Australian families can stop fantasising about picturesque Alpine villages and the inviting ski slopes of Italy’s majestic mountains.
The strong Aussie dollar and ever-easier air access options are turning armchair daydreams into flight-booking realities … and no one is coming home disappointed.
For the snow enthusiasts, it’s not just the legendary slopes and snow parks that make the Italian Alps such a fairytale destination. It’s also the architecturally-inspiring historic villages, the magnificent local cuisine and wines … and the lure of muscle-reviving hot spas.
The Italian Alps deliver all this and more. Whether you are into alpine skiing, cross-country, snowboarding or freeskiing, its magnificent valleys are not to be missed.
Some of the region’s top ski villages – Madonna di Campiglio in the Dolomites, Bormio, Livigno and Santa Caterina Valfurva – offer something for everyone.
Madonna di Campiglio is an elegant village known as the “Pearl of the Dolomites”. Its huge ski area – 150km of trails up to an altitude of 2,600 metres – will keep the family entertained for the whole day without skiing the same run twice. A real ski in ski out holiday, you can ski direct from your accommodation across to three other Dolomites linked resorts without removing you skis!
Home to Italy’s biggest vertical drop – 1,800m from an altitude of 3,012 down to the village at 1,225m – and one of the most challenging ski World Cup Downhill courses, the iconic Stelvio run, Bormio ski area entertains skiers of all abilities with its 50km of trails.
A stroll along its medieval alleys will find you immersed in a real Italian village atmosphere. It’s a great place to sample food specialties and some superb local wines. Not to mention its famous thermal and swimming centres – testimony to its history dating back to Roman times.
Not far from there, surrounded by towering white peaks on the Italian/ Swiss border lies the beautiful valley of Livigno. With three of the most famous snowparks in Europe complementing its 115km of ski trails, there is no dull moment for the thrill seeker in your family. Plus, thanks to its peculiar duty free status it is renowned for its excellent shopping and après ski opportunities along the main street lined with traditional houses made from wood and stone in the style of the high Alps.
It’s all a little bit more peaceful at the picturesque ski village of Santa Caterina Valfurva. As well as skiing and snowboarding, the surrounding 40km of tracks are popular for winter walking with the ‘ciaspole’ snowshoe. In winter, the road ends here, which means no through traffic and a peaceful, fairytale atmosphere in the heart of the Stelvio National Park.
While the Medieval magic and white-hot slopes of the Italian Alps may seem a world away from Australia, one-stop flights to Milan, Zurich or Venice – and easy transfers from there – make it anything but. This is a fairytale that can come true.
Information provided by Ski Italy and correct at time of publication, August 1, 2013