Val Gardena area is densely populated with wood carvers. I guess it's because until recently they were practically cut off the rest of the world during winter and there was plenty of wood at hand, so about 400 years ago someone started carving more intricate figurines than just kitchen utensils and toys for kids, and they became skillful artisans.
The main motifs are Nativity scenes and other religious symbols, frames and other decorations.
There are two art schools in this small valley, one in Ortisei and one in Selva, both teaching wood carving techniques.
Walking through Val Gardena, you will see many lovely shops selling these products, some are actually workshops where you get to see the carving process, too, and some are overloaded with tacky replicas. If you wish to buy more expensive original handmade item, look for special Certificate of Authenticity.
I bought one typical local decoration - a small head of troll carved roughly from piece of wood. Items like this do not need that Certificate, that’s as authentic as it could possibly be. He is a protector of home against evil spirits. Not that I've had problems with any, but you never know.
The original name of the Dolomites Monti Pallidi (Pale Mountains) is valid as long as the sun stands high on the sky but at sunrise and sunset the pale rocks get fantastic colours which change within minutes, a wonderful spectacle, called "enrösadüra" in the archaic Ladin (Rhetoromanian) language which is still spoken all around the Sella
The picture shows the Langkofel (Sasslonch in Ladin, Sassolungo in Italian) from the Sella pass which is one of the most visited passes in the whole Dolomites. The Langkofel itself is the right peak while the top of the left one, the Plattkofel, can even be reached on skis, but from the other side. of course!
The whole area offers incredible hikes in Summer and Autumn and great skiing in Winter and Spring
The pic shows you the view from passo Pordoi down to Arabba from where a road goes to the left (to passo Campolongo) while the Great Dolomies Road continues to the right side of the Tofane, the mountain group in the middle of the picture. There is the passo Falzarego from where the road goes further on to Cortina.
It is seen as a must by most visitors and it is very easy. From Misurina lake a quite expensive toll road leads to Rifugio Auronzo at the southern foot of this most famous group of the Dolomites. From the parking (with hundreds of cars under the Summer season) an easy path leads you around the group (walking time about 3 to 3,5 hours, but it takes much longer due to the innumerable nice photo stops. Most people do the hike counterclockwise.
Cortina is the biggest village in the Dolomites and its most famous summer and winter resort (was hosting the Winter Olympics in 1956). It is embedded in a marvellous landscape with gentle high alpine pastures and larch forests to which the often more than 3000 m high mountrains form the perfect vertical contrast
The "great Dolomites road" connects Bozen/Bolzano with Cortina d'Ampezzo. It crosses the passes Karerpass (at the famous Rosengarten), Pordoi and Falzarego and is open all the year round.
The picture, taken near Pieve di Livinallongo, shows the Civetta group with its famous 1300 m high wall, one of the great climbs in the 6th degree.
After a full day of winter sport or a sunny walking day in the summer, it's perfect a stop in a spa!
Padola offers u this special opportunity.
U have to try...and if u are lazy and u prefer to wait your family in this little village, the spa offers u personal program!
The Terme offers u
Phisioterapic treatments and more
There are special offer for Therme&ski...very good prices!!!!!
Unfotunately the web site is only in italian, but i think that if u send them an e.mail they can give u some more info.
The both dominating mountains here are the Langkofrel group and the Sella massif . Only a few minutes walk away from the hundreds of cars parking around the Sellajoch one can see great and quite unperturbed sceneries.
The Dolomites are attractive all the year round. Most main roads are kept open all the Winter but be prepared that after strong snowfall and wind some roads might be closed for some time due to the danger of avalanches.
there are numerous hiking paths in the dolomiti region especially in the alpe di siusi .
for those who cannot do long hiking there is regular bus service from compatch to saltria in the alpe di siusi.
there are multiple cable cars and ski lifts from all the towns of the dolomites which takes you as close to the dolomites as possible
Auronzo is a pretty little town on a like that in winter is completely iced ....the center is developed along the main road and will be able to find many stores of glasses, from reading to sunglusses.
In fact this is the area of the most developed glasses industy in the world: so u can find good prices, 30% less than in othe itlaian town, on every brand......if u are looking for your prefered D&G, Gucci or Ray Ban sunglasses here u can find it.
Santo Stefano is small, but the road of the Cadore is a pretty place for one short pause. The church in the main public square reflect the syle of this zone.
Here you will be able also to find good stores of native produce, like the speck, the mountain butter or the local grappa . Also in this zone there are some glasse outlet, profit by this occasion cause the prices are truly a bargain!
Padola lies in the Upper Comelico Valley, close to the Austrian border, in a green valley at the foot of the Croda da Campo and the Ajarnola and surrounded by conifer woods and meadows.
Today Padola is the main tourist resort in Upper Comelico and offers to its guests excellent possibilities of ski mountaineering and ski excursions, excellent downhill slopes, the cross-country tracks and the ice-skating rink in winter.
In summer it is the ideal starting point for excursions to the beautifull picks, like Passo Tre Croci , cima Undici and more.
In Padola it is also possible to visit the Museum of Alpine Culture in Comelico.
In Padola there are the Therme, excelent Spa...have a look to my tips Relax after Ski in Padola
In Padola u can have a dogsled ride with the local school! or a ride with a horse sledge on the snow!