5 Reasons to Visit Dobbiaco
Dobbiaco is located in the beautiful Val Pusteria , aptly known as the "green valley”. The rocky walls of the Dolomites provide refuge on one side while to the other side hover the Tauern West and Carnian Alps, which have created the basin of this friendly mountain town now known as the “municipality of the Tre Cime”. So charming and enchanting is Dobbiaco that it’s often referred to as the “gateway to the Dolomites” and once you step foot within its quaint borders you’ll quickly understand why. The reasons to visit Dobbiaco are almost too numerous to mention, but here are five that top the list.
The Rivers and Lakes – Most people come to the Dolomites to experience the magnificent soaring peaks that rise all around them, however Dobbiaco is also home to some fantastic bodies of water. The area is actually divided into two parts by a watershed which is fed by the river Drava and waters that eventually feed into the mighty Danube, the longest river basin in Italy. The Rienz River, which begins at the foot of the Three Peaks, also runs through the village, as does the lake Toblach. In short, Dobbiaco is almost as rich in waterways as it is in spectacular mountain scenery.
The History - Dobbiaco has a long and fascinating history, with the first settlements in the area dating back approximately to the Iron Age. There was flourishing life in Dobbiaco that stretched through the Roman Period, the Middle Ages and into the 18th century, when it began to take its shape into what it is today. Over the centuries, the village has been witness to epic battles and brutal wars, leaving behind scars of the past and an intriguing history just waiting to be discovered there today.
The “Top Nine” – While there are arguably plenty of beautiful peaks to be admired in the Dolomites, the Top Nine is particularly awe-inspiring. Rising up to an altitude of 2,581m above sea level, this magnificent mountain range belongs to the Sesto group and it is sometimes referred to as “the nine peaks” because up to nine crests are visible on the crest of the mountain. The sight of its majestic peaks in any season is enough to capture the heart of even the most seasoned traveler.
Their Innovation – The town of Dobbiaco has been recognized multiple times for its impressive use of renewable energy. In 2008, it was awarded the title of “Renewable City” by Legambiente in Rome because of the ratio of inhabitants to the amount of energy used for heat and electricity. In 2011, the town ranked third in the “European Award for Renewable Energy”. This is due in part to the fact that many of the citizens in Dobbiaco use solar panels and photovoltaic systems which has a significant positive impact on energy consumption.
Incredible Architecture – For such a small area, Dobbiaco is home to an impressive number of architectural masterpieces. Of the many religious structures there is the Church of St. John the Baptist, which holds the title of the largest religious building in Italy and the Way of the Cross of the chapels of the passion, also known as “Mount Calvary”, which has five incredible shrines in the shape of the chapel and a marble supports that depict the Passion of Christ.
The non-religious structures are just as impressive, with the dramatic Grand Hotel which was constructed in 1877 and the Municipal Building that has stood its ground since 1550, both still in use to this day. Behind the parish church, in the center of the city stands the incredible Herbstenburg Castle, a massive old structure with a long history that dates back to the 1500’s, protected by towering walls and intimidating battlements. Even those who don’t normally seek out architectural design will be impressed by what they find in Dobbiaco.
In addition to the fantastic surrounding mountain landscapes, a visit to Dobbiaco is like a journey in and of itself. With a long, rich history still quite evident, innovative locals and fascinating structures virtually everywhere you turn you’ll feel as though you magically stepped back in time into an Alpine paradise.