South of the Alps, the towering peaks of the Dolomites range dominate the landscape, and while a popular ski destination in winter, the summer here is also a great holiday option.
To many people the Dolomites are something of a secret anyway, but word is getting out about this staggeringly beautiful region, and its skiing (and summer holiday) potential. The Dolomite super-ski area comprises some 800 miles of slopes, including the Marmolada glacier, creating a network that rivals the Trois Vallées in France.
Beneath the sheer faces of the Dolomite mountain range, Cortina is the favourite destination for Milanese looking for a ski weekend. Skiers are spoilt for choice as Cortina is part of the enormous Dolomite super-ski region, but the après-ski and cuisine are also a big draw, giving you the chance to wander the boutique-lined streets looking as glamorous as possible.
After the snow melts, the mountain landscape morphs into lush green valley pastures and thick forests dotted with remote mountain huts and isolated villages, all set against a backdrop of the sharp rock formations of the Dolomites.
Mountain biking, trekking or climbing are the ideal ways to explore the countryside and there are a wide range of routes to suit people of all abilities and plenty of mountain restaurants to stop at for long leisurely lunches. Stay in quintessentially Italian rifugios, and get between them along trails, ladders and metal steps fixed into the rock faces that allow the non-climbers to experience some of the thrill of mountaineers in a much safer environment.