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Unlike other famous alpine ranges, the vast mountainous "Dolomites" domain in northeast Italy has remained relatively undeveloped. The virginal landscape is the ultimate playground for the family or traveler on a quest for an original adventure. Ski fanatics travel across the world to dare some of the steep slopes that test Olympic champions. Mountaineers risk the climb up sheer rock faces. For calmer souls the seduction of a landscape painted from a palette of extreme colours prevails.

The Dolomites, sprawling over the Trentino-Alto Adige region and into parts of Lombardy by the Swiss border and the Veneto along the Austrian border, became known as a winter sports centre after Cortina d'Ampezzo catapulted to fame by hosting the winter Olympics of 1956. Today, scores of funiculars, chairlifts and ski-lifts provide access to 1200 km of ski runs, as well as ski jumps and bobsled runs.

Called by Le Corbusier "the most beautiful work of architecture ever seen", this expansive land of rocks and valleys has long attracted Italians and other Europeans seeking a diverse natural environment. What they (and you) find is a profusion of brilliant colours, architectural styles and languages


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