Beautiful Dolomite Parks of Italy


Parco Naturale Regionale delle Dolomiti d'Ampezzo
Another of the parks that is located in the northern Veneto is Parco Naturale Regionale delle Dolomiti d'Ampezzo.
It sits just north of the famous ski town of Cortina d'Ampezzo and is known for the Crystal and the Tofane mountain groups.
One of my favorite peaks, the Croda Rossa d'Ampezzo is located in the park. There are some beautiful narrow valleys here as well as some high alpine pastures.
The Fanes gorge is one of the highlights where you'll find some stunning waterfalls. One site of note is the ruins of the Botestagno castle, an ancient medieval fort that is open to the public.
Parco Naturale di Fanes-Sennes-Braies
One of my favorite parks, Fanes-Sennes-Braies, is located in the Alto Adige part of the Trentino-Alto Adige region. Some of the main peaks include Cima Cunturines, La Varella and the Sasso di Santa Croce range. While this park can seem like nothing but rocky peaks, there are some beautiful alpine meadows hidden within.
It's quite a diverse park. There are also some gorgeous lakes within Fanes-Senes-Braies such as Lake Braies which, while quite popular, is easy to get to so great for families.
It's definitely the crown jewel of this Dolomite park. Lake Dobbiaco is another pretty lake in the northeastern part of the park.
Parco Naturale Paneveggio – Pale di San Martino
This natural park is located in the Trentino part of the Trentino-Alto Adige region. It’s a good-sized park that includes 3 stunning valleys, rugged mountain peaks, a couple of glaciers and some pretty lakes. Paneveggio-Pale di San Martino also is home to the magnificent Paneveggio Forest which covers an area of 2700 hectares. The wood of the spruce trees in this forest have exceptional resonant qualities so it was used by Stradivarius to build his famous violins. In the Val Venegia you’ll find the Cimon della Pala, some beautiful dolomitic rocky peaks.
The Val Canali is home to the southern chain of the Pale di San Martino. And in the Valle del Vanoi you’ll find the mountains of Lagorai which are dark red, not the typical pale pink. These 3 valleys are some of the most stunning destinations of this park. I have to admit that I’ve not been to this park nor even close by But I really want to visit Paneveggio – Pale di San Martino because it looks spectacular!
Parco Naturale Sciliar-Catinaccio
Another of my favorite parks and the first place I visited in the Dolomites, this park is one of the smaller parks, but it packs a major wow factor! This is the home of the Sciliar or Schlern (in German) an impressive rock formation that sits right near the village of Siusi.
On my first trip to this area I couldn’t take my eyes off of it, watching the light change on it as the day progressed into the evening. Needless to say I took a lot of pics on that first trip and on my two return visits. The park is also home to the Catinaccio or Rosengarten (in German) massif.
These peaks watch over the gorgeous Alpe di Siusi, a high alpine meadow that is adjacent to the park and is often visited along with the park. The area is great for hiking and walking as there is a fabulous network of gondolas and ski lifts leading to a well-marked trail system.
The town of Castelrotto (Kastelruth in German) makes a wonderful place to base yourself. I will say that most of my time has been in Alpe di Siusi versus actually in Sciliar-Catinaccio although you can easily cross the boundaries in and out of the park.