With a different pace of life and a rich and distinct culture, skiing in Italy is a truly unique experience. There are fantastic transport links, unrivalled hospitality, excellent food and truly spectacular ski areas. For those of you new to the Italian Alps, or if you simply want to blend in with the locals, here are some top tips on how to ski like a true Italian.
Il tempo (The weather)
You’ve just woken up and naturally the first thing you do on any ski trip is head over to the window to check the weather conditions. Wall to wall sunshine? Great – it’s time to hit the slopes! Many Italians are fair weather skiers and probably won’t bother if conditions don’t look great. Slopes can however be delightfully quiet if you do decide to venture out and brave those less-than-perfect conditions. Still don’t fancy putting on your ski gear? Make the most of the excellent spa facilities in your hotel (the Hotel Fanes in San Cassiano and the Lefay Resort & Spa Dolimiti in Pinzol are particularly fine examples).
La prima colazione (Breakfast)
All skiers know that a hearty breakfast is key to an enjoyable day on the mountain (I can whole-heartedly recommend the amazing breakfast at the Hotel Rosa Alpina in San Cassiano to stand you in good stead for the day ahead).
When it comes to breakfast, the Italian tooth is sweet and it is common to have breakfast in a bar. You’ll find people standing around tucking into a “cornetto” (jam-filled croissant) and cappuccino, animatedly discussing the day’s news. The perfect opportunity to try out your Italian.
La moda e bellezza (Fashion and beauty)
Italy is undoubtedly the home of fashion and looking good is a national pastime, even in the mountains. You’ll see the immaculately groomed sporting designer ski gear and sunglasses. If it’s time to refresh your ski attire there’s no better place than Madonna di Campiglio. The charming town centre is lined with boutiques if you are in need of some retail therapy. Complete the look with some pampering beauty treatments at your hotel – the spa at the DV Chalet Boutique Hotel in Madonna di Campiglio offers a range of treatments to ensure you’re looking your best.
Pranzo – finalmente! (Lunch – finally!)
We all know that life in Italy revolves around one thing and one thing only. Food! Ski as long as you can in the morning because you won’t be able to move after lunch. A typical Italian meal is usually made up of four courses: antipasto (cold meats and salads), primo (pasta, risotto or soup), secondo, (meat or fish served with vegetables) and dolce (pudding). San Cassiano is the ultimate resort for on-mountain dining – if you are up to the challenge, you can ski from restaurant to restaurant enjoying a different course (created by top chefs) in each one, as part of the resort’s Gourmet Skisafari. You might indulge in a glass of wine or two as well!
Il momento dell’aperitivo (Time for a pre-dinner drink)
If you’ve made it safely down the mountain after a gluttonous lunch, an absolute stronghold of Italian culture is the aperitivo. As much an opportunity to show off as it is to socialise, you’ll need to look your best for this. Think elegant and refined rather than cavorting about on tables in ski boots. Picturesque Piazza Righi in Madonna di Campiglio is a great spot to enjoy an Aperol Spritz (a typical Italian pre-dinner drink) served with delicious (and best of all) complimentary snacks.
Ancora fame? (Still hungry?)
You’ve digested lunch and the effect of your aperitivo is starting to kick in. It must be time to eat again! Dinner should be relaxed and something to take your time over, something which the Due Pini restaurant in the Hotel Chalet del Sogno in Madonna di Campiglio delivers perfectly on. You can even watch the chefs prepare your delicious meal in the open kitchen. The Hotel Rosa Alpina in San Cassiano also has excellent dining options including a 3-star Michelin restaurant.
A letto! (To bed!)
After all that food and fresh mountain air you’re probably more than ready to roll into bed after dinner. You might enjoy a post dinner stroll interspersed with a spot of window shopping, or you may prefer to simply cosy up in front of the fire with a good book – the lounge at the DV Chalet Boutique Hotel in Madonna di Campiglio is perfectly suited to this.
So there you have it! What’s not to love about skiing in Italy? For a quote to one of our featured Italian resorts please contact our Ski Specialists on 0131 243 8097 or contact us online here.