Get To Know This Luxe Yet Affordable Dolomite Resort

Garrett Gardner

Madonna di Campiglio, a mountain resort in Italy’s Dolomites, has long been a draw for prominent names, attracting Habsburg monarchs (Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elizabeth) in the late 19th century, and more recently, digital “royalty,” like the influential blogger/entrepreneur Chiara Ferragni.

While Campiglio may not be as well known in the US as Cortina D’Ampezzo, the once and future (2026) Olympics site, it’s very much a coveted insider resort, and has the second-home prices to prove it (recently beating out such jet-set spots as Forte dei Marmi and Positano for the cost of a a vacation property). Recently Altagamma, an Italian association of luxury brands and exclusive locales, added Campiglio to its list of select destinations that includes the Costa Smeralda, Capri and the Via Montenapoleone District in Milan.

“Mostly Italians buy here,” says Walter Valenti of MyHomeDolomiti, a real estate group in town. (Needless to say if you’re looking for an authentic vibe in a coveted resort, it doesn’t hurt to know the home team has endorsed it, in this case, with plenty of euros.) He says the the rental mix is a bit more far-flung, attracting northern European clients, along with those from Milan, Brescia and Parma.

Yes, Campiglio is a plush locale with shimmery boutiques, Michelin-star dining, and a choice of luxury hotels, but for the most part the village opts for a low-key brand of luxe, and visitors with either very deep pockets or modest budgets can enjoy a stay here. (There are five 5-star hotels, many excellent four-star properties and twelve 3-star alberghi.)

While many American travelers may not be familiar with Campiglio, Joyce Falcone, founder of ItalianConcierge.com, a luxury travel firm on Travel & Leisure’s A-List of top top travel advisors for more than a decade, knows the resort, after having skied and hiked here, as both a winter and warm-weather destination. “We have had a lot of interest in a mountain stop within a ten-day day visit to Northern Italy,” she says. “We suggest either Venice or Verona airports as the arrival or departure point. With three hotel moves a traveler can experience the diverse environments of mountains, Lake Garda, Verona and the art city of Venice.”

If you’re looking for a new place to go in Italy, particularly if skiing or summer sports are a priority, here’s why you should consider Campiglio. (The winter season runs from late November through mid-April, so there’s still time to squeeze in a little Easter skiing, or plan for next season, which might not be a bad idea judging from the busy hotels and restaurants in late February. )

The stunning scenery and easy access to the mountains

Those who buy second homes in Campiglio—often noted sports or business figures—do so for the “discretion and privacy,” says Assunta Lorenzetti, from a prominent local family that owns boutiques, hotels and holiday apartments here. Travelers also come for the ease of skiing, she notes —there are four lifts directly in town—and for the scenery. Campiglio, located in the Val Rendena, is flanked by the gorgeously serrated Brenta Dolomites, part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Adamello and Presanella glaciers.

There’s World Cup skiing, and plenty of pistes for intermediates and beginners.

The world’s skiing greats have all come to Campiglio, testing their slalom prowess during the annual 3Tre FIS World Cup race, a nighttime event held each December on the Canalone Miramonte. Alpine legend Ingemar Stenmark won his first major ski competition here and stood atop the podium 11 other times; Alberto Tomba and American Bode Miller were also gold-medal finalists. (CNN included the black-rated slope, running for 470 precipitous meters with a maximum 60{5a5867cc9cca71cf546db38f42fbf171004839e3542174405390d177276b4f49} gradient, one of the 100 best ski runs in the world.) The legendary course ends in town, as does another black-rated thriller (maximum gradient 70{5a5867cc9cca71cf546db38f42fbf171004839e3542174405390d177276b4f49}), the Spinale Direttisima.

But the vast majority of skiers come here not to see how they measure up to World Cup greats, but to enjoy the 156 kilometers of pistes that favor those with intermediate skiing skills. Campiglio, which is connected to other resorts—Pinzolo and Folgardia-Marileva—provides a choice of 43 blue, 37 red and 23 black-ranked slopes.

Mountain experiences in winter and summer

While traditional daytime skiing may be its calling card, Campiglio, perhaps not surprisingly since its signature World Cup race is held at night, organizes sunset ski outings, and for early birds, first-on-the-slopes sunrise sessions, followed respectively by either breakfast or apericena in a mountain hut. Treks with a guide are scheduled when there is a full moon.

There are immersive experiences, too, as part of Campiglio’s Dolomiti Wellness program, that take advantage of the local setting—its silent forests, sparkling water streams and brooks, and crisp mountain air—to serve as a natural spa and tranquil, mind-clearing respite from the demands and distractions of contemporary life. In winter, nature excursions are held Thursdays through Saturdays in various Alpine settings. In summer you can switch skis and snowshoes for hiking boots to trek along seven wellness routes that run from one to nearly six kilometers and cover terrain of various altitudes.

Falcone. of ItalianConcierge.com, who has “experienced both the trails in summer and ski runs in winter,” says there is plenty of variety for all abilities to enjoy the mountains no matter what the season. “Utilizing the lifts, [you] can arrive to elevation with ease for a magnificent view—and strudel—without any effort, however, for those who are more ambitious there are “ via ferrate” and hidden rifugi which await you further down the trail.”

Vajolet Masè, a geologist with the Adamello Brenta Natural Park, says those who come in spring and summer can enjoy 1600 varieties of flowers. She describes the park as an “open-air laboratory,” where it seems every rock or fragment tells a story about the area’s millennia-spanning history. Masè notes there are some 800 kilometers of footpaths in the park, allowing for long nature walks, which are popular with visitors in August.

The unexpected history

Campiglio is a resort with both ancient and modern roots. The first settlement consisted of a monastery in the Middle Ages, says local photographer and author, Paolo Luconi Bisti, which evolved over the centuries, becoming a hotel in the 1800s, now the site of the Hotel Relais des Alpes. The landmark property remains home to the historic Salone Hofer, a ballroom once used by the Habsburgs that is now a popular event space. During the Habsburg era, Campiglio was a summer and fall destination; the creation of the modern ski resort took place in the 1930s and flourished after World War II, says Bisti.

Inventive chefs, menus without borders

Since Campiglio, which lies in the Trentino region, was once part of the Austrian-Hungarian empire, menus reflect an amalgam of influences. Along with polenta, bean soups and canederli, you’ll see such dishes as goulash and the sinfully rich Sacher-torte. Perhaps because culinary traditions have long crossed borders, Trentino has fostered a crop of particularly innovative chefs—there are nine Michelin-starred restaurants—Campiglio has two of them, presenting modern takes on mountain and Italian cooking (both are located in hotels). Il Gallo Cedrone (in the Albergo Bertelli) overseen by chef Sabino Fortunato, has a smart chalet setting and calming vibe —a welcome escape from the bustle of the area’s many busy restaurants in season. The sophisticated menus are seasonal—a delicious recent first course was risotto with apples, Riesling sauce, and artichokes. The impressive wine list, overseen by sommelier Giuseppe Greco, has more than 150 champagne and 800 wine options. Stube Hermitage, also with a Michelin star and located in the Hermitage Biohotel, offers classic, mountain-centric, and “sensorial” menus (encompassing flavors from north to south) and a good selection of artisanal mountain cheeses.

Creating buzz this season in Campiglio is Fiorenzo Perremuto, the new executive chef at the Dolomieu (also in a hotel, at the DV Chalet, a 4-star superior property with modern decor, spa and cozy apres-ski lounge) where he sources ingredients from the region, ranging from Lake Garda to Campiglio. A superb recent menu included items like tortelli prepared with polenta concia, aged Trentingrana and black truffle; and venison with hay-milk butter, pumpkin, coffee and cherries. When dining, maitre Remo Onesto can provide the backstory of each of the beautifully prepared dishes and their ingredients.

If you want to dine on high, Campiglio has a number of restaurants and rifugi perched on the slopes. One not to miss is Chalet Spinale on Monte Spinale, at 2100 meters with IMAX-worthy views of the Dolomites. If you prefer a rifugio experience on lower terrain, the Lago di Nambino, family-run since 1933, promises a memorable dining experience—in winter you snow trek there in the woods from the nearest car park and work off calories from the restaurant’s renowned canderli and carrot cake during the trip back.

Another eatery to try when in Campiglio is Davide Rangoni’s new trattoria at Ristorante Piccadilly. Rangoni, who oversaw a Michelin-star restaurant in his previous gig, presents new and local versions of Italian classics, and 13 varieties of Alpine pizza, combining mountain cheeses, vegetables, herbs and cured meats for distinctive-tasting pies.

If you decide to travel to the small villages in and around the Campiglio, one restaurant you won’t want to miss is at the Filanda de Boron, a boutique winery in Tione di Trento on the site of a former silk farm and mill dating from the 1700s. The brainchild of a businessman from Trento and now full-time vintner, Nicola del Monte and his wife Alessandra, Filanda offers rustic cooking in an atmospheric farmhouse setting. Vineyards surround the restaurant where the Del Montes produce several labels, including a souvignier gris and an excellent sparkling wine.

High-style retail and exceptional artisanal shops

Campiglio is home to a number of sophisticated shops, which are great to explore before aperitifs in one of the bars or cafes in Piazza Righi, Campiglio’s main square. At the heart of the Campiglio shopping experience is Lorenzetti Luxury (Via Pradalago 2) a multi-brand store owned and managed by Assunta (CEO and chief buyer) and Barbara Lorenzetti. Head here for high-fashion cred on and off the slopes—labels include Prada, Gucci, Dolce and Gabbana and Saint Laurent. Gucci ski goggles were a big hit this year, says Assunta, whose clients range from northern Italians during periods like Christmas and Carnevale, to international travelers (from Brazil to Poland) at other times during the season. The store is open year-round and thanks to its smart curation has become a destination shop for area residents who come from miles around to see the latest edit.

There are also specialty shops like Lorenzi (Piazza Righi 23), a branch of the Milan store that opened in 1929, and run today by Roberta Lorenzi and Michele Terzi. In this jewel box of a boutique, you’ll find something for the person who has everything—beautifully crafted one-of-a-kind cutlery and bar pieces and beauty and grooming accessories, among many other items made with fine natural products.

Pasticceri to the Italian royal family in Turin during the early 1900s, the Roccati family later specialized in artisanal chocolate, with shops now located in Campiglio (Via Monte Spinale 25) and Bologna. Drawing on its Piedmontese roots, Roccati draws on original recipes for Gianduja chocolate (blended with prized hazelnuts from Le Langhe).

Campiglio even has its own line of fragrances, aptly named Profumo di Campiglio, an artisan laboratory (Viale Dolomiti di Brenta 23) turning out perfumes, body creams and home fragrances.

Father afield in the hamlet of Bolbeno/Borgo Lares is Stufe Collizzoli, a multi-generation family business producing handmade, wood-burning ceramic stoves called stufe (plural), that have been fixtures in mountain homes for hundreds of years. Each Collizzoli stufa takes from five months to a year to produce, with the studio turning out 20-25 of these custom-designed collectors’ items each year, Matriarch Gemma creates the exquisite designs and hand paintings.

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