The first time you see the high green pastures of the Alpe di Siusi ending abruptly at the base of the pink hued Sciliar Mountains you’ll catch your breath. Promise. It’s stunning! The juxtaposition between the two gorgeous features makes it that more dramatic. It really is breath-taking.
Add to it a few small towns, nestled in the valley with onion-domed church bell towers and you’ve got a place you’ll definitely want to spend some time exploring. Don’t forget the camera. You’ll want pictures of this beautiful part of Italy that actually used to be part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire before World War I. Italy got it after the war (for switching sides part way through World War I). So, you’ll hear German spoken first (or Ladin – the local language). You’ll wonder where you are when you look at your plate as well. Foods like sausages, dumplings and strudel make an appearance. It’s really a great experience to be in this region that feels like a world caught “in between”.
Castelrotto (Kastelruth), Fiè allo Sciliar (Völs am Schlern) and Siusi are the three main villages that dot the valley. All are well-maintained and provide a wide array of accommodation and restaurants to fit every taste and budget. Any of them will make a great base, but we like Castelrotto.
The Hotel Cavallino D’Oro is a good choice in town. Be warned – it is right under the bell tower which rings every quarter hour from 6am to 10pm. I personally had a love/hate relationship with the place. But, it’s a great location in the heart of town. Each room is uniquely decorated, clean and well-cared for. Breakfast is a fabulous buffet of yogurt, pastries, breads, eggs, meat and cheese. You can also eat dinner here. Simply tell them in the morning if you will be dining with them and they’ll set a place for you and add it onto your bill. The dinners are good as is the overall service. The staff will help you out with any request. If you want, head to one of the other restaurants in town for dinner or make the short trip to Fiè or Siusi. From simple meals to more extravagant fare, there really is something for every taste. There’s a bus system running between the towns so getting around is easy.
This area of the Dolomites is great for hiking and mountain biking in summer and skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing and snowshoeing in winter. You can take the Panorama chairlift from Compaccio up to the Alpenhotel. But, to get to Compaccio most of the year, you’ll need to take the Seiser Alm cableway from the town of Siusi. It’s a 15 minute, 4300 meter trip up with 800 meters of vertical gain. The views are worth it and there are great trails for both hiking and mountain biking. If you’re a snow bunny, then you’ll have your fill of great runs and trails. There are also wonderful trails all around the area, so there are loads of choices.
The Alpe di Siusi is truly an outdoor lovers paradise and worth the trip north if you are going to be in the Venice or Verona area. It’s really one of those places that will take your breath away with its natural beauty. What are you waiting for? Contact us for more information. And a quick P.S. – We’re heading back here in mid-September and can’t wait to see this gorgeous area again. We’ll be researching more accommodations, restaurants and activities. Stay tuned!