Cortina d’Ampezzo (Cortina) is the best known ski resort in the Dolomites mountain range in north-east Italy. The dramatic limstone scenery of the Dolomites - older than the Alps - is a stunning backdrop to the spires and towers of the town, UNESCO World Natural Heritage Area. Its tourism began in the 1950s, and since then the many original hamlets have merged together to form Cortina, a ski resort with the kind of style of which others can only dream. While it is still a popular choice of the cosmopolitan elite and European aristocracy the resort combines an air of sophistication and glamour without the pretentiousness of some other ski resorts. The pedestrianised town centre is dominated by the beautiful green and white bell tower and is home to a number of impressive 19th Century mansions.
Only 2 hours from Venice, Cortina is an ideal destination to combine a mountain trip with a visit to one of Italy's most iconic cities.
Cortina gains classic status through its links into the Dolomites Superski area - and while it is popular with Italian tourists, many of them spend at least as much time off the slopes than on them, keeping the pistes pleasingly deserted. The ski terrain is varied and best suits beginners and intermediates.
In summer Cortina becomes a Mecca for mountain climbing enthusiasts who visit to brave the Via Ferrate, an extensive network of cables, ladders and bridges, originally installed during WW1 and now used for leisure. Off the slopes there is an abundance of chic boutiques, fine restaurants and cosmopolitan bars.
Known as the "Queen of the Dolomites", property prices in Cortina reflect this accolade. Only 150km from Venice, international buyers compete with wealthy Italians for property and price tags in the most sought-after locations in can rival those in the French ski resorts of Courchevel and Val d'Isere. As befits one of the world's most expensive property locations, there is a good choice of luxury apartments in the beautiful town centre, often built in the traditional Ampezzan style.
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