[TRENTINO–ITALY] — “Theeesa ees the one.” she said, in that lovely Italan way of needing to add a vowel onto every word. “Theesa one is da best hika in the valley. And ifa you go heer, ita isa the besta viewa inaalla da Dolomites.” That’s Barbara, the owner of my splendid hotel in the Brenta region of the Italian Dolomites. There isn’t just one Dolomite, but many different ranges. But many say this is one of the best sections, centered around the Madonna di Compiglio ski resort, tucked into a valley with over sixty lifts going in all directions.
Those looking for some Vail symmetry and organization, this is done the Italian way. Organically, over the time, with lifts taking off in different directions, lobbing people off at the top and letting them ski down to wherever they want. This is Italy. And it’s also a great way to hike in the summer time. They call this their slow season, since most people just come for the skiing and hit the beach in the summer. But man oh man is it ripe for hiking.
Hiking in Madonna di Compiglio in the Dolomites in Italy is just such a nice experience. First, as a ski resort so you can take a gondola to the top and get right in it vs. having to hike up to it. Then you hike from one mountain refuge to the other — rifugio in Italian — and explore different valleys and views all in the same day. Even have a beer or espresso or nice meal right there in the rifugio, above the tree line, in the thick of soaring peaks.
Pick your valley, pick how long you want to hike for and pick your destination rifugio and be off. Hike down to a different valley and a shuttle takes you back to your car. Hardcores stay up along the ridgeline and just sleep in different rifugi along the way and go from one range to the next, for a week(s), It’s all so sensible…
This was on the final leg of my four month Natural Wonders of Europe Tour and made a last minute booking to the Italian Dolomites to get some final hiking in. If you’re thinking of going, here’s the how-to on some hikes and places in the Brenta range. I only got one good six hour hike in due to weather, but the nice woman who owns my hotel told me about this one and said it’s the best hike one can do unless you’re hardcore. It is challenging, for sure. But hiking here is like nowhere else I’ve been. Very civilized and includes everything I love in life. Views. Comfort. Beer. Coffee. Bathrooms. Air. (Missing water and/or a pool here).
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