An expert guide to ski holidays in Cortina d’Ampezzo

Cortina is Italy’s most upmarket resort and attracts a lot of weekenders – many wealthy residents of Venice and Milan arrive to stay in their second homes here. Chic shops and galleries selling expensive art, designer clothes, jewellery and furs line the street – alongside an amazing four-story Cooperativa department store, selling everything from food and drink through to clothing and footwear, DIY gear, electronic gadgets, luggage and kids’ toys.  

The central, car-free, cobbled Corso Italia and Piazza Angelo Dibona area is delightful, and a lovely place both to walk around and to stay. A floodlit 65m-high green and white bell tower adds to the atmosphere, as do the lovely old buildings housing hotels, restaurants and coffee and cake shops. Après ski is mainly quiet and refined rather than raucous and lively.

Most visitors are Italians and many don’t go anywhere near the slopes – instead they come to be seen strolling around town in their finery. That makes the pistes relatively quiet much of the time. At 5pm, though, the central car-free Corso Italia area is packed with window-shoppers in fur coats, partaking in the traditional Italian early-evening passeggiata, with virtually no one wearing ski gear.

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