Alta Pusteria, in the eastern area of the South Tyrol, where Tre Cime di Lavaredo rise iconically from amongst the jagged Dolomites of northern Italy, could easily be one of the most beautiful places on the planet.
So, when Christian Pircher, owner of Hotel Adler in the town of Villabassa, invited me and Tom Weber, The Palladian Traveler, to come and see what the Alta Pusteria had on offer during the summer, we happily accepted. All we had to do was participate in as many feasible summertime adventures as possible, taste lots of wonderful wine and food and visit typical local artisans to sample and discuss their various products.
Zooming up the A22 autostrada in Tom’s smart white Audi, I tried to snap off a few photos. Entering the mountainous area heading for the Brenner Pass and the border with Austria never fails to excite me.
Villabassa is a pretty little Tyrolean town nestled between Brunico and Dobbiaco, surrounded by the most spectacular scenery imaginable. Having visited previously with Tom for settimana bianca (white week) in January, when everything was blanketed in snow, I was already head over heels in love with the Dolomites and was looking forward to visiting in warmer weather. And indeed it was: blue skies and balmy sunshine for almost our entire visit.
Food and wine at the Hotel Adler is superb, as the kitchen is expertly run by Helene Markart, who has even written her own recipe book, Kitchen Magic of the Dolomites.
The Hotel Adler is comfortable, with plenty of oak fittings and the warm Tyrolean style one would expect to see in the mountains. There is a lounge with an open fire for winter and the bar and restaurant are truly inviting. Bedrooms are absolutely immaculate. This four-star hotel has a terrific pool and spa too. An outdoor beer garden is open during the summer.
Nothing is too much trouble when it comes to making sure your stay is a perfect experience. Germano, a member of staff at the hotel, acted as our guide when we walked around Lago di Braies. He was terrific company and full of information and fun. Rosemarie, on the front desk, is a power-house of efficiency and she helped to arrange our visits to the dairy, speck producer, herb farm and jam factory, all of which will be illustrated in my up-coming blogs on this action-packed trip to the Dolomites.
Keep an eye out also for my hair-raising adventures while circumnavigating the Tre Cime of Lavaredo, our 42 kilometre bicycle ride to Lienz in Austria and the traversing of Lago di Braies. Coming soon!