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20 July 2013

The Town of Corvara in South Tyrol, Italy


It's that time of the year again. Summer struck and my husband and I asked the same question to ourselves like every single year for the past thirteen years. Mountain or sea? We know fully well the answer to that question and we also know perfectly well that we will not go through a summer without going to the Dolomites. It's a therapy for us to see the spectacular Italian alps, to breathe the cool, fresh air, to get tired from hiking, to set the kids free in the innumerable playgrounds and well, to relax. That's what vacation stands for, doesn't it?


This year, we skipped the town where we always go to. We have long thought of going for some changes. More than a decade (and 30 years for my husband) of staying in the same place can become too redundant even if it's one of the most splendid places to go to. Solution? We decided to stay at the other side of the Dolomites. This time, we opted for the side B of the mountains.


We stayed in two towns, Bressanone (Brixen) and Corvara for trial in getting a feel of the places. Bressanone is a beautiful city, bigger than Corvara and has some splendid sights and trails but unfortunately, we didn't get so much chance to explore them because our daughter came down with high fever that we stayed mostly in the hotel and the hospital. But I have some pictures to show you and I will put them all in another post.


Let's speak about Corvara.  It's a small/medium-sized town at the foot of the Sassongher mountain, set comfortably in a valley at 1,568 m. (3,281 ft.). It's a typical mountain town with small wooden colored buildings lining the roads, grass, trees & flowers everywhere and a stream curving its way in one part of the town.


At the edge of the town, there is the Biotope Lake of Soscofes (picture above) where you can get a good spot under the sun and relax in one of their three natural ponds.


From Corvara and the surrounding towns of Badia and La Villa (Stern), there are lakes and points of departures for chairlifts to go higher on the mountains where there are more walking & biking trails. The panorama, I don't think I need to say, is breathtaking from the higher points.


In Corvara, there are two points of departures for lifts, Col Alto and Boè. Col Alto goes to Col Alt at 1,980 m. (6,496 ft.) where you can walk for about quarter of an hour to reach the next chairlift, Braia Fraida.  This takes you to a plateau of around 2,000 m. (6,561 ft.) where the very gentle slopes of grass and wildflowers are perfect for a relaxed walking with the kids. There are a number of rifugi (mountain huts) to reach like I Tabla and Piz Arlara where we have been.





Alta Badia, the area where Corvara is, has started a very interesting gastronomic summer trend with the participation of chefs, some Michelin-starred, to promote the South Tyrolean products. The theme is called "Picnic Gourmet", which also promotes the rediscovery of picnics which, in turn also pushes for more walking in nature.


Above is the Rifugio I Tabla (Mountain Hut I Tabla) where we had tagliatelle with mushrooms and speck. The other plate, another traditional South Tyrolean dish, quite on the heavy side but nonetheless wonderful, is stinco di maiale (ham hock) with polenta. I can't help gaining a few pounds when I am at the Dolomites.



About a 15-minute walk from I Tabla is Rifugio Piz Arlara (Mountain Hut Piz Arlara) (pictures above), even if it took us around 40 minutes to reach it. With a family like mine where one member finds all the flowers interesting and whom we have to keep on restraining from picking the whole field and take home with her, one member on the other hand, finds all bugs and butterflies ultimately great and tries to catch them all at once, and well, another member stops every step to take pictures of exactly the same things. I guess you know who that is. Hubby is the only normal one.


I love food shopping and cooking whenever I am in the mountains. I know that it's a holiday and I shouldn't be really bothering myself with these things BUT it's already a part of vacationing that I cannot take away from myself.


The picture above is a platter of typical South Tyrolean food that I bought & prepared which are speck, canderli, wurstel and sauerkraut.


Just outside Corvara are the small towns La Villa and Badia. In La Villa, you can find Lago di Sompunt (Lake Sompunt). Pictures above.


At the next town, Badia, you can take the chairlift at Santa Croce to reach Rifugio Lee (Mountain Hut Lee) at 1,850 m. high (6,070 ft.). Rifugio Lee is a kid's paradise because of the unique playground and the short walking trail towards a lake done for kids.





The whole length of the trail is dotted with stamping stations of different kinds of animals where the kids can stop and stamp their maps with the corresponding wooden statues of the animals. It is an innovative way to make the kids walk (and stop complaining!) My own non-walker daughter would have walked 10 times more if there were more stamping stations around.  I applaud the ones who came up with the wonderful idea.



Just a few meters from Rifugio Lee is Rifugio Nagler (Mountain Hut Nagler), where we had a delicious and relaxing lunch. For pasta, we tried a traditional plate called cajinci, which is composed of mezzaluna (half moon) filled with ricotta & spinach then cooked with butter and parmigiano. Main course was my favorite South Tyrolean combination of goulash with canederli and well, I wouldn't pass up a chance to have my favorite dessert to cool me off, a big serving of vanilla ice cream with warm blueberry sauce. 


And that concludes my post about the beautiful town of Corvara where we have decided to move our summer holidays from now on. If you have kids, this is the perfect place for you. Believe me, it's the first time I can actually relax and not worry about them falling somewhere. The slopes are soft and the area's almost flat. 

My next post is about the holiday apartment we stayed in, Residence Chalet Mugun, which is another wonderful discovery in this trip. Then more on the other towns we visited. And yes, of course, some recipes that are already piling up in my computer! 

Enjoy your weekend everyone!  I hope you liked this post!

Site of Residence Chalet Mugun 
Site of Alta Badia Tourism Board (where Corvara is)