Did you know that the clock in the town centre of Cortina celebrates the name day of Empress Elisabeth of Wittelsbach, (“Sissi”) and plays the chimes of London’s Big Ben? That there is a bank in the high Street, Corso Italia, that hosts some mysterious Sybils? And that a wonderful house hosts Dante, Goethe and Shakespeare frescoes? And if you prefer an adventurous one-day trip you can try the wonderful canyons and the incredible waterfalls of the Queen of the Dolomites.
4 – The “disputed” castle
Exploring the area around Cortina, many other locations are worth a visit. Such as Castello De Zanna, a castle commissioned by the nobleman Gianmaria De Zanna in the late 17th century. Resembling a miniature fortress, it did not meet the approval of the population, and its construction was blocked in 1696 because it did not comply with the principles of the local constitution. In 1809 it was burnt and bombarded by the French. Today, at the castle you can see two towers, part of the curtain walls, and the church dedicated to the Trinity, in which there is a painting traditionally attributed to Palma il Giovane, but is possibly by Agostino Ridolfi.
7 – The Devil in chains
The 20th-century Church of the Beata Vergine di Lourdes (Our Lady of Lourdes), the largest of the Ampezzo valley’s village churches, is sited in a panoramic position in the hamlet Grava. It has a single nave, and just one altar, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, but the visitor’s attention is drawn above all by the two sculptures in painted wood by Corrado Pitscheider, on either side: on the right, Saint Lucy is holding a dish on which there are the eyes gouged out by her executioner; on the left, Saint Michael the Archangel is shown vanquishing a terrifying Devil in chains.