Have you ever planned a family reunion abroad? If so, you probably know how difficult it can be to find a place that pleases all of the involved participants – from the Duracell-powered children to the moody teenagers, from the sporty uncles to the art-loving grandparents…
If you are looking for a family reunion vacation in Italy, this beautiful and diverse country offers a few perfect places that are able to fulfill everybody’s needs and wishes. Today we will be exploring one of our favorite places: the fantastic Dolomites in northern Italy.
The Dolomites consist of a mountain range in the Alps, featuring 18 peaks that rise above 3000 meters high and that alternate vertical walls and sheer cliffs with narrow, deep valleys.
Paradise, 365 days a year
Thanks to the famous ski resorts catering to all ages and levels, the Dolomites are an established winter family destination. However, these mountains provide plenty of activities other than winter sports; and their landscapes are mesmerizing throughout the year. So much so, that UNESCO listed this natural piece of art as a World Heritage Site in 2009!
What makes the Dolomites unique in the world? The two criteria for including them in the UNESCO list are that the Dolomites contain areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance; and that they are outstanding examples representing major stages of earth’s history, thanks to their unique local geomorphological and geological values.
Only by visiting the Dolomites, can you fully comprehend and appreciate their majestic beauty and witness how these mountains tell the story of the past and of the present. The colors of every season reflect on the pale-colored rock surfaces and on the forests and meadows below. The sweeping panoramas and some of the highest vertical rock walls in the world will leave you awestruck.
The regions: Trentino-Alto Adige and Veneto
The Dolomites extend over two Italian regions: Trentino-Alto Adige and Veneto. Technically, however, it covers three distinct areas, as the former region is made up of the autonomous provinces of Trentino and South Tyrol (also known as Alto Adige).
Despite having the Dolomites in common, each area offers something different and unique, and can provide the perfect setting for your family reunion.
South Tyrol is certainly a destination for foodies. Among its quality gastronomic products are speck, apples, crunchy “schüttelbrot” bread and “grappa” liqueur. And let’s not forget the amazing wines produced thanks to 25 different grape varieties that thrive in 5000 hectares of vineyards!
Trentino has always been a meeting place between Northern and Southern Europe, and today it stands out for its traditional hospitality and for its rich artistic, historical, cultural and traditional heritage. It is also home to some of the most impressive ski resorts in the world, and offers an amazing variety of sports facilities.
Veneto offers what many consider the most impressive part of the Dolomites, located in such a way that the pale mountains change colors at dawn and sunset – in a way that cannot be described in words. Apart from the pristine and easily accessible nature that is perfect for eco-tourism, Veneto is home to the Queen of the Dolomites: fashionable Cortina d’Ampezzo and its jet-setting crowds.
Family reunion activities in the Dolomites
Do you want your family gathering to be memorable and appreciated by all of your clan? Try this: involve the participants with local authentic experiences that stimulate their Five Senses. This allows for a destination to be explored in a richer, more interesting way and – most importantly – for the interpersonal bonds to be rediscovered and strengthened.
We at Italian Special Occasions DMC particularly recommend the Dolomites for family reunions because of the vast choice of activities suspended between ancient traditions and modern life. For example: admiring the attractive and warm architecture (sight), sampling the delicious dishes prepared with old recipes (taste and smell), listening to folk music played by local bands (sound), getting to know the secrets of woodcarving and traditional crafts (touch).
In the Dolomites you will find many museums that will enchant youngsters and adults alike. One of the most famous mummies in the world – iceman Oetzi – rests in the South Tyrol Museum of Archeology. The Mart frequently rotates its 15000 works of art and hosts various temporary artistic exhibitions. There are a few museums dedicated to the local customs and traditions of the people who live in the mountains and to distinctive groups such as the Ladin People. The Messner Mountain Museum, created by Italian mountaineer and extreme climber Reinhold Messner, educates visitors on the science of mountains and glaciers, as well as the history of rock climbing and of mythical mountains. The Dolomites are also home to the highest museum in the world: the Marmolada Museum of Great War at 3000 meters high!
Children will delight themselves when exploring the woods and trails that, according to local legend, were home to dwarf King Laurin and his beautiful rose garden. The grownups can put their skills to the test by joining expert artisans in the creation of wood and iron masterpieces! Together, the whole family can enjoy endless eco-friendly activities such as hiking and canoeing, learning an unusual language such as Ladin (a Romance language spoken only around here), or enjoying cooking and traditional dance lessons together!
Are you looking for more family reunion destinations in Italy? Do you need ideas and assistance in planning your unforgettable family reunion? Contact Italian Special Occasions DMC – we would love to help you in creating the perfect Italian family gathering!