Dolomites – How we travelled to the wrong Santa Maddalena

Beloved Mountains

We love mountains. They are fascinating and very inspiring. One of the most famous mountain ranges in Europe are Dolomites. You can often see those amazing photos online. Most of them are taken in two spots.

Best spots in Dolomites

One of them is majestc peaks of Tre Cime di Lavaredo. We dedicated an entire blog entry to describe our visit there. Second spot is an idyllic alpine village of Santa Maddalena with the massive summits towering right behind it. The picture with small stone church and peaceful, green, rural neighbourhood composed with those beautiful mountains had an impact on our imaginations.

Falzarego Pass

Santa Maddalena val di Casies

In 2016, thanks to our lovely friends we had an awsome place to stay right at the foothills of Dolomites. We had a busy schedule at a time and wanted to see as much of Italy as possible. We organized one day to travel to the famous village and enjoy the alpine scenery on the way.  We saw some amazing spots on the way – mountain peaks, lakes and quiet villages. Finally the GPS led us to Santa Maddalena.

UPS, where are the famous peaks?

Something was not right, though. The views that we had stuck in our heads were nowhere to be found. It turned out that we are in the wrong village and  the one we are looking for is 4-hour drive away. We were a bit disappointed but we still had an amazing time on our way there. We started to plan our next journey to Dolomites almost straight away!

Cortina d’Ampezzo

Right in the middle of Dolomites you can find a town, the Queen of the Dolomites – Cortina d’Ampezzo. It is famous for winter sports and it is an excellent spot to explore the region. You can make it to Misurna in less than 30-min drive. In the town center, you can find a main street that is lined with shops and cafes and always busy with tourists. Neighbourhood is incredible. You can enjoy skiing in the winter, hiking and mounteneering in the summer.

Falzarego Pass

Not far from Cortina, we came across Falzarego Pass. You can park your car at the attitude of 2100m above sea level and head to the cable car. The weather was quite changable when we were there. Some white clouds were obscuring the view and covering the peaks.

The cable car took us to 2762m where we could marvel at the scenery a long as we wanted. It is a historic spot as well. Some bloody battles occured here durring World War I. To reach fortifications in high mountains soldiers built tunnels and ladders. You can walk their supply routes to experience the story and the landscape.

Santa Maddalena val di Funes

The route from Cortina to the “right” Santa Maddalena is an interesting experience. It is very narrow and winding across the mountains. Some places it is not wide enough to fit 2 vehicles. The effort is totally worth it as the views are unbelievable. Santa Maddalena val di Funes turned out to be a very peaceful, quiet and charming town. It is a nice change after the touristy Cortina d’Ampezzo. In the village green slopes dominate the landscapes and you can find traditional alpine housing here and there. We drove up to the church and we were the only people on the hill.  The place was just for us.

We drove to the village  in 2017, but the images of this place had been in our heads for at least 3 years. We were so happy that we finally made it.

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