Belluno – Ponte nelle Alpi: The Bridge to the Dolomites
Once you leave Venice behind and head north towards the Dolomites, you may wonder for quite some time when you will ever see them.
And suddenly out of the haze, they appear on the horizon. Once you have reached Vittorio Veneto, you are already in the lower region of the Alpine zone. As you clear the last tunnel, you’ll see the beautiful Alpago valley on your right mirrored in Lake Santa Croce , with the peaks of the Dolomites shimmering above the water. In a short while, you’ll reach the unusually charming city of Belluno.
Belluno is a special city, with its own micro climate, protected by the mountains against the cold winds from the north. From ancient times it was a major hub on the trade route between the Republic of Venice and northern Europe. Belluno’s fortified towers were strategically important to Venice, acting as a kind of early warning system for the always endangered Republic. In those days the Piave River was used to transport metals and wood from Belluno which were used in construction and in the important ship building industry of Venice. Given its unique climate and the natural beauty of the Dolomites, the Venetians turned Belluno into their summer capital.
Today Belluno is a beautiful, quiet, clean, friendly small city with hidden romantic corners, good restaurants, an exciting “corso ” a walkway where young people chat and meet each other in piazzas with outdoor coffee houses and beautiful palazzi built in the Venetian style.
Belluno is also a great starting point for getting to know the region and participating in a wide range of outdoor activities and sports.
Activity and sports in the Belluno area:
Dolomites hiking and climbing:
The Parco Nazionale Dolomiti Bellunesi surrounds the city. There are endless hiking possibilities ranging from easy strolls to expert climbs. For info on the trails: http://www.dolomitipark.it/it/sentieri.cai.php.
Bicycling on the Dolomites:
A major road called “Lunga via delle Dolomiti” winds through Belluno and Ponte nelle Alpi, all the way to Cortina, and even beyond, to Dobbiaco/Toblach. It will soon become part of the long bicycle route through the Dolomites.
Bikers should be aware of the breathtaking mountain roads and pass in the area. You can rent mountain bikes and motorbikes locally and take tours with local alpine guides to the hidden areas.
Skiing on the Dolomites:
When it comes to skiing, it’s right around the corner, just a few km away at the Nevegal, which is illuminated for night skiing. For expert skiers, world-renowned slopes of Civetta, Alleghe, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Misurina are well within an hour’s drive.
Air sport on the Dolomites:
Windsurfers and hang gliders should know that the wind conditions are perfect on Lake Santa Croce, as well as off Mount Dolada .
Golfing on the Dolomites:
As for golfers, within a half an hour drive you will reach the high plateau of the Cansiglio and the romantic little town of Asolo with the beautiful golf club.
The region around Belluno offers endless opportunities for history buffs and art lovers. Here are just a few of them:
- A visit to Padova and its Scrovegni Chapel with the unique Giotto frescoes.
- Vicenza and the Teatro Olimpico where the famous architect Palladio built unique buildings of beauty of Palladio.
- Bassano del Grappa and its surroundings – on the footsteps of World War I.
So – I hope that this gives you dear visitor, a first taste of the Ponte nelle Alpi and Belluno region.
By Eva Fabian