From the car park, take the Cinque Torri chairlift to the Rifugio Scoiattoli, from where you can enjoy a stunning view on the Cinque Torri mountains. During the First World War the area around the Cinque Torri was occupied by the Italian army, which established there their artillery headquarters; to prevent an Austrian counter-attack, the Italians prepared a defence line right at the foot of the Cinque Torri. Because of the unique view on the surrounding mountains, all the military actions in the area could be kept under control.
A few hundred meters away from the lodge you will find the Open Air Museum of the Cinque Torri: there are the trenches and the perfectly restored emplacements of the Great War, as well as many information points. In addition, the great view on the Cinque Torri. These mountains are also a famous climbing area, the best-known and most historically important wall of Cortina. Cinque Torri can justifiably be considered, with over 200 equipped pitches of varying difficulty and length, amongst the classic rock climbing faces in the Dolomites and the Alps.
The trail will lead you to the mountain lodge Rifugio Cinque Torri, a traditional lodge in a setting of rugged beauty at the feet of the Cinque Torri peaks. From here you will have exceptional views towards the mountains Croda da Lago and Lastoi de Formin, and further beyond, mounts Nuvolau and Averau, silhouetted on the horizon. Opened in 1904, Rifugio Cinque Torri is one of the oldest historic lodges in the area, and it has an authentic family atmosphere. Over the years, it has been visited by rulers and princes from all over the world, such as King Victor Emmanuel III, and still today it is frequented by climbers of international standing. To experience an early 20th-century atmosphere, when climbers from all over the world began to discover the wonders of the Dolomites, it is well worth sitting down at the table and tasting the recipes of times past, snug in the warmth of the large majolica stove. Unmissable specialities include the traditional “casunziei”, half-moon-shaped ravioli with a red beetroot filling, and the ricotta cheese strudel.
There are two ways of returning from Rifugio Cinque Torri: by retracing your steps and taking the chairlift down to the parking area, or by walking downhill along an easy trail that will lead you back to the car park. Along the track you will have a series of views of the majestic Tofane mountains, on your right, and you will enjoy the peaceful, refreshing setting. A few minutes before reaching the mountain hut Bai de Dones, at the intersection with track n° 425, take this trail to arrive to the romantic Lake Bai de Dones, which literally means “women’s bath”. According to legend, the lake is home to the Anguane, the enchanting water nymphs of Ladino-Ampezzo traditions whose beauty is marred only by their goats’ hooves. People say that after a downpour, the rivers are so tumultuous that the lake becomes turbid, because high above the Anguane are washing their clothes. There are good Anguane who give benevolent protection to men, and also evil Anguane, as ambiguous, mysterious and fearsome as witches. It is said that Lake Bai de Dones is inhabited by the good Anguanes, and that they will help women who wish to have a child: if a woman bathes in the waters of the small, magical lake, she will soon experience the joy of motherhood. You can see an illustration of these mythological creatures, servants of the god Silvanus, at the entrance of Rifugio Bai de Dones, named after this lovely lake. It is well worth stopping at the Rifugio to taste the cuisine, based on traditional mountain recipes. The house speciality is game, but the local Ampezzo recipes are also unmissable, such as the red casunziei with beetroot, or the green casunziei with spinach and ricotta cheese. You can enjoy these recipes on the spacious, solarium terrace.
By bus: From the bus station in the centre of Cortina, take the bus operated by Dolomiti Bus towards Passo Falzarego (check the times in advance) and get off at the stop at the Bai de Dones car park, near the chair lift to Cinque Torri.
By car: From the centre of Cortina, take the state road towards Passo Falzarego. After the hamlet Pocol, about 20 minutes from the town centre, drive for a few more kilometres and then turn left onto the road marked by a large sign for the Bai de Dones car park, which is near the chair lift running up to Cinque Torri.