Winter sports, Apres-ski, James Bond film set – but even in Summer Cortina is not to be missed
Cortina d’Ampezzo is the jewel of the Dolomites, the Italian mountain range that’s just a few hours away from Venice. More famous as a winter ski resort and setting for James Bond films, Tony and Helen Page found it well worth visiting in summer, and a good base for exploring the picturesque Alpine region.
“The clouds are coming in, it’s late afternoon and here we are in Cortina d’Ampezzo.
(Someone sneezes) Oh, nice sneeze, unfortunately lots of people seem to have colds around here. The basic shops are open and people, as you can hear, are wandering by, having come out after a rather desolate centre of the day period, when only a few cafes seem to be open. Of course, it’s the summer.
It’s actually very hot in the sunlight
“Let’s just sweep around here. It’s pretty dull once the light misses the street, which you’ll see. This is the main street which is Corso Italia. The architecture is pretty typical and this cafe which is now in the shadow was where we had a nice lunch – well, alright, it was not too nice, I’ll be honest, the coffee was good – when it was all in sunlight. It’s actually very hot in the sunlight. Okay, that’s about the full circle. I’ll go and see if I can find more sunlight in Cortina.
Flowers are everywhere
“Okay, so I found some more sunlight. There’s the church and this very impressive building, I’m not quite clear what it is. I asked a few people, but so far nobody’s given me a good answer. You see the hotel, I tried to pick out a little bit of colour for you. Flowers everywhere and also, motorbikes. Let’s go and see here. This morning we went up the mountain (Ed: Dolomites) and it was amazing the number of mostly German and Italian biking clubs that we saw everywhere.
“The tower and the graceful gable of that church actually look quite attractive.
The Parish Church is pleasantly peaceful
“Just as a contrast, here we are inside the parish church of Cortina d’Ampezzo. Quite nice really. It doesn’t seem to be mentioned in many of the books though. It’s a pleasant change from the hubbub that suddenly developed outside.
People come out in the evening
“Well, here we are back on the main street of Cortina d’Ampezzo. there’s our hotel (Ed: Hotel Ancora) and Helen just coming out of it. It’s 4 o’clock, just 5 o’clock sorry, and people are really coming out onto the streets. It’s amazing the difference, to tell you the truth.
As I said there’s our hotel we’re currently staying at. It’s an interesting place, very good service, but they’re doing some renovations and the owner has moved into one of the top rooms with his dog – quite interesting. It’s also notable for its extremely pneumatic young lady in a state of undress, falling off her horse, apparently. I think I’ll do a close-up here. As you can see, not quite Michelangelo, but never mind.
Take the cable cars up the various mountains
“Anyway, there’s not a lot of activity in the sense of things other than people aimlessly walking around and peering into the shops, which are just opening actually, and going on. But, you’ve got to say, it’s a very beautiful spot and in fact there are a lot of cable cars and things around the place which would give you quite a few days’ activities as you take the cable cars up the various mountains and wander around up there. Certainly very beautiful and very impressive mountains. Anyway, we’re off to Venice again tomorrow, so let’s see how it goes.”