Milions of tourists visit Italy each year. It seems that they are interested mostly in cultural and historical herritage. Qeues in Vatican go for kilomiters and ancient Forum Romanum is incredibly crowded. In some cities like Pisa or Venice you can hardly pass down the street because of the amount of people around. Bus sightseeing tours go from one city to another to quickly check as many attractions as possible and fill up the initiary to the limits. Are Dolomites among them?
We love to escape crowded cities and we adore nature. We feel great among green hills and rocky peaks, far from anything. We even used to live on the desert. Mountains give us a sense of freedom. Vast open spaces and picturesque landscapes fuel our souls.
In sunny Italy, you can find a lot of places of natural beauty. When you plan your visit, you should think about it and do not limit your initiary to the most visited places. Dolomites are one of the most stunning and georgous montains that we have seen. 3-hour drive from the airport in Venice or Milan and you are there! Our inner travel and explorer could not wait to venture forth on one of the amazing trails in southern Alps.
Tre Cime di Lavaredo – Three Peaks
There are some peaks that inspire thousands of mountaineers. Their majestic, raw beauty is a magnet for explorers. Sometimes, it is even hard to look away. First peak like that, which we felt in love with was Half Dome in Yosemite, California. We hiked it back in 2011. We are not the only ones to be amazed by it. You can find a shape of Half Dome in famous outdoor company logo – The North Face. Another peak that we loved was Matterhorn, but we were still thinking about famous Dolomites and it’s Three Peaks – Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Finally we managed to get there and witness its beauty.
How to get there?
We flew to Venice Treviso from Poland and we rented a car at the airport. As soon as you leave the city, you can see the Dolomites towering on the horizon. After 3-hour drive, we made it to Misurina. The circuit trail that goes around Tre Cime starts at a mountain shelter – Rifugio Auronzo. To get there, you need to pass the toll road or hike from the village. We were a bit pressured by time so we chose to pay 25€.
Four shelters and three storms
The trail around Tre Cime is 9,5km long.. You can finish it in around 4h without stops and the total elavation difference is 400m. The Auronzo shelter is a start point and the first bit of the path runs flat. You can marvel at the alpine meadows and valleys. Flowers and rock walls are simply stunning. We met pretty much all kind of people on the trail: families with childrens, photographers from around the globe, alpinists with some serious equippment heading for “via ferrata”.
Second shelter on the route is Rifugio Lavaredo. We walked pass a shrine on the edge of the cliff and we could already see the Lavaredo hutt. The weather was quite changeable. Down at the airport next to Venice, it was 33 degrees, up here in the mountains it was barely 17. As we learned in Norway: “there is no bad weather, only bad clothing”, so we came well prepared. As we passed the shelter, a short ascent started. We made it quicly to the top and could already see the famous face of Tre Cime di Laverado. We could see more and more with every step we took. We spent a while enjoying the views but dark clouds started gathering, so we rushed to the next shelter.
From Rifugio Locatelli one can admire the beauty of Three Peaks from the most famous angle. We made it to shelter just as the storm began. Thunders were roaring in the valley and we could bearly see the mountains. After 10 minutes the sun was back. We went out to enjoy the views and snap some pictures. It is an incredible spot for coffee, too. According to the Mike it was the best spot on the hike. Clouds were speeding across the see and it did not take long for a second storm to start. We luckily bearly moved as we were busy taking pictures, so we managed to hide again in the Rifugio Loctelli.
Next part of the trail took us very close to Tre Cime. We had to look almost straight up to see the tops of the peaks. We came across a little pond and the rocky summits were towering in the background. The view was absolutly mesmerizing and according to Wiola that was the best spot during the entire hike. It reflects the natural beauty that made dolomites world famous.
Next we walked pass the last shelter on the trail – Lange Alm. As we were approching the parking lot and Rifugio Auronzo, another storm started. Last 20 minutes we walked in rain and strong wind. We were walking as fast as possible to the rythm made by the bells hanging on the cows’ necks. They were gathering on the trail in big herds to keep themselves warm. Fortunatelly, it was not far to the parking lot and our tiny but warm car…