The Glorious Alta Badia
The most beautiful mountains in the world?
- Staggering peaks tower over idyllic valleys and picturesque villages
- The sheer natural splendour of a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The South Tyrol at its most majestic
In Badia and Corvara, we believe we are at the heart of the world’s most dramatic and beautiful mountains. Over the years it has been a genuine pleasure to watch the reaction of our guests as they arrive and are awe-struck by their surroundings. The close harmony of startling and monumental rock formations with the enchanting alpine valley landscapes of wildflower-strewn pastures and picturesque Tyrolean villages is as enchanting as it is staggering.
The Crown Jewels of the Alps
With their explosive shapes and unique colours, the Dolomites are the crown jewels of the Alps. At every turn you are stopped in your tracks by their sheer magnificence. We know you will share our appreciation of this natural splendour. It is a paradise for walkers, flower enthusiasts, artists, photographers, Via Ferrata and alpine enthusiasts or anyone seeking out the tranquillity of an idyllic alpine retreat.
The unspoilt Tyrolean villages bewitch you on a human scale with wooden chalets in a landscape of wildflower-strewn pastures, while the colossal natural monuments, which are the Dolomites, tower above you; castles of rock, which soar to the sky as if frozen in mid-explosion.
The Dolomites lie in Italy’s northernmost region, the Trentino/South Tyrol, which borders Austria and Switzerland to the north. To the south are the alluring historical cities of Venice and Verona. Geologists believe they were heaved up by great movements in the earth’s crust 50 million years ago when Europe and Africa collided. Since then the actions of ice and water have carved them into overwhelming sculptural forms. More recently history has shaped the area. After WWI, the area passed from Austria to Italy. Mussolini failed to italianise the region and the area now thrives on the harmonious co-existence of the Austrian and Italian cultures in a region where Latin meets Germanic.
Add to these cultures, the influence of a modern Mountain-dwelling community with an enlightened, yet conservative approach to tourism and the result is a unique atmosphere of character and charm in a place, where there is lots to see and do.
Two enchanting villages and an idyllic valley
The Alta Badia in the central Dolomites is one of the most beautiful valleys in the Alps. Unsurprisingly, the area acquired UNESCO World Heritage status in 2009. The valley wends its way below majestic peaks to Monte Sella (3152m), a glorious and colossal plinth, which typifies the drama created by the proximity of amazing rock formations and idyllic alpine valleys. It is home to our chalet hotels, hotels and apartments. We are in the neighbouring villages of Corvara and Badia, which boast superb access to numerous walks of all grades, as well as Via Ferrata, locally-supplied alpine activities and places of interest. Whatever you choose to do, you’ll soon be glad you came.
Corvara and Badia each have their own backdrops of startling rock formations. These glow rose pink at sunset, as if on fire. This mystical phenomenon is the Enrosadira and is arguably at its best in September. People gaze in awe from the valleys, which by contrast are characterised by wildflower-strewn pastures, woodland and sleepy hamlets, where the window boxes of old farmhouses overflow with colour.
Don’t agonise over where to stay. The villages are 7kms apart and the Natural Parks in which we walk are easily accessed from both. For non-drivers, there are regular buses between them and they are also joined by a riverside track and several higher woodland trails. Whichever you choose, you will have good access to walks, fantastic views, idyllic flower meadows and easy woodland trails, where you can meander at leisure.
For high level walking, trails leave both villages for the high rocky terrain of the Puez Odle and Fanes National Parks, which spectacularly dominate the valley and offer countless, dramatic itineraries.
Corvara is the principal village of the Alta Badia and is more ‘resorty’ than Badia. It has two gondolas, one to the Pralongià Plateau at 1980m for easier and moderate walks, the other to the eastern turrets of the Sella at 2152m for amazing high level walks and also two Via Ferrata. It has more shops, cafés and many sports facilities, including skating, a swimming lake, climbing wall, golf, tennis, archery etc. For Via Ferrata, Corvara might have the edge.
Badia thrives on its idyllic location under the mesmerising walls of Santa Croce and the Fanes massif. It has the feel of a more authentic alpine village. Its chairlift is a ‘must’ wherever you choose to stay, an enchanting ride over flower pastures and tradition farmsteads, which opens up walks of all grades, some of which take you back to Corvara. At the top, you can drop in on Rifugio Nagler (run by our good friends, Roberto & Giusi) for a drink or some superb food. It’s one of many utterly glorious spots that you cannot help but stumble across in this special corner of alpine Europe.
In pictures – The Alta Badia, Italian Dolomites & South Tyrol
We did this tour in 2014 so this is a very late entry but for anyone thinking of doing this particular itinerary all I can say is - go for it, it's a fantastic 6 days in the beautiful Dolomites. In early July the weather was cool and snow was still lying in quantity; together with my wife's imaginative diversions we had what felt like a pretty adventurous few days. Needless to say, the arrangements worked brilliantly; Rif Biella (wonderfully remote) and Rif Laverella (Finish sauna) were hut highlights. The walking is tough in places with a few 'scrambly' sections but more a vigorous day in the Lake District than Crib Goch.