Greetings from Cortina-La dolce vita is in full swing in Italy’s timeless winter retreat.
The pink and coral-hued Dolomites deliver a stunning backdrop to Cortina’s medieval village, long the favored haunt of Italy’s most stylish. Now readying to host the Alpine World Championships this winter and its second Winter Olympics in 2026 (the first was in 1956), Cortina has a rhythm of its own. The real competition is always in the ritual passeggiata – the twilight hours when soigné Italians shrouded in fur, leather and cashmere religiously parade the cobbled Corsa. For daytime, should you ski (many don’t), it’s normal to plan your route around lunch in atmospheric huts dishing up fabulous Italian cuisine and superb Sud Tirolean wines. Not to be missed: nearby Alta Badia’s celeb-chef blessed Slope Food, part of the winter-long Gourmet Skisafari that has guests skiing from one refuge to another to savor Michelin-starred creations from Europe’s finest chefs.
Once back from the slopes, we love to check in at the deeply traditional, always reassuring Hotel de la Poste – since 1804 a panelled cocoon of polished parquet floors, Persian rugs and white-coated waiters. This is the best address in town, where little dogs and giant shopping bags can seem to outnumber the guests themselves. It’s also the land of quality calories, from hot chocolate to stand a spoon in, to lush pillows of pumpkin ravioli and lobster spaghettini. To prepare the palate, Bar del Posta is the spot for chic aperitivo – all in the spirit of Sophia Loren, Audrey Hepburn, famiglie Agnelli and Pirelli, even Hemingway and his typewriter called the Bar – and room 107 at the Post – home from home. Many a merry evening here has been avuncularly administered by legendary Bar Manager Antonio Di Franco, master in situ for more than 50 seasons.
Legions of beautiful people come to Cortina not only to ski, to see and be seen – but to partake in Italy’s rich wine culture.
Legions of beautiful people come to Cortina not only to ski, to see and be seen – but to partake in Italy’s rich wine culture. The latest must-sip is a bar called Alexander Gusto Antico, home to Italy’s best sommelier of 2019, Mattia Antonio Cianca. The bubbly 33-year-old Roman is recently returned from Australia – where he was also crowned Australia’s Best Sommelier for 2017 – and he’s the heart and soul of Cortina’s newest, most relaxed wine bar. When it comes to wine, there’s nothing Mattia doesn’t want to share, to talk and to laugh about over a good glass or two.
Dedicated to local food and wine excellence (of which there’s a mountain-full in these parts), Alexander’s offers more than 70 sublime wines by the glass. Regionals from Veneto and Alto-Adige are a priority, but the whole world is in your stemmed hand – from rare Champagnes to accompany oysters and caviar, to big and zesty Lagreins to enjoy alongside the best Dolomiti speck – hand-cured in the ancient mountain tradition, with a beautiful pink color and delicate flavor derived from an exacting wood mix used during cold smoking process. For afters, try the Blue Dessert AOC cow cheese together with a high-quality sweet wine such as a Sauternes, German Riesling, or a Hungarian Tokaji. Sip, nibble and slurp, even ship it to your home… all in the typical spirit of Italian conviviality, just as Mattia likes it.