The Dolomites are a mountain range in northeastern Italy with sheer cliffs and deep valleys. Dolomites are popular as a ski destination but with it's numerous hikes and via ferratas, there are many activities for summer as well. Via Ferratas (Iron path) are climbing routes on the mountains. There were first build in Italy during World War I and since been reinforced and used for recreational purposes.
The Dolomites region has the most via ferratas in the world and a good network of Refugios to go with it. Even though there are plenty of via ferratas, the trail heads are not well marked. Here is a very comprehensive guide book on all via ferratas in Italy.
The travel itinerary includes Dolomites and going to other popular cities in Italy. This trip start and ends in Milan.
Milan to Fassa Valley
Driving is the best way to get from Milan to Fassa valley in Dolomites. There are many rental car companies at the airport. Rent a multicity car so that you can drop the car off at Venice.
Its a beautiful drive along the mountains and up the hill.
Drive time: Approx. 4 hrs
Fassa valley includes 7 towns close to each other right in the heart of Dolomites in Trentino region. Canazei was the most active and happening town. Corvara is close some of the best via ferratas and hikes. Where ever you decide to stay the other towns are very drivable.
VF Sandro Pertini - Puez Odle Natural Park
You can do a self guided via ferrata hike, group hike or hire a guide. Since we had done via ferrata before we chose to do self guided hikes. It's not like you can get lost, all you have to do is follow the cable and know how to climb. You can rent via ferrata gear at Sport Amplatz at Canazei.
If this is your first time doing a via ferrata, I suggest doing a group hike. For information on guided via ferrata hikes reach out to:
VF Sandro Pertini is in Puez Odle Natural Park near the town Selva. It's a very strenuous VF, refer to the guide book for VF grades and directions to trail head. The trail head is hard to find and lot of local aren't aware of it to help. We got lost and ended up doing a hike in the National Park which turned out to be stunning with amazing views of the Dolomites. Puez Odle Natural Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Same as day 1.
VF Brigata Tridentina
This is the most popular VF in the area and for good reason. It's a difficult VF, refer to the guide book for VF grades and directions to trail head. Start early to beat the crowd and avoid waiting on the cables. At the top you will find a Refugio to freshen up and trail directions to car park.
Same as day 1.
VF Col Rodella
It's a short, fun and challenging via ferrata. It can be accessed from cable car in Campittelo.
Fassa Valley to Venice
Its an approx. 3hr drive to Venice where you can drop off the rental car by evening.
Here are things you can do in Venice
- Piazza San Marco
- St Mark’s basilica
- Grand Canal
- Gandola ride
Do as many or as few things in Venice.
Same as day 4.
Venice to Rome
I recommend an early morning flight so that you have time for sight seeing in Rome.
Rome Day 2
More things in Rome
- Gianicolo Hill
- Trastevere (If you like vegetarian food, check out Banana Trash)
Same as day 6.
Do what everyone does in Vatican City.
Rome to Cinque Terre
You can choose to disembark at any of the 5 towns in Cinque Terre.
Note: The town of Corniglia is quite a climb from the railway station.
Cinque Terre consists for 5 small towns along the Italian coast. They are very well connected by train which runs every 15-20 mins. Staying in any of the towns is convenient for hiking and sight seeing.
Hike Trail #2
We started from Monterosso heading south but you can start from either direction. The famous postcard views are between Monterosso and Vernazza. Check the National Park website for trail conditions. When we were there, trail was open only from Monterosso to Corniglia.
You can buy the National Park pass at any railway station. The trains run very frequently.
Cinque Terre to Milan
Back to where we started.