For a lot of people a summer holiday is a real holiday only if it’s spent on a beach. But, if you are like me and love mountains and have still not planned your next trip, you might want to consider the Alpe di Siusi area in the Dolomites, here in Italy.
The Alpe is a plateau at about 2000 mt that is surrounded by beautiful mountains and to me is the closest thing to paradise on earth! On a sunny summer day the scenery is breathtaking, with endless grassy fields punctuated by stone and wooden huts, a few nicely built hotels and a few spruce woods. And, what has kept us going back for 4 years now is that it is an extremely family-friendly environment!
The list of activities is pretty long — you can walk, hike and climb, but also mountain bike and horseback ride. The choice of walks is great, and most of them are easy and not too long so they are feasible with a child in tow or if you are carrying one on your back (some of them can be done with a good stroller even). All of the restaurants/huts have a play area, child seats, child menus and changing facilities –nearly impossible to find elsewhere in Italy (this is , in fact, the German speaking part of Italy).
You can stay in one of the Hotels on the Alpe and enjoy the special feeling of being up high at dawn and sunset and meeting all the animals that come out when everybody else is gone. Or, as we have always done, you can rent a place in one of the three villages below the Alpe and have a slightly more urban life. You can reach the Alpe everyday with a cable-car and actually move around pretty easily without a car since public transport is cheap and very efficient.
The Alpe is quite near Bolzano which has an airport (albeit small) and can be easily reached by train from Verona, which is well connected to a lot of European cities. The majority of hotels will come and pick you up in Bolzano if you decide not to rent a car. Although having a car might be a good resource for those rainy days when hiking is not an option. In that case you could either visit one of the larger towns in the Adige valley, like Bressanone, or take a tour of the Wine Road where Italy’s finest blauburgunder (pinot noir) is produced.
I’ll be there in August, so if you come… drop me a line!