— english version —

Alta Badia lies in the heart of the mountainous chain of the Dolomites, which the famous architect Le Corbusier declared to be “the most beautiful work of architecture in the world”. The Fanes-Senes-Braies Natural Park and the Puez-Odle Natural Park, both of which are situated in Alta Badia, are part of the Dolomites and easily reachable from Venice or Milan.

A UNESCO World Heritage site since 2009, the Dolomites comprises a mountain range of 18 peaks which rise to above 3,000 meters, featuring breathtaking vertical walls, sheer cliffs and a high density of narrow, deep and long valleys.

Dolomites Alta Badia

The Dolomite range is famous for skiing but not only! It’s picturesque towns and villages such as San Cassiano, Corvara and Colfosco situated close to its mountain peaks, or cradled in its many valleys traversing Alta Badia, Val Gardena, Arabba and Val di Fassa make the Dolomites an ideal place to plan a holiday winter, spring or summer.

What really makes this area special, in addition to breathtaking scenery, is its excellence in hospitality and fine dining – indulging and satisfying the senses at high altitude is what they do best in Alta Badia. The Dolomites offer an amazing experience be it in winter for winter sports or summer for the sunny breezy days and cool evenings which allows one to trek, mountain climb, bike or walk in the dolomites or just visit the small villages and enjoy the wonderful light, intense green landscape, bight skies and sunshine.

Nestled at the foot of the mountains is the charming village of San Cassiano and one of my favorite villages, which over the years, has expanded to become a small town. San Cassiano houses a number of hotels and traditional Garni – ‘bed and breakfast’ style closer to Austrian hospitality than mediterranean Italian. In fact this area, which is often referred to as Südtirol, witnessed many a battle during the first World War, in which both sides were trying to defend its boarders from the invading army to the south and to the north of the Dolomite range. Today hospitality reigns and you can find accommodation to fit all pockets and to satisfy all levels of sophistication and style. Take a look at my suggestions in the where to stay at the end of the article.

View of San Cassiano

The Dolomites today offers a vast and ever growing chapter of fine dining. I have been coming to this area to ski for almost 20 years and I have seen how the fine dining is one of the key elements that attracts summer and winter tourism from all corners of the globe to this majestic destination.

Ristorante Mumant in San Cassiano is one of my ‘new’ favorites, run by young, emerging, creative Chef Manuel Mangutsch and his family. Housed in the family-run Garni Jasmin, restaurant Mumant emanates genuine good food vibes as soon as you cross its threshold. The décor is just right, not too traditional and not too modern, the service is spot on, papà Michil personally curates a very good wine list, mainly Alto Adige wines and some hidden jems represented by small local cellars. The venison tartare was just perfect and the rack of lamb was juicy and exquisite in texture, presented on a sizling volcanic lava plate which allows the meat to continue cooking to the desiderd point. Desserts are carefully curated by Manuel’s brother Hannes, while the entire operation is overseen by ‘mamma’ Brigitte.

Rack of Lamb at Ristorante Mumant

Veering towards a ‘cutting-edge’ dining experience is the Cocun Cellar Restaurant run by Jan Clemens Wiser. The dining experience is located in the (large meandering) wine cellar of Ciasa Salares Hotel, which stands just outside San Cassiano. Jan Clemens has personally selected 2.000 labels/19.000 bottles from some of the most funky, biodynamic and natural producers of Europe, many labels of course come from local producers in the area, as does the fresh seasonal produce that can be found in the equally creative menu. Surrounded by and sitting between rows of the bottles of wine your dining experience takes place sitting at massive wooden tables tastefully set out in separated areas, sectioned off by shelves of wines. This sets the atmosphere and pace, inviting you to explore further this fantastic selection and world of wines, many of which are offered by the glass.

Just a short drive down the valley from San Cassiano is Corvara. It’s a larger center with more of a larger town buzz going on here. A visit to Hotel La Perla will reveal a hidden jewel, which lies underground in its cellar, a unique mausoleum dedicated to Tuscany’s Tenuta’ San Guido’s eclectic wine, Sassicaia, comprising some 2000 bottles of its different vintages, in fact, an entire room dedicated to every single vintage from start to date of Sassicaia, one of Italy’s benchmark wines of excellence. Chef Simone Cantafio was recently awarded a Michelin star at La Stüa de Michil, La Perla’s historic authentic old ‘stube’ made up of many small dining rooms, special and symbolic of the local Ladino culture.

Once again ‘new’ to me in Corvara and highly recommended is Chef Nicola Laera’s Gourmet restaurant Burjé 1968, housed in the Hotel Arkadia. Nicola has unparalleled experience working as sous-chef in some of the area’s top Michelin starred restaurants. His cultural heritage is partly Puglia and partly Alto Adige, reflected in the combination of his dishes which are dictated by the ‘simple’ origins of his ingredients and raw materials. He is not a zero-kilometer fanatic, his philosophy is to have a direct relationship with growers, cheesemakers, fishermen and butchers in order to know what is behind a productin terms of quality, sustainability and ethics. Signature dishes here are Gran Sasso snails soup with sour butter, parsley and trout caviar and the sea-urchin burrata and crab sauce pasta are just to get your taste buds going. He is flanked by Massimo Di Berardino, highly skilled Sommelier who curates an excellent wine list of 400 labels.

Sea-urchin burrata and crab sauce pasta by Nicola Laera’s Gourmet restaurant Burjé 1968 Marco Sartor photographer

With so much fine dining it’s a good thing that the Dolomites and the area of Alta Badia offers so many paths for hiking, walking and bike trails, just so that one can justify all the good meals and wines. The good news is that if you are hiking or biking, there are plenty of great restaurants at altitude where you can stop for a simple meal and refreshments to a full gourmet meal. Mentioned below are a few long-standing favorites as well as some new exciting destinations.

Ristorante Club Moritzino restaurant and bar at 2100 metres, open in summer and winter offering some of the best and freshest fish which is flown in daily from Chioggia near Venice, is a long-standing favorite. Its tantalizing menu of fine fish dishes prepared by Chef Marco Spinelli includes fresh lobster, prawns and oysters, as well as pan fried bream, seabass, John Dory, Turbot and many more exquisite fish. The 1000 label wine list is curated by maître Francesco Scollo, he is your key ‘man’ at Moritzino. In the evenings, Alexander Craffonara, new generation owner of Club Moritzino offers great Tuscan steaks, a recent partnership created with Fiorentineria Boutique, and if you want to après ski party with outdoor DJ music, this is the best place.

Club/Ristorante Moritzino 2100 metres

Another favorite is Rifugio Ütia de Bioch Hut at 2029 meters, situated in the midst of the slopes, which not only offers excellent views, but also fine authentic Ladino dishes with a modern twist, accompanied by a wide selection of wines of 1400 labels of which 80% are dedicated to the wines of Alto Adige. Owner Markus Valentini is considered one of the top and best promoters of Alto Adige wines. It is well worth stopping for lunch to enjoy a good bottle of wine paired to excellent gourmet dishes that are a modern play on tradition. Be sure you visit the cellar.

Rifugio Ütia de Bioch Hut phot by Freddy Planinscheck

AhighlyrecommendedexcursionistoSecedaat2518meters,betweenAltaBadiaandValGardena. StopatSofie Chalet run by the Prinoth family. Here too you can discover 650 eclectic labels dedicated to Burgandy, Bordeaux, Champagne and Italy, including some top vintages. A must is a tour of the cellar with Markus and his son David Prinoth.

Markus and David Prinoth

Finally just to add one more unmissable stop on your walk or skis is Rifugio Edelweiss Ristorante La Stüa above Colfosco, where Chef Gigio will welcome you with some of his signature dishes, which according to my super ski instructor from https://www.skidolomites.it/ and qualified sommelier Christian Burchia, signature dishes are ‘plin di cervo’ and ‘punta di vitello’, accompanied by a well selected 250 bottle wine list represented with wines from France, Germany and Austria.

Alta Badia has some of the world’s top ski instructors and experienced mountain guides eager to show you around the beautiful scenic slopes. I have always relied on https://www.skidolomites.it/ for their ski instructors, some of which are qualified sommeliers, but all are knowledgeable on where to stop and eat in the mountains and which wines are best suited to the local cuisine. The ultimate pleasure is to be guided not only to good wine and restaurants but to have a safe and enjoyable experience on skis. An instructor knows the weather conditions, the snow conditions and the best and less busy slopes and descents to take and will always make sure that safety comes first.

Ski instructor Christian Burchia and Chef Gigio Rifugio Edelweiss Ristorante La Stüa

In winter one can ski, or join snow walking excursions, in summer it’s all about hiking, biking and mountain climbing at altitudes and steep gradients, as well as gentle walks in the pine forests and on mountain plateau. All the mountain restaurants at altitude are open both in the summer and the winter and reachable by taking the funiculars and ski lifts or by walking the mountain, at which point you will surely have worked up a healthy appetite for some well-deserved refreshments.

Treking in the Dolomites Alta badia

The Dolomite range is famous for its Sellaronda ski excursion of the four passes, which you can reach from San Cassiano, Corvara and Colfosco traversing four Ladino valleys Alta Badia, Val Gardena, Arabba and Val di Fassa, over some spectacular mountain scenery. Alta Badia’s extensive area of slopes which are all inter-connected with the Super Ski Dolomiti pass includes 450 lifts and 1200 slopes, which makes it easy to ski over to Cortina or Corvara or to the Marmolada glacier, one of the highest peaks, which reaches some 3350 metres. Views from here as from many other heights are amazing and this is what makes the Dolomites stand out above so many other ski destinations. The higher you go the longer the slopes, so don’t miss the Marmolada glacier and the 12km descent to Malga Chapela. Other excursions go towards Santa Croce, Cortina and the area of Lagazuoi. La Villa has numerous slopes such as the famous world cup black slope “Gran Risa”, where the legendary skier Alberto Tomba raced and won many competitions.

Santa Croce Church at 2045 meters Alta Badia

Each village has its ski-school with excellent qualified instructors. Ski Dolomites has four office locations in San Cassiano, La Villa, Piz La Ila and Armentarola https://www.skidolomites.it/ offering single and class lessons. It has been awarded with the GOLD seal of certification for ski school for children. Armentarola, just above San Cassiano has an excellent ski equipment rental shop with personalized service attended to by professional staff who will prepare your ski equipment in advance or in the shop where you can try on boots and be assisted by Ricky, Jacopo or Manuel who are some of the best ski consultants in the area.

For ski school and ski lessons and excursions contact:


lavilla@skidolomites.it Tel +39 0471844018 sancassiano@skidolomites.it Tel +39 0471840011 armentarola@skidolomites.it Tel +39 0471840001




Wellness Residence Ciasa Antersies – my choice for families and self-catering

Best situated and excellent value self-catering apartments in San Cassiano with great views and a small SPA that has everything you want for après ski relaxing.
Via Soplá, 12
San Cassiano in Badia (BZ)

info@ciasaantersies.it www.ciasaantersies.it Tel. +39 0471 849417

HOTEL GRAN CIASA (Traditional/modern style)

Str. Sorà 15, Colfosco
I-39033 Corvara in Badia (BZ) Alta Badia – Dolomites
Tel. +39 0471 836 138 https://www.granciasa.com/en/

BERGHOTEL LADINIA (Traditional in style)

Pedercorvara 10
Corvara in Badia
+39 0471 836010 https://www.berghotelladinia.it/en

Miraval NaturHotel

Str. Sompunt 19,

La Villa Alta Badia (BZ)
+39 0471 844 055 www.naturhotelmiraval.com


Via Colz, 59 39036
La Villa Alta Badia (BZ) (+39) 0471 847030 https://www.lamajun.it


Str. Runcac, 29
+39 0471 839 718 https://www.granander.it/en

For more information on the Dolomites where to stay where to eat you can explore this very useful website:



Ristorante Mumant

Str. Plan 11
San Cassiano in Badia – (Bolzano) +39 0471 849544 www.mumant.it

Cocun Cellar Restaurant

Hotel Ciasa Solares
San Cassiano in Badia – (Bolzano)
Tel: 39 0471 849445 https://www.ciasasalares.it/en/restaurants/cocun-cellar-restaurant

La Stüa de Michil

Strada Col Alt, 105,
Corvara in Badia – (Bolzano)
Tel: 0471 831000 https://www.laperlacorvara.it/it/la-stua-de-michil/ www.hotel-laperla.it

Burjé 1968 Gourmet

Str. Burjé, 11, 39033 Corvara in Badia BZ +39 0471 836043 https://www.burje1968.it


Club Moritzino – Café Restaurant Terasse

Piz La Ila
Tel: +39 0471 847403 www.moritzino.it

Rifugio Ütia de Bioch Hut

Top of chairlift “Biok”


30 minutes from Piz Sorega
50 Minutes from Piz La Ila, or Col Alt, or chairlift Pralongiá

TEL: +39 329 591 4008

Sofie Chalet

Ortisei Dolomites +39 335 5271240 www.seceda.com

Rifugio Edtlweiss Ristorante La Stua

Str. Altonn, 18, 39033 Colfosco, Corvara in Badia BZ (+39) 0471 836 024 – (+39) 0471 830 332 https://www.rifugioedelweiss.it

Local Food Specialists

Lüch da Ciampidel (best artisanal butcher in the area with exceptional spek)

San Cassiano
Via Ciampidel Strasse 31 www.ciampidel.com

Chi Prà Caseificio (best small aritisalan cheesmaker in the area)



Lüch da Ciampidel

Snow walking excursions in the Dolomites

Chi Prà Caseificio

SCUOLA SCI DA FONDO ALTA BADIA San Cassiano www.scuolafondo.it
Ski & Snowboard in the Dolomites – E-Mail: info@skidolomites.it – Web: www.skidolomites.it

Alta Badia –website offers excellent info in the area: www.altabadia.org/en/alta-badia-italian-alps-dolomites.html

Alta Badia Wine Skisafari

This is a yearly event usually planned on the last week-end of March and it brings the best South Tyrolean (Alto Adige) wines to altitude for an exclusive tasting. The Wine Skisafari, in Ladin “De dl Vin” is the appointment for lovers of skiingandgoodwineontheslopesofAltaBadia. Itisanall-roundwineexperiencethatrangesfrombubbles,to white wines with a strong and fresh character, to reds, which are in some cases fruity, in others full-bodied and structured.

Wine in Trentino Alto Adige – A taste of the Dolomites

Trentino (the province of Trento) and Alto Adige (the more northerly province of Bolzano, also known as the South Tyrol or Südtirol, bordering Austria, unified to Italy in 1919, after World War I, share a range of fragrant white wines and German-accented syllables. Both Trentino and the Alto Adige produce notable amounts of the popular Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon, as well as Pinot Bianco, and Riesling. While the more aromatic Müller-Thurgau, Moscato, Sylvaner and Gewürztraminer, which is said to take its name from Alto Adige village of Tramin, can be enticingly perfumed and unexpectedly age-worthy.

One main distinction between Trentino and Alto Adige is that production in Alto Adige comes mainly from small family-owned estates that sell their wines locally with limited exports to Germany and Austria. Trentino on the other hand counts on a large number of growers, members of large cooperatives, such as Cavit and Mezzacorona. These popular wines have found their niche, both in Italy and abroad, among wine drinkers who look for reasonably good and affordable wines for daily enjoyment.

Alto Adige is divided by its waterways, the Adige River and the Isarco River, thus creating two valleys. The vineyards are dotted around the banks of the rivers rising from an altitude of 200 to 1,000 meters into the hills. Bolzano to Trento is an easy 60km and indications are well sign posted with good restaurants, hotels and excellent wineries on the way.

Cooperatives in Trentino-Alto Adige, go as far back as the Hapsburg Empire and are quite common representing the lion’s share of production. Cooperative farming in Trentino-Alto Adige played a fundamental role, its success stems from the necessity to create an effective economic system for the region’s fragmented farming industry, including that of viticulture, the average grape grower owns little more than 1ha, and most vineyards rise up the mountainsides as spectacular steep terraced vineyards, some still using the ‘pergola’ system.

Cantina Terlano (www.kellerei-terlan.com), a cooperative founded in 1893, just above Bolzano at Terlano is one of the best expressions of ‘heroic vineyards’ in Alto Adige producing exquisite white wines, in particular its Pinot Blanc from the terraced Vorberg vineyards. Well worth the drive to visit the vineyards above Terlan.

Cantina Girlan (www.girlan.it) has built up a leading position as a Pinot Noir producer – with wines of great character and remarkable elegance. In the last few years, Cantina Girlan set itself still higher goals and conducted a search for a single site capable of producing an outstanding Pinot Noir combining an international standard of quality with the authenticity of the terroir. The choice finally made was a monopole site by the name of Ganger, home of the Pinot Noir Riserva Vigna Ganger.

Cantina Nals Margreid (www.kellerei.it)is a “star on Alto Adige’s wine scene. Their wines have received the highest accolades from prestigious wine publications, including Wine Enthusiast, Wine and Spirits, Wine Spectator and James Suckling. Their whites are particularly interesting, exhibiting an intense minerality and acidity.

Termeno or Tramin is home to Martin Foradori’s family estate, Hostätter, (www.hofstatter.com) one of Alto Adige’s historic estates established in 1907 especially to experience the zesty aromatic Gewurtztraminer of Tramin, his majestic single vineyard Pinot Noir Barthenau, Vinga S. Urbano is where Itlay’s best Pinot noir comes from 100-year- old vines of the Mazzon site, as well as home to local Lagrein. Bolzano is one of Alto Adige’s top areas for red wines, including the light indigenous Schiava wines. The surrounding chain of mountains creates a perfect microclimate characterized by warm summers protecting the vines, giving good ripeness.

As we reach Trentino I suggest you visit the family run Endrizzi estate (www.endrizzi.it). A beautiful old family house and estate at San Michele all’Adige producing some authentic indigenous and elegant varietal wines such as Pinot Grigio, Nosiola, Müller Thurgau in the whites and Teroldego Rotaliano, Lagrein, in the reds. Top bottling include their Masetto range. The estate has a well stocked shop and a nice setting for a light snack.

Elisabetta Foradori’s (www.elisabettaforadori.com) a family run certified biodynamic estate at Mezzolombardo, well worth a visit, produces indigenous wines from Teroldego, Pinot Grigio, Nosiola and Manzoni Bianc. Elisabetta is sought out for her Teroldego, characterized by its deep granite hue and soft tannins. Her cellar with its hand-crafted amphorae which come all the way from an artisan in Spain is a must to see and a tasting with Elisabetta is a wonderful experience as she explains the importance of biodiversity in winemaking.

Trentino, which pioneered sparkling wine made by the classic method early in the century, has retained its leading position and these sparklers are now grouped under Trentodoc appellation. They are predominantly Chardonnay based, and the extensive amounts of Chardonnay in Trentino’s vineyards reflects the importance of this production. Today a fair amount of Pinot Noir is also used in Trentodoc production. A visit to Ferrari, (www.cantineferrari.it) one of the oldest sparkling estates is a real eye-opener to premium Italian sparkling wines. If you have the time stop at the one starred Michelin Locanda Margon and then visit the family’s jewel which is Villa Margon

South of Trento two distinctively different estates show up for the quality of their wines. The first near Volano is home to Eugenio Rosi, a controversial, yet authentic production of the indigenous Marzemino wine, showing a fruity vibrant character, very enjoyable and versatile. Slightly further south near Avis is Tenuta San Leonardo estate (www.sanleonardo.it), home to one of Italy’s premium age-worthy Bordeaux style blends of extreme elegance and harmony.TopbottlingVillaGrestiisaselectionof90%Merlotwith10%Carmenère. Thisisanothermustasthe estate comprises a large parkland and houses an interesting museum of farm machinery and tools, but above all the family Marchesi Guerrieri Gonzaga if in house are absolutely delightful hosts.

Michèle Shah has championed and promoted Italian wines for more than 30 years. A noted marketer, writer, communicator and judge, she works with producers across Italy. She is passionate about bringing the quality and diversity of authentic Italian wine to an international audience: her “Speedtasting®” b2b tastings have helped hundreds of producers find new export markets. Her clients include the Consorzi of both famous
and emerging Italian wine denominations. A great lover of Italian gastronomy and heritage, Michele also organises wine tours for businesses and enthusiasts. These allow her to share her infectious love for Italian culture, deep wine

knowledge, and connections with many inspiring figures in Italian wine.