The popular Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera are a cluster of five fishing villages perched on the cliffs that overlook the Mediterranean Sea. Tourists from far and wide include a stop here on their visit to Italy. The vibrant colors of the ancient homes, the spectacular coastal hikes and the perpetual company of the sea make this an amazing and endearing location.
Very few of these tourists know that far above amidst the peaks of the Italian Dolomites, lie a cluster of five mountain towns that have now joined forces to form the “3 Peaks in the Dolomites” alpine region. Nestled at the feet of silver towers that reach up from emerald green meadows to touch the sky and surrounded by a network of stunning mountain trails. This mountain region is rich in culture and enchanting beauty where traditions are maintained and nature is highly respected and preserved.
This small town is immersed among green pastures and surrounded by some of the most famous peaks of the Dolomites. It is the ideal starting point for magnificent hikes in summer and the hub of the skiing area in winter. Choose between a comfortable valley hike, fascinating alpine paths and round tours of the renowned Three Peaks of Lavaredo. Offering both a cable car to reach the top of the Helm mountain or a gondola for the Croda Rossa, both important mountains in summer and winter.
The most popular of the five towns, offering elegant shopping, posh bars and historical monuments. It is the home of the most important Romanesque building of the whole alpine area; the Collegiate church of the 13th century. This town was frequented by Austrian emperors for it’s beneficial thermal waters. San Candido is one of Italy’s most important skiing resorts. In summer it is the start of a very popular cycling route which stretches over 45 km into Austria.
The composer Gustav Mahler lived and composed for a period of his life in Dobbiaco and therefore the town is the venue for many concerts and other cultural events. It is also considered to be one of Italy’s foremost cross-country skiing resorts and the scene for many international races. An important cross-country trail connects Dobbiaco to Cortina and in summer this is a scenic cycling trail. Dobbiaco is also the home of Europe’e best luxury multi-brand store, Franz Kraler. The most important hydroelectric plant is in this town and supplies most of the area with electricity.
In Villabassa attending a Kneipp session is an absolute must. The village is the first the first Kneipp für mich outdoor Spa adventure village in Italy, with a large spa complex for the whole family. The railway station is close to the centre and offers ideal connections and relaxing, car-free holidays. The town has a Tourism Museum which documents the history of tourism in the region.
Nestled in the Fanes- Senes-Braies nature park and surrounded by a lacework of spires, this is one of Italy’s hidden gems. The Braies Lake is one of the most photographed lakes in the world and has been the scene for many films and TV series. The Braies valley is also known for it’s many springs and themed walks. The mountains surrounding the lake offer breathtaking hikes for all levels.
These are the “Five Lands” far from the sea and up in the clouds of the off-the-beaten path Northeast of Italy. An extraordinary area, in the midst of some of the most striking and spectacular mountains in the world. A stunning surprise for those who dare search for a unique experience.
Anna Moggia is Owner of Boutique Hotel Zenana.