The quaint town of Cortina has a population of 7,000 and lies in the north of Italy and is a short drive from the Austrian border. Cortina hosted the 1956 Winter Olympics as well as several World Cup events.
Much of 1963 classic The Pink Panther, the progenitor of the series, was filmed in Cortina. One of the memorable James Bond stunt sequences in 1981's For Your Eyes Only, gunners on spike-wheeled motorcycles chasing Roger Moore on skis, was filmed on its slopes, as were several scenes in the film Cliffhanger.
Cortina is also known for its wonderful restaurants and great Italian cuisine.
You will find the most spectacular panoramic views in the Alps, here, and some of the most challenging slopes in the Dolomites, which are a section of the Alps. Some of the surrounding peaks are higher than 3,000 meters.
The Cortina skiing area offers 70 downhill slopes for alpine skiing with 37 different lifts for a capacity of about 59,000 skiers per hour. Half of the slopes are suitable for beginners while 35% are intermediate level and 15% are for advanced skiers. Snow cover is guaranteed 95% of the time. For those wanting a respite from skiing, there's a 1 km long groomed slope reserved for sledding and tobagans, which is serviced by a chairlift.
The 2009/2010 ski season, which began on November 28 and will last until April 11. Cortina is very kid-friendly. Children under the age of 8 (born after Nov. 28, 2001) receive free ski passes and accommodations, when a ski pass is purchase by an accompanying adult for the same time period.
Likewise, children under the age of 12 (born after Nov. 28, 1997) pay half of the adult price.
Dolomiti Superski also offers a special ski pass that enables parents to take turns supervising their small children with a multi-day transferable pass.
The Cristallo Palace Hotel & Spa in Cortina d'Ampezzo, is the only five star hotel in the Dolomites.
The hotel, which dates back to 1901, offers a state-of-the-art Transvita spa, beautiful indoor swimming pool and 74 guest rooms, including 22 suites.
Cortina is located between the Veneto and Trentino Alto Adige regions and is 162 km from Venice and 432 km from Milan. As it is a fairly short drive to Venice, it is worth considering spending a day there.