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I had wanted to go back to Alpe di Siusi for a long time, as it is one of the most beautiful mountain resorts in South Tyrol, north-east of Bolzano, on the western slopes of the Dolomites. A UNESCO world heritage site, defined by Le Corbusier as "the most beautiful natural architecture worldwide", the Dolomites offer panoramas of stunning variety and beauty.
Alpe di Siusi is the largest mountain pasture in Europe, with sunny slopes sheltered from the wind. It is a paradise for all winter sports, from downhill to cross-country skiing, from snowboarding to sledging. Walking in the snow at the foot of the Sciliar Massif, surrounding and framing all of Alpe di Siusi, is also great!
On a clear January Sunday, my wife and I got up early, hopped in our car and took the A22 motorway heading for the Brenner Pass. In little more than two hours, we reached Ortisei, where we parked our car to get to Alpe di Siusi by cableway, reaching an altitude of 6,561 feet in a few minutes, while being surrounded by spectacular mountains: the Groups of Sella, Sassolungo and Catinaccio and the Sciliar Massif. This beautiful landscape has not been warped by mass tourism and still retains an authenticity due to its being in keeping with its surroundings, still inhabited by shepherds and farmers.
We decided to enjoy the day walking, instead of skiing. We considered that, if we got tired of walking along those spectacular paths, we could get on a sleigh pulled by horses, connecting several mountain restaurants. Although the idea of being carried by a sleigh was tempting, we decided to admire the panorama at our slower pace. At lunchtime, we stopped and took some refreshment: dumplings, schüttelbrot - rye flour bread – smoked ham and hot polenta, accompanied by a glass of savoury gewürztraminer.