Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy: An Alpine Village with History, Fashion, and Winter Fun


Originally Published on February 3, 2003 (Honolulu Advertiser)

You have seen Cortina without knowing it by name. The opening scene of Slyvester Stallone’s movie “Cliffhanger” had him clinging to the face of the Tofane which looks down onto the Ampezzo valley. Agent 007 in ‘For Your Eyes Only’ skied backwards on glistening white slopes while firing at enemy pursuers. But Cortina also provides a venue for serious international competition as one of the sites for the Annual World Cup downhill ski challenge. And in 1956 it played host to the Winter Olympic Games.

The nearly vertical rock face of the Tofane Range stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the Pomagagnon and Cristallo peaks to form the backdrop to Cortina. They also inspire its name; ‘the Curtain.’ For over 1,000 years, this reclusive town nestled in the Ampezzo valley, has been coveted for conquest. However, despite its relative success at remaining politically independence throughout most of the millennium past, it has been entirely unsuccessful at repelling the recent and repeated seasonal invasions of models, movie stars, entertainers and royalty.