle (an artificial basin) and, in San Vito di Cadore, the spellbinding scenery of the Mosigo reservoir (Lago di Mosigo, also artificial). To these must be added the tiny glacial lakes that can be found when walking in altitude, some of them visible only after snowmelt and in summer.
Summer Fun and Excitement
In Auronzo di Cadore, at the Monte Agudo ski-lifts, the ‘Fun Bob’ awaits you: this is a bob-sleigh run on rails, hurtling down what in winter is a downhill ski slope. It is a 3 km long run that can be covered in just 15 minutes – which makes the Auronzo fun-bob one of the longest and most famous trails of its kind in the whole of Europe. Also, don’t miss out on a visit to the ‘Happy Park’ in Borca di Cadore and the ‘Adrenalin Park’ by the Cibiana Pass (1,530 m): these are amusement Parks especially equipped for children, for long days of outdoors fun in delightful natural surroundings.
Hiking and More Besides
The Dolomites of Cadore are an ideal destination for hiking addicts, who can explore these wonderful landscapes in total safety with the support of skilled Alpine and nature guides. Cadore offers a multitude of choices for those who prefer something a little less energetic too: the trails at Casera Razzo (1,830 m) in Vigo di Cadore; the footpaths of Lorenzago – much loved also by Pope John Paul II –; the Nature Trail ‘Tita Poa’ and the uplands of Pian de’ Buoi above Lozzo di Cadore are all relatively easy possibilities. If you are looking for a new way to experience life in the mountains, Cadore also offers you some thirty fully mapped Nordic walking trails, full details of which can be found on the interactive website: http://www.magicoveneto.it/trekking/nordic-walking.htm. Professional guides will accompany visitors on the trails to show them how to get the maximum physical and mental benefit from Nordic walking.
Cycling Along the ‘Lunga Via delle Dolomiti’
The ‘Lunga Via delle Dolomiti’ (Long Way of the Dolomites) is a footpath and cycle track that links Lienz (in East Tyrol, Austria) to Calalzo di Cadore, passing by way of San Candido, Dobbiaco and Cortina. The stretch of this route through Cadore is immersed in a landscape of unparalleled natural beauty, dominated by towering Dolomites' peaks. From Calalzo di Cadore to Valle di Cadore there are many well-lit tunnels, making this part of the route particularly atmospheric as it meanders along with steady gradients and wide bends, interspersed with disused railway stations built in the typical Alpine Liberty style. During the summer a “Bike ’n’ Bus” service operates, making it possible to take the bike with you on the bus to reach different sections of the cycle lane.
Cadore is a Titian
Pieve di Cadore is the historical and social capital of the Cadore region, but it is most famous for being the birthplace of one of the greatest of all Renaissance painters: Titian. You can visit the house where the master – here known as Tiziano Vecellio – was born, right by the square named after him (‘Piazza Tiziano’). Cadore is the cradle of the Italian optical industry, and the town is home to a museum dedicated to eyeglasses and optical aids, with over 3,000 items tracing back the history and the technological development of this accessory.
Cadore boasts also some major archaeological sites: from the one known as Lagole – where remains dating back to the Palaeo-Venetian age and civilization have been found – to the site at Pelmetto, where famous dinosaur footprints can be seen; from Mondeval, where a burial site from the Mesolithic era was discovered (the finds are exposed at the Archaeological Museum Vittorio Cazzetta in Selva di Cadore) to Monte Calvario, near Auronzo, with the remains of an ancient shrine dating back to the 2nd century BC. A visit to Cibiana di Cadore is also a must: this has become known as the “village that paints its history”, for the wonderful murals made by many well-known artists that adorn the houses.
A Taste of the Mountains
The delicious rustic cuisine of Cadore is based on simple, authentic ingredients. First courses include the ‘casunzei’ – half moon-shaped ravioli filled with either red beetroot or potato, and seasoned with melted butter, smoked ricotta and poppy seeds; the ‘canederli’, bread dumplings served either plain or stuffed with mushrooms; the ‘dufa’ – a hearty soup of barley or beans – and finally the typical ‘gnocchi’, garnished with a rich sauce. Game and charcuterie – such as the celebrated ‘Speck’ (smoked ham) from Cadore – dominate the second courses, as well as cheeses served with vegetables, like the famous Vinigo cabbage (‘Cavolo di Vinigo’), or the irresistible polenta. Desserts include the ‘zopes’, the ‘peta’ and the ‘crafin a la sanvidota’ (all local dishes), as well as the more classical Apple Strudel and fritters. A delicious lunch or dinner just has to be rounded off with a fiery local grappa or a liquor flavoured with mountain herbs – especially if it is digestive Gentian or balsamic Mountain (‘Mugo’) pine.
Pieve di Cadore: The Small Ancient Capital of Cadore
When coming to the region from the south, Pieve di Cadore is the natural gateway giving access to the Dolomites’ heartland – an area of outstanding natural beauty, now part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Birth town of the painter Titian, Pieve di Cadore owns a rare historical and cultural heritage: the birth house of Titian; the “Palazzo of the Magnifica Comunità di Cadore” – with its Archaeological Museum – and the important Eyeglass Museum (‘Museo dell’Occhiale’). From the summit of nearby Monte Ricco, visitors can admire views over the Lago di Centro Cadore that mirror the most mysterious and wild mountains – from the Spalti di Toro (2,437 m) to the south to the famous Marmarole (2,932 m) to the north (also painted by Titian). Monte Ricco also hosts two old forts, one of which has recently been restored (it will be turned into a new exhibition space in the near future); from both, amazing views open up over the Piave and Boite valleys.
Not far from the lake, towards Calalzo di Cadore, there are the mineral springs of Lagole, site of an ancient Venetic sanctuary consecrated to the healing properties of the local waters. For those who love hiking, several easy trails are on offer, linking Pieve di Cadore with the hamlets of Nebbiù, Pozzale, Tai and Sottocastello (these are succintly described below), whereas more difficult paths will bring you to the Antelao lodge (Rifugio Antelao, 1,796 m) and the outstanding natural terrace of Vedorcia (Casera Vedorcia, 1,704 m).
Pieve di Cadore also hosts one the most spectacular cycle lanes of Italy: the so-called ‘Lunga Via delle Dolomiti’ (Long Way of the Dolomites) – a 37 km long descent that takes one from Cortina d’Ampezzo to Calalzo di Cadore, which the visitors can ride with their bikes while enjoying views over the most beautiful peaks of the Dolomites, amongst which are the Tofane (3,244 m), Pelmo (3,168 m), Sorapis (3,205 m) and Antelao (3,263 m) – ‘King of the Dolomites’.
The ‘Santuario del Cristo di Valcalda’ (‘Sanctuary of the Christ of Valcalda'), with its beautiful wooden Crucifix – one of the most precious items in the local heritage – is along the main road that connects Pieve di Cadore with Tai. For those who wish to explore other treasures of religious architecture, a visit to the church of San Lorenzo (St. Lawrence) in Sottocastello – with its ligneous decorations – is also suggested. In Nebbiù, instead, the findings of an ancient religious building dedicated to San Bartolomeo (St. Bartholomew) can be seen in an enclosure; this church also used to host a polyptych by Antonio Rosso, which is now at the Jacquemart-André Museum in Paris. The church of San Candido in Tai hosts three paintings by Cesare Vecellio – cousin and associate of the more famous Titian, and belonging to the same family; they lay on prestigious wooden altars, finely carved and painted. In Pozzale, the church of San Tommaso (St. Thomas) exhibits a precious polyptych by Carpaccio, situated near the high altar; the sculptor Besarel carved out the latter according to drawings by Segusini. Finally, it is also worth reaching the summit of San Dionisio (St. Dionysus; 1,900 m), where the homonymous tiny chapel is situated, in a site that offers one of the most suggestive views in the entire area.
Walks and Hikes
The charm of the Dolomites is still contained within its ancestral forests, found along the routes that have been covered since ancient times; therefore, hiking through and around these woods – and the villages nearby – is the best way to discover the authentic feel of this land. Here are some suggestions for easy hikes in the area (Please note: the numbers refer to a handy map that can be collected free from the local tourist offices).
From Pieve di Cadore
- Route 1: ‘Roccolo’ Park – S. Alipio. From the centre of Pieve di Cadore, a level road among woodlands of beech, larch and silver fir leads to a panoramic terrace above the Lago di Centro Cadore. Required time: approx. 20 minutes – difficulty: easy, suitable to all abilities, including strollers and wheelchairs.
- Route 2: The forts of Monte Ricco. From the centre of Pieve di Cadore, beyond the Titian’s house, via Calvi (to the left) leads to the old military forts of Monte Ricco and Monte Castello, on a slight slope. It goes through marvelous century-old woods with centenary beech. Required time: approx. 40 minutes – difficulty: easy.
- Route 3: ‘Roccolo’ Tour. Going up towards the Calvi monument, take the direction of the fort (as in Route 2), then turn right at the first hairpin bend. From the pathway, it is possible to get glimpses of the Lago di Centro Cadore and the dam at Sottocastello. It is also possible to circumvent Monte Roccolo to reach the homonymous park. Required time: approx. 40 minutes – difficulty: easy.
- Route 4: the ‘ville’ area. After going up from Pozzale towards the Antelao lodge through via Sopracolle, at the end of this road a white and shaded level track offers some spectacular views over the Lago di Centro Cadore (by continuing, one can reach the ex-Prapiccolo lodge). Required time: approx. 45 minutes – difficulty: easy; suitable to all abilities, including strollers and wheelchairs.
- Route 5: the ‘High panoramic’. From Pozzale, take via Col Contras until the end, then keep on the path to the right side. Go across the beech wood, continue beyond the dilapidated barrack and reach Nebbiù through the woodland. The return route can be made by public transport. Required time: approx. 1 h 30 minutes – difficulty: medium.
- Route 6: The ‘Low panoramic’. From Pieve di Cadore go towards the church of the Christ (‘Santuario del Cristo’), then take via Belvedere (on the right). At the end of the road, keep walking on the main mule-track until the former firing ground to reach Nebbiù (as in Route 5). The return route can be made by public transport. Required time: approx. 1 h 30 minutes – difficulty: medium.
- Route 7 and 7a: The forts of Monte Zucco. From Piazzale Dolomiti in Tai take via Manzago and keep going on the main road until reaching a fountain (‘Fontana dal Sas’), where there is also a rest area. Further on is the fort of Col Vaccher; from there, it is possible to take the ring leading to the former powder storehouse. Required time: approx. 1 h – difficulty: medium.
- Route 8: The dam and ‘Miralago’. From Sottocastello, a tarred road (not busy) descends slightly and leads to the imposing dam before continuing along the lake, until a chalet where it is possible to sunbathe and restore oneself. Required time: approx. 1 h – difficulty: easy; suitable to all abilities, including strollers and wheelchairs.
- Route 9: The Pissandro falls. From Nebbiù, a path towards the north leads to the chapel of San Dionisio (St. Dionysus; 1,900 m) and continues along the Rusecco stream until a gorge; there, an evocative waterfall becomes visible. Local legends say that the neighbouring cave used to host the ‘Longane’ (or ‘Anguane’), mythical fairies of the woods (see also legends of the Dolomites). Required time: approx. 1 h – difficulty: medium.
From One Alpine Lodge to the Next
The Antelao lodge (Rifugio Antelao, 1,796 m) is open in summer and winter. It is reachable from Pozzale via the ex-Prapiccolo lodge with CAI path no. 250 in approx. 1h50 minutes; otherwise via Costanuda, CAI path no. 253, 2h45 minutes; from Nebbiù, use CAI path no. 254, 2h45 minutes; from the Costapiana lodge with CAI path no. 251, 1h30 minutes.
The Tita Barba lodge (Rifugio Tita Barba, 1,821 m.) is open summer only; it is reachable from Sottocastello, after crossing the tunnel and the dam (as in Route 8); then, take CAI path no. 350.
“Alte Vie” from Pieve di Cadore
“Alta Via delle Dolomiti 4” – Alpine Highway no. 4 – Grohmann’s Way. Departure in San Candido in the Alta Val Pusteria; arrival in Pieve di Cadore. This is a 90 km long distance trail that offers numerous variations suitable to advanced hikers.
“Alta Via delle Dolomiti 5” – Alpine Highway no. 5 – Titian’s Way. Departure in the Alta Val Pusteria; arrival in Pieve di Cadore. It is a 100 km long distance trail suitable to advanced, well trained hikers with a good sense of direction.
Other Sport Facilities
Other sport facilities in Pieve di Cadore include: indoor Swimming Pool; the “Stadio Polifunzionale” (Multifunctional Stadium); Ice and Roller Skating; Tennis Courts; Climbing Arena (by Pieve’s dam): this is a climbing park with itineraries for advanced climbers and children; on the wall of the dam there are nine paths for adults and ten for children, plus an iron way; there is also a covered modular structure, and several didactic activities are organized here by local authorised Alpine guides.
In Pieve di Cadore there is also a Football pitch and a Bowls area; Sportive fishing is also possible (the Fishing basin no. 4 on the river Piave goes from the confluence with the Ansiei stream to the boundary with Ospitale, including the final part of the Boite stream, in the territory of Perarolo; a licence is necessary).
Mushroom harvesting is quite a popular pastime in Italy, so it is regulated: residents and non-residents pay a different fee; the fee allows to obtain a daily, weekly, monthly or annual permit. Receipt of the payment must be showed in case of control by the authorities; there are dedicated days for harvesting as well as weight restrictions.