The beauty of discovering Cortina on two wheels

Enjoy this short video, dream with us and live from your home some wonderful landscapes and great itineraries immersed in the forests, meadows, highlands and alpine lakes of the Ampezzo Dolomites, a Natural Unesco World Heritage.
In Cortina there are countless trails, downhill routes as well as relaxing cycling tours for MTB and E-Bike enthusiasts, for all levels and difficulties. Whatever your preference is, the view will be rewarding.

ENJOY THE VIDEO and dream with us on two wheels!

Video: Ride in Cortina
Photo credits: D.G.Bandion

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- Read last articles to keep Cortina at home with you -

Brazorà, the sweet focaccia of the Ampezzo tradition

The mountain cuisine is an important part of the Italian traditional cuisine: simple dishes made of a few basic products. However, basic ingredients doesn't mean poor flavour. On the contrary, some traditional recipes are so good and tasty that they are still handed down from mother to daughter, and are offered in restaurants or pastry shops.
Tuesday, 21st April 2020

One of these is the recipe for brazorà, a sweet focaccia sprinkled with sugar grains, a crown shaped dessert, just like a hug!
A long time ago it was the cake of the wedding invitation. 
Bride and groom personally went to invite their own guests. On the occasion they brought a brazorà with 5 "crostoli" and 5 sugared almonds in the middle.

Let's cook it together with Claudia Rossetto, her recipe and her video tutorial!
Ingredients to make one loaf:
500g flour
80g sugar
80g unsalted softened butter
5 eggs
1 grated zest of lemon
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract 
16g dried brewer’s yeast
80g milk
To finish: granulated sugar

Method:
Dissolve the yeast in warm milk.
Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix them for about half an hour or until you have a soft dough.
When the dough feels smooth and silky cover it with a tea towel and leave to rise in a warm room, for at least 1/2 hour or longer.
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 170.
On a baking tray divide the dough into three parts and form a braid closed in doughnut
Let it rest for another half an hour .
Gently brush the egg yolk mixed with water over the loaf and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake the Brazolà for 40 minutes until risen and golden.
Leave to cool before serving.

Rifugio Nuvolau, our first mountain hut (“rifugio” in Italian)

Rifugio Nuvolau, built in 1883 on Mount Nuvolau at 2575 m, offers a spread 360 degrees magnificent view on the Ampezzo valley as well as on many stunning mountains such as the Cinque Torri, Tofane and Marmolada.
Thursday, 16th April 2020

It was Colonel Meerheimb of Dresden who came up with the idea of building the refuge. He had been able to overcome a serious lung disease by staying in Ampezzo.  Therefore, he donated a contribution for the construction of the refuge to the local branch of the German-Austrian Mountaineering Alpine Club. For this reason, the refuge was initially called Sachesendankhütte (“Refuge of the Saxon's gratitude”).

The building, initially quite small, during World War One was almost completely destroyed and  in 1930 it was rebuilt and enlarged. The name, with Cortina becoming part of Italy, was changed to Rifugio Nuvolau.
The history of Rifugios is closely related to the development of alpinism. Starting from around 1850, some explorers, mainly from Germany, Austria and the UK, started wanting to reach the top of the peaks of the Alpine range, mainly for “scientific” reasons (cartography). 
These explorers used to go climbing with local guides who, interestingly, were often hunters, being the ones who best knew high mountain areas before mountain guiding became an actual profession.

In this first era, the most famous climber in the Dolomites was the Viennese explorer  Paul Grohmann, the first to climb many of the mountains of Cortina, thereby contributing to making the valley famous in Northern Europe as a mountaineering destination. Grohmann was often accompanied in his undertakings by the mountain guide Francesco Lacedelli (Checo da Meléres), the first mountain guide of Cortina d'Ampezzo.

From 1870, a second phase of mountaineering  begun, with a stronger interest in adventure and risk. Climbing started to be seen more and more as an activity performed for passion rather than for scientific purposes.

At this stage, many mountain huts were built, often extremely simple ones, usually a shelter at the base of mountains popular among climbers. They merely had to grant food, drinks, a fireplace and a few places to sleep and they were used mainly as a base camp for climbers and their mountain guides.
 
The role of Mountain Guides was considered fundamental not only in alpinism but also in the construction of refuges: a room was always reserved for them in the rifugios. 
Their fundamental role is proved by the fact that in 1898 there were already 20 mountain guides in Cortina alone. 

Photo Credits: D.G. Bandion

Vogue wears white

Elemanule Farneti, Director of Vogue Italia, will be interview (in Italian) for Una Montagna di Libri to discuss the challenges of the fashion industry in the days of the coronavirus. The uniqueness of the times we are living and its impact on fashion will be reflected in Vogue Italia’s next issue.
Monday, 13th April 2020

“Vogue Italia’s April issue will be printed, for the first time in our history, with a blank cover. Not because there weren’t any images. 
But because white is many things together. 
Firstly, it is respect. 
White is rebirth, light after dark, the sum of all colours.

It is time and space to think. Even to stay silent. White are the uniforms that have saved our lives, putting their own at risk. White for those who are filling the blank with ideas, thoughts, stories, lines, music, care for other people. White like when, after the crisis of ’29, people wore white to express the purity of the present and the hope for the future.”   

The whole interview today, in streaming at 5pm, on Una Montagna di Libri FB page!

Cortina and love: great cinema, great love stories

The Ampezzo valley, with its imposing peaks and spectacular views, and Cortina d’Ampezzo’s town centre, with its luxury fashion shops and a glamorous atmosphere that can be perceived on all sides, have often been chosen as the setting for many Italian and international film productions.
Thursday, 9th April 2020
Cortina, the Queen of the Dolomites, inspires passionate love stories, today just as yesterday, in cinema fiction just as in real life, by virtue of its unique atmosphere and its majestic natural setting. 
Our suggestions for this week are A Place for Lovers (directed by Vittorio De Sica, 1968) - you can enjoy while #stayinghome.
You can read more about these films in the section about romantic movies set in Cortina.

We don't want to give too much away, so just enjoy just ENJOY THE MOVIE with us, sit back, relax and enjoy the show, while #stayinghome!

Šmòrn e Kaiseršmòrn

Find out more about Cortina's traditional cuisine, in which Italian and Tyrolean cultures intertwine, preparing this recipe with foodblogger Federica Constantini of @dolcisenzaburro!
Wednesday 1st April 2020

(Ingredients for 4)
2 eggs
250 g of milk
30 g of sugar 
125 g flour
2 apples
1 spoon of rum
Jam
Method
For the batter, mix the eggs with milk and flour. Add to the batter one spoon of rum and the apples cut into pieces and cook it in a hot pan greased with oil or butter.
Turn the omelette and cook the other side. When almost ready, break it with a wooden spoon into big chunks while cooking and add some sugar.
Serve the Šmòrn sprinkled with icing sugar and accompanied by jam.
 
Note: An alternative to the recipe of the Šmòrn (Schmarrn in German) is the Kaiseršmòrn (Kaiserschmarrn), a richer variety of the recipe that the Austrian emperor (Kaiser) was particularly fond of and to whom it owes its name. To prepare the Kaiseršmòrn, add some raisins (soaked 30 minutes in warm water) and pine nuts or other nuts at your discretion.

Photo Credits: Federica Constantini

The beauty of climbing in the Ampezzo Dolomites

Short documentary about climbing in the wonderful Ampezzo Dolomites with Pietro Dal Prà as the protagonist: one of the most important Italian alpinists and climbers, part of the Scoiattoli (“Squirrels”), the climbing group of non-professional climbers of Cortina d’Ampezzo.
WATCH THE VIDEO to feel the magic of climbing in Cortina d'Ampezzo!

In the documentary, you can see him climbing at the Beco d’Ajal, one of the most incredible climbing areas of Cortina, on an overhanging route set by himself and graded 8b. In the background the majestic Tofana di Rozes.
Afterwards, you can watch his solitary ascent on the “Paolo VI”, a route set by the Scoiattoli on the South face of the Tofana di Rozes. Pietro describes it as “ the most beautiful, elegant and representative route of these mountains. A classic route with a logic, a history and an incredible quality”. 

Tuesday, 24th March 2020

homemade butter

Butter is an essential ingredient of Alpine cooking tradition, and it tends to be particularly good in places like Cortina, where cows still spend the summer on high-mountain pastures.

Not many know it is actually possible to make butter home, and it is a fun activity to try with kids. It is very simple and doesn’t require any complicated procedures or ingredients…just some patience and strong arms!


Ingredients

1 plastic bottle

Enough cream to fill 1/3 of the bottle (make sure the cream has a high fat content, better if > 30%)


Method

Fill the bottle with the cream and seal it tightly. Shake the bottle for at least 10 minutes, until the cream divides into a harder mass a whitish liquid. Cut open the bottle to take out the hard part: that’s our butter! The remaining liquid is called buttermilk and can be used for some recipes (including pancakes!).

Drain the butter from the remaining buttermilk using your hands or two wooden spoons and shape your butter into a little pat. You can store it in the fridge for not more than a few days, wrapped in aluminium foil. 


Tip – you can salt your butter or flavour it with mountain herbs. Why not try cumin butter?




LINEA BIANCA IN CORTINA 

Saturday 21st March at 2pm Italian time on RAI 1 

 

Linea Bianca is Italy’s leading TV programme about everything related to the mountains: winter sports, traditional food, mountain life, nature, history and much more. A whole episode was shot in Cortina, focussing on the UNESCO World Heritage Dolomites and the Natural Park of the Ampezzo Dolomites, thanks to the cooperation of Linea Bianca with Cortina Marketing and DMO Dolomiti. The episode will air on 21st March on Italy’s premier TV channel RAI 1. 



Beetroot casunziei

Savour Cortina’s tradition preparing this recipe with foodblogger Monica Giustina of #onecakeinamillion!
(ingredients for 4)
Wednesday, 18th March 2020
For the filling:
400 g of beetroot
100 g of golden beetroot
200 g of potatoes
15 g of plain flour
1 tbs salt
1 pinch of nutmeg
 
For the dough:
320 g of plain flour
1 egg
180 ml of water
1 pinch of salt
 
For the sauce:
100 g of butter
Smoked ricotta cheese or parmesan
Poppy seeds
 

Method
Prepare the filling in advance, even on the previous evening, so that it is cold and firm by the time you use it.
Steam the beetroots and golden beetroots and, separately, the potatoes. Blend the beetroots and mesh the potatoes with a masher, then mix everything and leave to cool down.
Toast the flour for the filling in a frying pan until it browns, then add it to the mixture of beetroos and potatoes. Add salt and nutmeg and leave to rest.
For the dough, mix the egg and flour, then add salt and the water little by little, until the dough is soft (you may need slightly more or less water, depending on how dump the flour is). Knead on a pastry board until you have a ball, then leave to rest covered for about half an hour.
Roll out the dough so thin that you can see through it, dust it with flour and form circles with a 5-7 cm pastry ring. Place a scant tablespoon of filling at the centre of each circle and fold to form half-moon shaped raviolis, making sure to carefully seal the edges.
Dust a tray with bran flour and transfer the casunziei. 
Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add salt; put the butter in a saucepan.
Carefully put the casunziei into the simmering water (to prevent them from breaking) and cook for 5-6 minutes. Meanwhile, brown the butter.
Drain the casunziei using a skimmer spoon and place them on a plate, sprinkle with the ricotta or parmesan cheese and season with butter and poppy seeds. Serve immediately.
 
NOTE: beetroot is the classic winter filling, while in the summer you can try casunziei with herbs or potatoes. For that extra twist, add a pinch of cinnamon to the filling and some sage leaves to the butter before browning it!
 

Yoga and mountain, a perfect match

Untouched views, fresh air and deep silence, make the mountain an ideal place where to find new balances and peace of soul.
Monday, 16th March 2020 - It seems only right, even more in these days to be spent at home, to build some of the main yoga practices into your daily routine: basking in the warm embrace of the massive Dolomites, you will find new physical, psychic and mental balances.
Yoga is a sweet way to achieve health and harmony. Through the practice of postures (Asanas) and conscious breathing (Pranayama), a state of beneficial calm is generated inside the body. It frees the mind from negative sensations that accumulate in the frenzy of modern life, gives us clarity of mind and optimism, well-being and psychophysical balance. Together with the beneficial effect of nature, it fosters introspection and a conscious journey of self-discovery: with calm, strength and joy.

Let's practice the sun salutation together, to get our time back!

Photo: Marcella Milani


Natural Wonders of Cortina

30 years of the Natural Park of the Ampezzo Dolomites. Cortina d’Ampezzo is blessed with a unique and outstanding natural heritage, which has been preserved throughout the years in several ways.
Sunday, 15th March 2020 - 30 years ago, in March 1990, The Natural Park of the Ampezzo Dolomites was set up to protect the flora and fauna of the valley.
Today, the park covers 164 km², roughly 2/3 of the whole territory of the Municipality of Cortina, bearing witness to the considerable natural and environmental significance it represents. Such a natural treasure can be explored on the many trails across different habitats and landscapes.

Photo: Michele Da Pozzo

Read more about the Natural Park in our dedicated section!

Selected for you: a hike in the Natural Park

Spinach Canederli (Knödel), let’s cook them together!

Historically a borderland between Italy and Austria, Cortina encompasses both Italian and Tyrolean flavours in its recipes. One of the most traditional dishes are the canederli, Knödel in German. It’s a delicious recipe that enhances a poor but genuine cooking.
Here’s the recipe!
Friday, 13th March 2020
(ingredients for 6 people)

- 5-6 thinly sliced stale bread rolls
- wild herbs or spinach
- 150 g of ricotta cheese
- 3 eggs
- 4-5 spoons of flour
- ½ onion
- water
- grated parmesan cheese
- butter
- salt, pepper and nutmeg


Wash and boil the wild herbs (or spinach), chop it and brown it in a pan with some butter and thinly sliced onion. In a large bowl combine the bread with the vegetables, eggs, ricotta cheese, a handful of grated parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, nutmeg and some water.
Combine all the ingredients until a wet dough forms and assemble balls of 4-5cm of diameter with it.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, lower the canederli into the boiling water and cook them for 15 minutes.
Serve them with grated parmesan and melted butter.
 
Hint: you can put in the refrigerator all the canederli that you won’t be able to eat (before cooking them) to enjoy them another time!

Recipe taken from the book “Cošlupe frìte e lòchi ‘n técia – raccolta di ricette della tradizione ampezzana” edited by Francesca Gaspari and Maria Luisa Menardi - Edizioni U’lda.


Photo: Diego Gaspari Bandion

- COMING SOON - 

Come back soon on this page to feel Cortina a bit closer!