There are five main areas of the Dolomites where the Ladin tradition is still prevalent and the language spoken fluently: Val Gardena, Val Badia, Val di Fassa, Livinallongo and Cortina d’Ampezzo. These are officially known as the Ladin valleys.
Ladin is an ancient culture that is unique to the Dolomites. The Ladin people have their own language, traditions and even their own cuisine. With roots dating as far back as the Roman Empire, it is a culture steeped in history.
Val Gardena is made up of a network of friendly villages and sits comfortably beneath the soaring peaks of the Geisler-Puez, Langkofel and Sellastock Dolomites. It boasts some of the best ski slopes in the area, as well as charming walking trails and rolling pastures.
Also known as Alta Badia, Val Badia is a ski resort village that offers natural beauty and indescribable picturesque views. It is also home to several world famous and award winning restaurants and hotels. The Ladin culture here is prevalent and based heavily on agriculture and traditional art.
Located north-east of Trentino, Val di Fassa’s snow-covered slopes and miles of cross country trails are the reason why it’s often referred to as the “skier’s paradise”. The panoramic views available from the peaks here are unmatched. There is a unique medley of ancient tradition and the modern world that give Val di Fassa a feeling of comfort and luxury at the same time. Visitors to Val di Fassa should make a point to dine at one of the several gourmet restaurants and enjoy one of the breathtaking sunsets that turn the Dolomites a brilliant red. It is a sight not to be missed.
In the shadow of the Sella Mountains sits the Livinallongo valley (called Fodom in the Ladin language). This charismatic village is beautiful to visit any time of year, with snow covered slopes and 31 ski lifts for winter sports, and beautiful trails for hiking and biking in the warmer months. Livinallongo offers guests the perfect combination of relaxation and outdoor activity, all amidst some of the most extraordinary natural scenery on Earth.
Cortina d’Ampezzo is perhaps the most well-known of the five Ladin valleys because of its hospitality and warmth. Nestled within the majestic peaks of the mountains surrounding it, Cortina d’Ampezzo is uniquely sheltered from the cold winds of the north, giving it a pleasantly mild climate that tourists can enjoy year-round. With plenty of comfortable accommodations and endless outdoor activities, this valley has become quite a popular destination for the adventure traveler.
Regardless of which valley you choose to visit, you are certain to experience the Ladin culture at its very best, and get a glimpse into customs and rich traditions that have been carried on for centuries. Those who wish to learn more about this ancient society can visit the Ladin Museum, which examines the history and culture of these unique people and offers year-round exhibits, seminars and lectures to the public.
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