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davidx Wolkenstein - A travel report by David
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Wolkenstein,  Italy - flag Italy
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davidx's travel reports

Wolkenstein - Dolomites

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1976 - and we tried to camp at Cortina d’Ampezzo, just as the Italian holidays had started. What a mistake! After one night we searched for somewhere else and found Wolkenstein.

Wolkenstein travelogue picture
It didn’t help that I had forgotten the name of the place. I only found it by hunting on one of the map sites, where one scale of map [but neither smaller NOR LARGER scale] showed a place called Selva/Wolkenstein. I have persuaded myself, after some more checking, that there’s a single village with both names, which are obviously Italian and German respectively. That might put me on some sort of political tightrope and you might expect me to call it by the language of the country. However, I now remember that the people we met there called it Wolkenstein – so I have stayed with that. The Dolomites seem to be relatively little known outside of Italy, when compared either with other areas of beauty in the country or with other favoured Alpine areas. However there can be no doubt of their ability to hold their own with any [unless you insist on coast!] and for rock scenery they are right up with the top areas. As the sun starts to set, the Dolomitic limestone takes on a sort of pinkish hue and it looks glorious. I suspect the favourite time there may be July/August but I should favour June or September. Why did we only stay one night in Cortina? Wrong question. Why didn’t we move on straight away? Because it was late and the children were tired. On the campsite we were told that we could look and come back to pay if we could find room. By pitching our three small tents well apart, we did manage this – but it involved some practices which would not qualify for a Scout’s camper badge! Then there was the rat trying to enter the rubbish bins. We left next morning, not knowing whether it would mean leaving the Dolomites altogether. Our Italian was taxed to the limit and beyond but eventually we were told in a sort of ‘Italglish’ of a place where we could camp free with minimal facilities. We gave it a try and it was fine for the three nights we had left. [our boat booking from Zebrugge was getting closer.]

Favourite spots:
Wolkenstein travelogue picture
Even now it’s a source of particular pleasure to find at home about a building or a walk in an unknown place and to come home having been there. It was a definite thrill in pre-internet days. Such was our experience of Cinque Torri. These are by no means the top Dolomite peaks but I had a book out from the library that gave one of the few simple walks in the Dolomites in this area. I forget now where we started but we did a track up to the base of the rocks [to the top of them? You jest! Real climbers’ stuff]. I tell you now that both the rocks themselves and the outlook were as good as any you’ll find in western Europe. Then most of the children went with Pam to complete a circuit, while one of the children went with me down the chair lift to take the car to meet them. I can warmly recommend this as a good way of giving young children a spectacular walk and a taste of adventure, without getting them into any danger.

What's really great:
Wolkenstein travelogue picture
The following day we went through Cortina d’Ampezzo and on to the Tre Croci Pass to the east of it. Cortina is certainly perfectly situated and it is obviously a first class centre for winter sports – by which I don’t just mean skiing. It’s a striking town in its own right but it’s just not my scene: too commercial, too polished and, during Italian holidays far too full. Don’t let me put you off, though. It well deserves its popularity. As for Tre Croci, some of us didn’t want to walk again today [it was the other place in the same book as Cinque Torri with a walk rated as simple] so we were left with the view. That was terrific but any high point in the Dolomites has to provide a terrific view because the rocks are so spectacularly picturesque and we could have done a shorter circuit if decisions about walking had been made earlier.

Wolkenstein travelogue picture
A bit of help with websites would no doubt be useful but, honestly, it’s only on maps that you may need help. I looked through so many sites for decent maps and thus saw so many with brilliant photos.
As far as a map of the area is concerned, there is a fine relief map on a reasonable scale at m/italy/cortina/summap.htm
The map will be larger than your screen so I will help a little with the places I’ve mentioned.
If you have the map a bit right of centre horizontally and about a third of the way up the screen, Cortina should be somewhere near centre screen. For Tre Croci have your map as far right as it will go and a bit over half way up – then look right of centre at the base of the north crags. For Cinque Torri have your map to the far left and about half way vertically. Look about two fifths of the way from the left just above and separate from the southernmost Peaks.

Wolkenstein travelogue picture
You want to know what facilities were provided at a free camping place and I’m about to let you down. I can’t for the life of me remember for certain what the toilet arrangements were or whether there was hot water. I THINK there was only cold water but that there was some sort of non-flush toilet arrangement - but I’m not sure.
The camping area was well up a pass among trees and was quite delightful but i can find no evidence of it now. It sounds an improbable survival.

Other recommendations:
Wolkenstein travelogue picture
I was going to give a URL for the map that shows Selva/Wolkenstein but it’s about 4 lines long and I can rarely make those work. So try this: start at: and click Italy on the map. Click on the map NW of Venezia – about half way to the national border. You will then get a map that shows Cortina d’Ampezzo just about central horizontally near to the top and Bolzano to the left of it. Click half way between these two places on this map and on the next two maps. You will then have Selva di Val Gardena. Click on the first road junction. SSE of it and lo: you find Selva/Wolkenstein.

Published on Tuesday March 1th, 2005

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Tue, Mar 01 2005 - 11:47 PM rating by ravinderkumarsi

hii david,
yet another wonderful report from you with excellent pictures.

Tue, Mar 01 2005 - 05:09 PM rating by rangutan

Great report with increadible geology

Tue, Mar 01 2005 - 04:45 PM rating by magsalex

You must certainly qualify as the most prolific report writer! Interesting stuff.

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