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Friday, August 28, 2009

Bolzano - The Val Gardena

Another day excursion from Bolzano is a drive through the picturesque Val Gardena, the valley between Bolzano and Cortina d'Ampezzo (site of the 1962 Winter Olympics). This drive is not for those afraid of driving mountain roads as the roads are narrow with sharp turns and HUGE tour busses travelling the route as well. But if you brave the drive, you will be rewarded with incredible scenery not to be surpassed by many places in the world. We took the drive in the summertime, therefore we did not have to contend with snow and the dangers of winter driving. We drove through lush green rolling hills which formed the foreground for huge granite peaks seeming to jut out of the earth! Around every turn there were more and more scenic views.

At one point, we parked behind a car of an Austrian chorale group that were serenading the beautiful mountains in 4 part harmony! Along the drive, we passed many small quaint mountain towns whose homes were constructed with an Alpine flair. The red tile roofs so typical of Italian towns are replaced by chalet-type roofs and many wooden features in this region of Italy. The town of Gardena was filled with artisan shops of wood carvings. These merit a stop along the way.

Our journey ended at the town of Corvarra. This quaint town is located at the base of yet another Dolomite peak and has many restaurants and shops to explore. The restaurants feature local cheeses, fondues, and other Alpine treats (apple strudel, for one!!) Our restaurant even came with a resident St. Bernard lounging on the outside patio.


  1. Tesoro, I've never been to this part of Italy, so thanks for the perfect description of the scene! I would have loved the impromptu concert, that's a moment in time I would remember forever!

  2. Ha! Ha! They were wonderful. And when we drove up behind them they started speaking to us in German (because our car had the D for Deutschland on the license plate). When we indicated that we didn't speak German, we tried to find a common ground on which to communicate. Since they didn't know either English or Italian, we were stuck. But then we told them we were from San Francisco and their faces lit up like candles. "Oh, California" they shouted, put their hands up in the air, and rejoiced!! It was so funny and cute! At one point, they opened their trunk and I thought they were going to pull out some cheese and wine and feed us, too! But instead they wanted us to take a group shot of them under the massive Dolomite peaks! And they still had an old 35 mm camera! It was so fun - they were the happiest group I have run across in a long time. It's so great to see a group of friends enjoying themselves and life with such gusto!