Cortina d'Ampezzo

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Anpezo (Ampëz)
Comune di Cortina d'Ampezzo
Cortina Corso Italia 1.JPG
Coat of arms of Cortina
Coat of arms
Cortina is located in Italy
Location of Cortina in Italy
Coordinates: 46°32′N 12°08′E / 46.533°N 12.133°E / 46.533; 12.133Coordinates: 46°32′N 12°08′E / 46.533°N 12.133°E / 46.533; 12.133
Country Italy
Region Veneto
Province Belluno (BL)
Frazioni see list
 • Mayor Andrea Franceschi
 • Total 254.51 km2 (98.27 sq mi)
Elevation 1,224 m (4,016 ft)
Population (1 January 2008)
 • Total 6,150
 • Density 24/km2 (63/sq mi)
Demonym Ampezzani or Cortinesi
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 32043
Dialing code 0436
Patron saint St. Philip and James
Saint day May 3

Cortina d'Ampezzo (pronounced [kor.ˈ dam.ˈpɛ]; Ladin: Anpezo, Ampëz, ) is a town and comune in the southern (Dolomitic) Alps located in Veneto, a region in Northern Italy. Located in the heart of the Dolomites in an alpine valley, it is a popular winter sport resort known for its ski-ranges, scenery, accommodations, shops and après-ski scene. After the scheduled 1944 Winter Olympics had been cancelled because of the Second World War, it hosted the 1956 Winter Olympics as well as various world cup events and motion pictures. Much of 1963 classic The Pink Panther, the progenitor of the series, was filmed in Cortina. One of the memorable James Bond stunt sequences in 1981's For Your Eyes Only, gunners on spike-wheeled motorcycles chasing Roger Moore on skis, was filmed on its slopes, as were several scenes in the film Cliffhanger. It is known for its jet set and aristocratic European crowd.[citation needed]



The discovery in 1987 of a primitive tomb at Mondeval de Sora high up in the mountains to the south of Cortina testifies to the presence of Mesolithic man in the area as far back as the 6th millennium B.C.[1][2] In the 6th century B.C., Etruscan writing was introduced in the province of Cadore.[3] From the 3rd century B.C., the Romans assimilated the Veneti people, giving the area the name of Amplitium (from amplus meaning wide), today's Ampezzo.[4][5]

Middle Ages[edit]

No historical information exists on the Cadore region from the fall of the Roman Empire until the Lombard period. It is assumed that during the Barbarian invasions, the inhabitants fled to the Fassa, Badia, Cordevole and Ampezzo valleys.[6]

In the Middle Ages, Ampezzo fell under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Aquileia, and of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1420, the village was conquered by the Republic of Venice. In 1508 it was conquered by Austria, and by 1511 people of Ampezzo swore loyalty to the Emperor Maximilian. Although remaining a Habsburg possession until 1920, aside from being home for an ethnic German-speaking minority, Ampezzo never became a German-speaking territory and conserved its original language, Ladin, a Rhaeto-Romance language.

Until 1918, the town was part of the Austrian monarchy (in Austrian region after the compromise of 1867), head of the district of Ampezzo, one of the 21 Bezirkshauptmannschaften in the Tyrol province.[7]

20th century[edit]

When Italy entered the First World War in 1915, most of the male inhabitants were fighting for Austria on the Russian front. Six hundred and sixty-nine (669) male inhabitants (most of them under 16 or over 50) tried to fight the Italian troops. Outnumbered by the Italians, they had to retreat. After the Austrian recovery in 1917, the town was occupied again by the Tyrolese Standschützen. Following Italy's victory in World War I, Ampezzo was finally given to Italy.

After the war the city was renamed "Cortina d'Ampezzo" (Curtain of the Ampezzo Valley), adopting the name of one of the six villages that made up the territory of Ampezzo, located in the middle of the Ampezzo valley.

Already an elite destination for the first British tourists in the late 18th century and early twentieth, Cortina d'Ampezzo became a favourite resort for upper-class Italians as well after World War I. After the winter Olympics were held there in 1956, Cortina became a world-renowned resort, experiencing increased mass tourism. Cortina Airport was built for the Games, but is currently closed.

Geography and climate[edit]

View down into Cortina from Monte Faloria.

Cortina is situated at the top of the Valle del Boite in the Dolomites, and is positioned between Cadore (to the south) and the Puster Valley (to north), Val d' Ansiei (to east) and Agordo (to the west). It is encircled 360° by the Dolomites. Among the more famous mountains are Tofane to the west, Pomagagnon to the north, Cristallo to the northeast, Faloria and Sorapis to the east, and Becco di Mezzodì, Croda da Lago and Cinque Torri to south. The city centre is located at an elevation of 1,224 metres (4,016 ft), although the highest summit is that of the Tofana di Mezzo, which towers at 3,244 metres (10,643 ft). There is a significant water presence in the territory, in the form of torrents, streams and little lakes (Ghedina, Pianozes, d'Ajal), which fill particularly during the summer snow-melt season. Fauna include marmots, roe deer, chamoises and hares.

View of Cortina

The Ampezzano climate is typically alpine, with short summers, and long winters that vacillate between frigid, snowy, unsettled, and temperate. Between the end of December and 1 January every year, some of the lowest temperatures recorded in Italy are in this region, particularly in heights of the Cimabanche Steppe, the area on the border between the provinces of Belluno and Bolzano. The average seasons are generally rainy, cold, and very windy.


Acquabona (Agabòna), Alverà, Bigontina (Begontina), Cadelverzo (Cadelvèrzo), Cademai, Cadin (Ciadìn), Campo (Ciànpo), Chiamulera (Ciamulèra), Chiave (Ciàe), Cianderìes, Coiana (Cojana), Col, Cortina, Crìgnes, Doneà, Fiames (Fiàmes), Fraìna, Gilardon (Jilardòn), Gnòche o Gràa, Guargné, Lacedel (Lazedèl), Manaigo, Majon, Melères, Mortisa (Mortìja), Pecol (Pecòl), Pezié, Pian da Lago, Pocol (Pocòl), Rònco, Salieto, Socol, Staulin (Staulìn), Val, Verocai, Vera (Vèra), Zuel (Zuèl)


The town voted in October 2007 to secede from the region of Veneto and join the neighboring region, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. Cited motivations include cultural ties with the small Ladin-speaking community in South Tyrol and a desire for lower taxes. The referendum is not executive and a final decision on the matter can only be taken by law of the Italian parliament with consent of both regional councils of Veneto and Trentino-Alto Adige. [8][9][10]


Cortina is situated more or less to the centre of the Ampezzana valley, encircled nearly completely by the high Dolomites. Originally it was composed of numerous frazioni, isolated villages and hamlets, but with the advent of the tourism from the 1950s it grew rapidly. Only the furthest villages and hamlets in the commune have remained secluded and isolated from the main town, which today is known for its shopping. Cortina is home to some of the most prestigious names in fashion, including Bulgari, Benetton, Gucci and Geox, and various artisan shops, antiquarians, and craft stores. It is also home to many stores which specialize in mountaineering equipment.

Cortina d'Ampezzo centre.

However, the symbol of Cortinese shopping remains La Cooperativa di Cortina, founded on June 28, 1893 under the name of Consumverein Ampezzo. In this shopping centre many trades can be found, from confectioners to newspaper vendors, toys, gift shops, skiing stores and blacksmiths. The building is divided into three levels (more a raised plan and a balcony). The cooperative in Cortina was one of the first cooperatives founded in the Italian Peninsula, and currently provides employment to approximately 200 people. Near the bridge on the Bigontina River is the Town Hall, a palace in the Tirolese style.

Piazza Venezia houses several popular spots. The Ciasa de ra Regoles is one of the more important legal buildings in Cortina, where the "regolieri" — a council for the local villages that stood before the town merged — trained the community and gave administrative orders. In the same building today is also found the office of the Scuola Sci Cortina, Cortina's skiing school.

Cortina d'Ampezzo
Location Italy
Nearest city Belluno
Top elevation 2,930 meters (9,610 ft)
Base elevation 1,224 meters (4,016 ft)
Runs 101 (140 km (87 mi))
Longest run 11 kilometers (6.8 mi)
Lift system 30 chairlifts, 6 gondolas, 15 surface lifts
Website Cortina Dolomiti


The Hotel Miramonti where James Bond stayed in Cortina d'Ampezzo

Cortina d'Ampezzo was the host town of the 1956 Winter Olympics. The 1944 Winter Olympics were also scheduled to be held in Cortina, but were cancelled because of World War II. The 1927 Nordic, 1941 Nordic and 1941 Alpine World Skiing Championships were held in Cortina as well, although the 1941 Nordic championships were withdrawn by the FIS in 1946. The region lost the bid for the 1988 Winter Olympics to Calgary, Canada and the 1992 Winter Olympics to Albertville, France.[11]

Cortina d'Ampezzo hosted the Red Bull Road Rage in 2009.[12]

The city is home to SG Cortina, a professional ice hockey team currently playing in the country's top division, Serie A1.

Cortina was the home of Olympic bobsledder Eugenio Monti, who was the first winner of the de Coubertin medal for fair play.

Cortina is also the start and end point of the annual Dolomites Gold Cup Race, a historic reevocation event for production cars on public roads.


c. 1920 travel poster for Cortina d'Ampezzo

The surroundings of Cortina have been the location for a number of movies, including mountain climbing scenes for Cliffhanger, Krull and The Pink Panther. The resort was a major location for the James Bond 007 film For Your Eyes Only, including action sequences set against a backdrop of various winter sports and one of the most famous ski chase sequences in film, where Roger Moore as Bond has to escape a crew of assassins on spike-wheeled motorcycles, his route taking them all onto the bobsleigh run. The actual town centre was the scene of the first attack on Bond and his partner Melina Havelock (Carole Bouquet) by two motorcyclists who attempted to run them over, only for Bond to eliminate them both. [1] Other action scenes were filmed in the 1956 Winter Olympics's plants (Trampolino Olimpico, Stadio Olympica, Olympic bobsled track Eugenio Monti).

Cortina d'Ampezzo hosted the 1953 Miss Italia contest, won by Marcella Mariani.

Audrey Hepburn was a frequent visitor to the slopes of Cortina.

After Ernest Hemingway's wife Hadley lost a suitcase filled with Hemingway's manuscripts at the Gare de Lyon in Paris he took a time off. He began writing that same year again in Cortina d'Ampezzo and the story he wrote here was: Out of Season.

Close to Cortina d'Ampezzo is San Vito di Cadore.

International relations[edit]

Twin towns / sister cities[edit]

Cortina is twinned with:

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "The Mesolitic Site of the Mondeval Man". Rifugio Passo Staulanza. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  2. ^ "Modeval de Sora". Provincia belluno dolimiti. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  3. ^ Laura Montagnaro. "Venetic: 6th century B.C. – 1st century B.C.". Mnamon. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  4. ^ "The Romanisation between the third and the second century BC". Regione del Veneto. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  5. ^ "Cortina d'Ampezzo, Son Pauses Toponomastica ed etimologia" (in Italian). Il Fronte Dolomitico. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  6. ^ "Cortina and its history". Scuola Italiana Sci: Cristallo Cortina. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  7. ^ Die postalischen Abstempelungen auf den österreichischen Postwertzeichen-Ausgaben 1867, 1883 und 1890, Wilhelm KLEIN, 1967
  8. ^ Duff, Mark (2007-10-30). "Europe | Italian ski resort wants to move". BBC News. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  9. ^ "Cresce la Voglia di Trentino Alto Adige Quorum Raggiunto a Cortina d'Ampezzo". La Repubblica (in Italian). 28 October 2007. Retrieved 22 May 2011. 
  10. ^ "Cortina Vuole Andare in Alto Adige". Corriere della Sera (in Italian). 29 October 2007. Retrieved 22 May 2011. 
  11. ^ "1992 Winter Olympic Games". Canadian Ski Museum. Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
  12. ^ "Red Bull Road Rage 2009" (in Italian). Retrieved 16 July 2013. 

External links[edit]