Arabba - Pordoi Pass: ski holidays, bicycle races and free climbing
The wind blowing through your hair, you ride on winding roads, the motorbike at full speed, the bicycle struggling up the steep slopes. And above, the wonderful view of the Dolomites surrounding you. Here in Arabba and on the Pordoi Pass you will feel just one step away from the sky, also thanks to the many climbing routes. In winter you won't resist dashing down the ski slopes of the imposing massifs that surround the area, like the Sella and the Marmolada.
The Livinallongo valley, with its principal towns Livinallongo del Col di Lana and Arabba, finds itself in a privileged position that makes it an ideal destination for a holiday full of fun, relaxation and nature. This area has become famous through the years thanks to the sports on two wheels.
The Pordoi Pass, connecting Arabba to Canazei in Trentino, has in fact been for many years a race stage of the Giro d'Italia: riding your bike on these roads is like repeating the deeds of great sportsmen like Fausto Coppi, to whom a memorial has been dedicated at the summit of the pass. The Pordoi Pass is also an important section of several international bicycle races, like the Maratona dles Dolomites, or the Arabba-Pordoi Pass Uphill Time Trial, and non competitive races, like the Sella Ronda Bike Day, around the Sella Group: for a whole day the Sella, Gardena, Campolongo and Pordoi passes are restricted to cyclists. Besides these highly technical and difficult trails, there are some easier mountain bike trails suitable for families, along which you can admire the beautiful landscape.
These roads are also perfect for motorcyclists, who can discover the passes of the Giro d'Italia and the valleys of this ancient Ladin land.
The Sass Pordoi Mountain, that rises on the northern side of the pass, is famous in the world of mountaineering and free climbing thanks to its many climbing routes, among which there is the Maria route, created by the mountain guide Tita Piaz in the Thirties, the Dibona and the Fedele Bernard routes, and the Haute Route n. 2 that goes from Bressanone to Feltre. If you love hiking the Viel del Pan trail offers you a breathtaking view. This trail was once used to carry goods from the Val di Fassa to the Cordevole stream.
And in winter the fun goes on with the ski runs of Porta Vescovo, that are part of the Dolomiti Superski resort. Moreover, from Arabba you can reach, without taking off your skis, the Marmolada massif, the valleys around the Sella Group, and the Sellaronda ski route. Here you can practice freeride, ski mountaineering, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and ice skating, while the children have fun in the area reserved to them, the Ski Kindergarten.
The dish is rich, so dig in!
Arabba and the whole Fodom valley offer a wide variety of local products like speck, cheeses produced in the malghe, wild herbs like the grisoi, and local dishes like the casunziei, half moon shaped ravioli filled with spinach or pumpkin and seasoned with smoked ricotta cheese and melted butter; the tircle, a circle shaped pasta filled with spinach or sauerkrauts; the balote, kloesse (dumplings) with broth, filled with speck, spinach or cheese; and the panicia or menestra de orz with smoked pork shin.
And what about desserts? Try the canifli (fritters), and the crafons, another type of fritters made with wheat flour, rye flour and caraway seeds. And finally, flavoured grappas.
Wandering through history
The signs of the history of this Ladin population are still visible in the whole valley and its enchanting landscapes. This area has been for a long time under the rule of the bishops of Bressanone, then in 1796 it was conquered by Napoleon, in 1815 it became again part of Austrian territory, and finally after the First World War it was annexed to Italy.
Today the Castle of Andraz, a fortification that dates back to the year 1000 rising on Col di Lana, is a visible testimony of this historical period. Col di Lana is a war front with old military roads where you can walk on admiring the ruins of the fortifications. On the Pordoi Pass you can also visit the charnel house that holds the remains of 500 soldiers who fell on the Austro-Hungarian front and the mill where rye and barley were ground.
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