Fall in the Dolomites, Val di Funes, Italy
Two years ago I made a brief visit to the Val Di Funes in South Tyrol, Italy and I swore I would return one day when I had more time to explore. So last fall, I finally did. I met up with a very good photographer friend for a short girls weekend tucked into the tiny town of Santa Magdelena in the Valley (Val di Funes) at the foot of the Dolomite mountain range. We spent 3 days exploring, photographing and relaxing in the solitude of this stunning area. It couldn’t have been more perfect.
(Click on photos to enlarge)
We arrived the very last weekend of their season so we basically had the mountain-side to ourselves. The fall foliage was not quite in full force, but we were greeted with a (fairly) warm and sunny fall weekend. The light in this area during autumn falls low and soft and makes everything in it’s path glow. It is pretty spectacular.
We stayed at the Hotel Tyrol which I couldn’t recommend enough. Although a little pricier than others, the food, views, and hospitality are worth every penny. The rooms are clean and comfortable and after a long day of hiking you can relax with a glass of wine in the outdoor jacuzzi while watching the sunset. If that isn’t worth a couple extra dollars, I don’t know what is!
There are numerous hiking trails right outside your door and we spent the majority of our time getting lost in the landscape vistas. I am uncertain which trails we took (literally, we were always lost) but always managed to find amazing views and a hut with great food and hot mulled wine. Although you are actually in Italy, this area, which used to be part of Austria, has a predominately Alpine/Austrian vibe. The food and people are heavily influenced by Austria and you are much more inclined to find a Knodelsuppe (pictured below) than a pizza. Which in my opinion tastes better after a long hike anyway.
All in all, this is probably one of my favorite places I have been. The mountains are just so beautiful it’s almost hard to believe they are real. This tiny area tucked into the upper region of Italy may not be a typical American tourist destination, but it is well worth the effort in getting here. The landscape and mountain peaks are like no other place on the planet and fall is a perfect time to visit. The European crowds have dwindled and you get all this amazing autumn light to yourself. :)