The Italian Alps with a Stopover in Venice

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I’ll make this a short post! The first REAL trip Sean and I took together was to Italy to hike the Alta Via (“High Route”) 1 in the Dolomites. That was 2 years ago in September. The Dolomiti is one of the most beautiful places I have been lucky enough to trek – I’d say in the top 5 to date.

If you have not heard of the Dolomites, they are a stunning mountain range in the Northern Italian Alps. We spent 8 days trekking roughly 75 miles over mountain passes with some sleeps in some pretty sweet refuges (Sean’s favorite part of the trip). The high point of the trek reaches about 2,752 meters or 9,029′ feet. Being from Colorado, we didn’t experience any issues with altitude.

One thing I thought was interesting during the trek…. There were signs everywhere summarizing the wildlife in the area… yet there was not one bit of wildlife along the way. (Maybe a flock of birds once). The only animals we saw were sheep and dogs. Kind of sad really. An Ibex is supposedly one animal you are most likely to see…but nope, not even the poop droppings.

Venice is the major nearby airport, so in addition to amazing trekking days, we also got to enjoy this beautiful city. My favorite moment in Venice was when Sean and I ran through St. Marks square in the flooding rain, while everyone else was huddled under the shop awnings to stay dry. It made the list of one of my best life moments ever. And of course, I managed to capture a few quintessential snaps of the gondolas and canals.

The most well-know mountain town which served as our gateway to our trip was Cortina d’Ampezzo. You have seen Cortina if you ever watch elite ski competitions in the winter. It soo gorgeous. Mountains form the backdrop of the town…similar to Chamonix if you have been there. We’d like to make our way back to this town some day. Maybe for the Alpine Ski World championships in 2021 or the Milano-Cortina Olypmic Games in 2026.

Back to the Alta Via….There are many variations of the Alta Via. From what I gathered from the Dolomite Mountains website, there are 8 Alta Via (high routes) in all, each varying in lengths from 6 to 13 days to complete. Each trail traverses a section of the Dolomites from top to bottom, north to south. 

High level map of the various routes – not sure where 7 and 8 are!

The Alta Via 1 is the classic high route of the Dolomites and is also probably the easiest with some of the most beautiful views. Though I would think they are all provide pretty incredible views. There were 2 days of the trek I would consider super challenging, the rest were gentle on the knees. No toenails were lost!

You cannot camp along the route, you must stay in refuges (huts) or hotels along the way. We REALLY loved the refuges – as you would expect, they were nestled within the mountains, had some fabulous views and served up some amazing food and wine.

A Via Ferrata (“iron way”) is not part of this route, so if this type of thing is up your alley, you can always do this as an add on. A via Ferrata is a mountain route equipped with steel cables, ladders, and other fixed anchors, like wooden walkways and suspended bridges.  In theory, this sounds fun to me. But nope, no thanks. I might have a heart attack. Many Via Ferrata routes were built during the war in the early 1900’s to allow mountain troops to pass through inaccessible parts of the mountain range.

In my opinion, you don’t need a guide on this trip – unless you have someone who may need extra assistance. If not, go self-guided and save your money on Venice or shopping in Cortina – the trail is well marked.

The highlights of the trip for me were the jaw dropping, beautiful mountains we were surrounded by on a daily basis. Just gorgeous. Enjoy!

As always, thanks for joining me along on life’s adventures!

…i choose this….


This post is part of the 30-day November blogging challenge known as NanoPoblano2019. Our challenge is to write for 10 days, read others’ posts for 10 days, and share our posts for 10 days – could be to other social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or simply sharing with friends with a text link.

Check out this NanoPoblano2019 link and discover some talented writers/bloggers!


  1. Looks AWE-mazing. Sign me up!

    On Fri, Nov 8, 2019 at 7:19 AM i choose this…. wrote:

    > pam@ichoosethis posted: ” I’ll make this a short post! The first REAL > trip Sean and I took together was to Italy to hike the Alta Via (“High > Route”) 1 in the Dolomites. That was 2 years ago in September. The Dolomiti > is one of the most beautiful places I have been lucky enough to” >

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Those mountains are absolutely stunning!!! The path, the valleys, the view from up there, is incredible! Love those wonderful photographs, as well as the lovely ones from Venice…great post resulting from what must have been a very unforgettable journey! Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very nice, Pam! Such an incredible place!!! I think I’m going to have to try and convince Steve that we want to go here in 2021! (Already signed up for Greece again I. 2020). I also am saving your posts for reference!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m looking at your photos, Pam, and thinking that this has to be just about perfect. I would LOVE to see and experience this side of Italy. If only my husband would embrace hiking 😕

    This ‘refuge’ kind of hiking sounds like my kind of camping! Bonus points to the Italians! 🙂


    1. You and the WBA should do this together!! The huts were really nice and u can get a private room if you want one. The Italians get high marks on everything…I mean EVERYTHING. Shoes being at the top of the list. Haha.


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