Sitting 1550 metres above sea level in the Brenta Dolomites Madonna di Campiglio is Italy’s premier ski resort. This elegant town rests between the Dolomites and the glaciers of Adamello and Presanella. The town became a tourist resort in the second half of the last century and has grown in stature into the premier ski resort it is today.
The variety of terrain in the surrounding countryside means that in winter several runs are open to the public climbing up to a height of 2600 metres. There is also no need to remove your skis as transport to the runs begins in the centre of the town.
With 57 lifts and one hundred and fifty kilometres of ski run the resort can cater for up to thirty one thousand people an hour; making it a busy resort in peak season. In addition to the runs there is a snow park and forty kilometres set aside for Nordic skiing. Plans are being made to connect the resort with the pistes in Pinzolo. The resort is already linked to Folgarida and Marilleva.
There are a variety of ski and snowboarding schools giving tuition at all levels and accommodation in the resort is plentiful and ranges from a selection of four star hotels to apartments and studios. There are two health spas in the resort, the Pinewood Centre being a prestigious centre offering a range of facilities for that relaxing time away from the slopes.
As well as traditional slope skiing and snowboarding the resort offers a number of other winter sporting activities. Sledding, toboggans and ice skating are all available in the town and surrounding areas.
Take time out to fish in the Alpine lakes and River Sarca or try cross country skiing from the Campo Carlo Magno. For something a little different try dog sledding, this is great fun and provides a novel way to take in the scenery. The Antartika Scuola Sleddog offers the opportunity to train as a rider or musher. Horse drawn sleighs are another popular attraction away from the slopes. They are available to hire from the centre of Madonna.
Ice climbing is a very different way to view the mountains as the north face of Cima Presella offers a good starting point for this sport whereas the Via Del Seracco will provide more of a challenge. Snow shoeing is a popular sport in the Dolomites, the back country trails are free but visitors new to the area are strongly recommended to hire a guide.
For those who fancy a respite from snow based activities there are a number of excursions available from the town.
Italy and art are synonymous and this area is no exception, the churches in the area all bear the hallmarks of the transition from Gothic to Renaissance and art lovers will find it impossible to tear themselves away from St Stephen’s Church. Standing on a granite rock overlooking the valley the whole south side is covered in a fresco of Simon Bascheni’s “Dance with Death”. Nature lovers will enjoy a trip to Centre of Glaciology on Mandron Mountain.
Once the sun goes down then Madonna comes to life. The nightlife in the resort is well known and don’t expect an early night if you want to sample one of the clubs or bars as they seldom really get going before late evening. Try the famous Zangola whose parties go on until four am. The club is situated outside the main resort but there is a bus that runs throughout the night to ferry partygoers back to their hotels.
There is no shortage of places to find something to eat and drink. Happy hour in Italian is “Uno merenda”; when skiers leave the slopes they normally head straight to the bars for a drink at this time.
This winding down period is a tradition of all ski resorts and Madonna is no exception. For those who don’t want alcohol that early in the day there are plenty of cafes offering tasty pastries and sodas as a start to the evening. The cafes are also a good place to have breakfast on the way to the slopes. The restaurants in Madonna cannot be described as “haute cuisine”, but there is plenty of good food on offer.
The altotestina cuisine is based on good cheese, pasta and polenta or try a typical cascina where the steaks are cooked on hot stones. For a bowl of pasta to be remembered try the Spaghetti Haus. There are also a number of nice restaurants outside the town which can be reached by snow cat, with a range of prices to suit all pockets throughout the resort.
Madonna is primarily about winter sports and the nightlife is only an addition to the many activities that can be undertaken here. For a holiday in a sophisticated resort, with quality skiing and something a little more Madonna di Campiglio is an excellent choice.
Cheap Ski Holidays is a trading name of Hello Sunshine ABTA number K2931 and an Agent for ATOL Protected Operators. a trading division of Hays Travel Ltd, who are Members of ABTA. ABTA and ABTA Members help holidaymakers to get the most from their travel and assist when things don't go according to plan. We are obliged to maintain a high standard of service to you by ABTA's Code of Conduct. For more information on ABTA, the Code of Conduct and the arbitration scheme available to you if you have a complaint, contact ABTA, 30 Park Street, London SE1 9EQ, Tel 020 3117 0581 www.abta.com.
Cheap Ski Holidays, 3 Byron House, Hall Dene Way, Seaham, County Durham, SR7 0PY. Company Reg. No 1990682