I have had the opportunity to get to know Belluno and its environs on several occasions and seasons, starting right from its province, which is varied in its territory in terms of geography and the suggestions it offers.
“The strongest impressions I had as a child belong to the land where I was born, the valley of Belluno, the wild mountains that surround it and the very nearby Dolomites.”
Belluno and its surroundings, what to see
I was asked with curiosity, and why not also with amazement, why I often visited an area so far from the usual tourist destinations (with the exception – obligatory – of Cortina d’Ampezzo). This travel narrative of mine is therefore meant to be a tentative answer to that question.
So let’s set out to discover Cortina, Longarone, Vajont, Pieve di Cadore, Lake Misurina: here’s what to visit in the province of Belluno.
All the glamour of Cortina d’Ampezzo
I met the electrifying white of Cortina d’Ampezzo, a tourist destination in every season for the wonderful location in the heart of the Dolomiti Bellunesi (UNESCO World Heritage Site) but also a glamorous setting for the vitality it offers with trendy clubs and an array of services and stores to satisfy multiple tastes and needs. Hospitality is the key that opens Cortina’s doors: its long tourist tradition certainly consolidates a focus on travelers in the knowledge that it represents one of the main centers in the Dolomites for excursions, travel, and sports activities.
Also from a gastronomic point of view in the numerous restaurant activities in the city center, I was able to note the special offer: in fact, it is precisely in Cortina that the flavors and traditions of South Tyrol are skillfully declined together with the culinary traditions of the Veneto region. In both summer and winter, it offers special consideration for children’s activities, especially at the sports level: mountain biking, skiing, hiking. In addition, inparchi tematici per bambini, the museums on the Great War and the route with the Dolomites train allow people to learn more about the area and experience a closer contact with nature that is sure to remain impressed on adults and children alike. The Corso Italia with the Piazza Venezia and the Cortina Cooperative, one of the oldest in Italy, make for a great walk through the heart of the city as it looks proudly to the future, particularly to 2021, the year it will host the Alpine Ski World Cup.
Longarone and the Vajont Dam
Leaving Cortina, the laughing and sunny aspect of the Bellunese surroundings, the other side of this area that has struck both head and soul is surely the visit to Longarone, a small town in the Bellunese area that was the protagonist of the Vajont tragedy of 1963 caused by the landslide of Mount Toc in the artificial reservoir. The environmental and human disaster claimed more than 1,900 lives: today the memorial sites of that distant October 9 remain. In particular, I was struck by a visit to the small towns of Ertoe and Casso(formerly the province of Pordenone), places of unspoiled nature that accentuate, in their idyllic landscape, the culpability of faulty planning on fragile nature.
Since 2007, the crowning of the Dam has been passable for visits open to the public. The Museum of Vajont and the Monumental Cemetery with the nameless tombstone in an endless white expanse, in their essentiality are able to convey the magnitude of one of the most painful pages of our history, constantly bringing attention back to the need for human interventions that respect nature and the environment.
Having seen films, plays (such as Paolini’s) and read documents and memoirs do not anesthetize the regret and melancholy it takes to see the places and signs of the many broken lives.
The enchantment of Pieve di Cadore and its surroundings
After getting to know these two great hubs famous for such different reasons in the province of Belluno, I stayed for a few days in Cadore, an enchanting place from a naturalistic point of view where Pieve di Cadore undoubtedly represents one of the most interesting centers: a visit to the house where Titian was born is certainly an interesting destination as is listening to the Ladin language, which is widespread and rooted with pride throughout the valley and which can be perceived sharply in the various locales, perhaps while sipping an excellent beer. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) A worthwhile excursion is certainly a walk to Lake Misurina, with its deep blue waters reflecting the majesty of the three peaks of Lavaredo and the ancient legends associated with its wonder. A summer afternoon in the midst of nature and the silence of this gem nestled among the peaks is absolutely rejuvenating!
Discovering Belluno, what to see?
At the end of my journey to the Belluno sights of the Veneto region, I finally arrived in Belluno.
In every season, even the most inaccessible ones, road maintenance is excellent, allowing quick travel throughout the Belluense province. What surprises the traveler is, in my opinion, the interplay of shapes that the city of Belluno offers: the ancient gates, the soft round domes, quickly immerse us at a glance in the crossroads that this city represents in the eastern Dolomites. Surprising sights in the city founded by Celts and Venetians certainly include the civic library (Crepadona Palace) with its unmistakable arcade, the basilica of St. Martin with its oriental-style bell tower, and the Martyrs’ Square with the Liston promenade.
Among the museums I recommend is definitely the MIM, the Interactive Museum of Migration: from Veneto, the land of many emigrants, the history of Italian migration has been reconstructed with an eye on contemporary and modern immigration. Because of its modern and interactive style, it is also suitable for school-age children.
All the nuances of Belluno are well rendered by the writer Buzzati, who was born here: in his pages, the city is described between reality and fantasy, poetry and mystery, as is characteristic of the author’s style.
Among the many typical Bellunese dishes that stick in the memory of the trip have a prominent place the many typical cheeses among which stands out the Shitz (a cheese that is enjoyed after sautéing it in a pan with butter), as well as the well-known dumplings and casunziei (stuffed ravioli) and tasty local beer.
In this corner of the Dolomites there is therefore the possibility of spending a few days with different experiences depending on the season chosen, in a mixture of emotions and sensations ranging from history to nature, from traditions to art, opening up a rich array of opportunities for the whole family.