wooon a bright winter day There is no better place in Florence than the Ponte Santa Trinita Bridge, wide and low and arching over the Arno River in a beautiful arch. It was designed by Michelangelo and Ammannati and beloved by the Florentines after German troops bombed it during a retreat in 1944, making the river impassable for the Allies. Some villagers dived to find every last stone. after the war The townspeople were rebuilding as they were before.
Looking east from the bridge is one of the best vantage points in Europe: the busy medieval Ponte Vecchio. A lone boater may glide through an arch. But it turned out to be something It could be called Florence’s best kept secret. which I only noticed recently. For farther away, there are mountains covered with snow. I could hardly believe my eyes. Is there a ski resort there? And if so, how far? That evening, have dinner at our local restaurant. Trattoria Cammillo I told the waitress Alain. (He’s the type of guy who knows what you want before you ask.) “But sure!” he said, laughing. “You don’t know Abetone? Just an hour and a half in the car.” So the plan was born. the next morning instead of going to a church or an art gallery We’ll jump in the car and go skiing.
Now I don’t understand why anyone Skiing for weeks I enjoyed a good day or two. That’s what Abetone has to offer: the perfect day of skiing. The resort was built in the 1960s while skiing was booming. However, it is well laid out and varied, with 17 lifts connecting 27 tracks: 40km of skis and more than half on the red track.
within 90 minutes after leaving the city you can stay on the hill
I went back for a second visit on a beautiful day in December. The previous afternoon I crossed the Ponte Santa Trinita and yes the mountain was thick with snow. Slapping an alarm in the dark at 6:30 a.m. is no joy. But getting into the mountains at dawn over the Arno River was more than compensated.
On my first trip to Abetone at the end of the season, I couldn’t believe it existed — there were few frost-covered blades of grass along the way. along the way The excitement that fills the heart when seeing the snow for the first time Just an hour after leaving Florence You’ll enter the bustling village of San Marcello Pistoiese, the perfect stop for your first cup of coffee. It’s not a mountain town – architecture is still grand and Florence – but everyone who orders a chunky cake at Bar Baccarini is in their ski gear excited for the days ahead. It is also home to the Dynamo Camp, the only initiative in Italy that organizes free holiday events for children with disabilities and their families. No wonder the village has a happy atmosphere.
Half an hour later, you arrive at Abetone (1,388m), where there really isn’t anything to see or do. except ski rental Bring coins for parking – £5 for the day! — and be amazed at how little you’ll spend. A one-day ski pass costs £33, ski rentals, boots and poles cost £17, assuming you have your own pants and jacket. You’ll climb the first cable car at 9:30 in less than £60 and have a full day of skiing ahead of you. The elation didn’t come close to explaining it. Rising up on Monte Gomito (1,892 meters), I thought I could see the sea in the distance. And are those islands or clouds playing tricks on my mind? But no, the friendly Tuscan man next to me. Said that it was really the Tyranean Sea. There are Corsica and Sardinia. and islands in the Tuscany Islands I’m lost in words
Abetone straddles the Tuscany border with Emilia-Romagna. which is home to Val di Luce, a nearby valley where I spent most of the day. The track is wide, varied and challenging, with a few zigzags through the forest. and one of the two black runways in the resort. I accidentally discovered this after a friendly run of blue. I wasn’t the only one surprised to find myself afraid to point the skis downward. We stood there, the four of us, our skis were level. Wondering how we can get off this cliff? The first had a fast and graceful descent. The second one tried the same. But it ends in a monstrous breakdown. The third, fearful of cropping up. down to his ass little by little I followed him halfway before patience took its place and I went for it. It’s fast and scary But I live to tell stories.
A gondola covered in snow in Venice
Professional skiers worry that it won’t be enough to keep them entertained at smaller resorts like Abetone, but I don’t run out of exciting activities to do. One of the advantages of skiing in Italy is that you will be full while running. i think so I remember that giant pancake and cream tortellini bowl I ate on my first visit to Abetone at Rifugio Monte Gomito with a rough red glass for Euros. But when I think of lunch this time, I see five resorts. shelter There is only a sandwich, the food is not hot, it’s okay, thank you. Another benefit of skiing in Italy is that hardly anyone returns to the slopes after lunch. They would rather disappear for a nap. Therefore, the afternoon is more empty than the morning, which is really empty. No Courchevel queuing for the gondola or the claustrophobic feeling that all of Fulham is pushing you through the ski slopes. Skiing in Italy is incredibly civilized.
After my last run, around 4pm, I headed for an après-ski. Abetone didn’t look hopeful, but at Val di Luce, there was a bar where half a dozen locals were ordering espresso cups filled with colored liquid. hot orange I ordered the same: Clementine Liqueur — delicious but insanely rich. Suddenly the villagers disappeared. It’s just me and a glass of hot hangover, and it’s not even five o’clock yet. So I hopped in the car. I can get to Florence before 7 o’clock. Just in time for a shower and dinner at Cammillo’s.
time for apres ski
sit down at my regular table I served a bowl of steamed spaghetti con bottarca (smoked cod roe) by Alain. “How is Abetone?” he asked. “Skiing is great. But the food here is better,” I said. The miracle is You can have both in one day.
Matthew Bell travels independently in Abetone the Albergo Regina, which claims to have Puccini’s piano on the first floor, half-board pairs from £53 (albergoregina.com).
More ski breaks in town
Venice and Cortina
From Venice Treviso Airport, you can take the Cortina Express to Cortina d’Ampezzo for a few days of skiing before heading back to Venice. 1980s (Roger Moore knows everything in For Your Eyes Only here) and lots of reasonably priced hotels. Two nights give you plenty of time to enjoy the resort’s 120km run.
details B&B doubles at Hotel Montana in Cortina from £88 (hotel-montana.cortina-dampezzo.hotels-in-it.com). Ski costs for adults £52. B&B doubles at Hotel Flora in Venice from £139 (hotelflora). .it)
Mole Antonelliana in Turin
Turin and Sestriere
Turin is known for its elegant vaulted streets and home to the Fiat factory, but also as a gateway to Italy’s best skiing. Sestriere is a 90-minute drive from Turin Airport. Italy’s first specifically built – Giovanni Agnelli built two hotel towers in the 1930s that dominate the skyline as a resting place for his Fiat workers – it’s not beautiful, but the skiing feels like nothing else. End: 390 km with lots of snow equipment
details Double the B&B at the Grand Hotel Sestriere from £80 (minimum two-night stay. grandhotelsestriere.it), £35 for adults skiing, B&B doubles at Hotel Victoria Torino with open lights and country house atmosphere from £110 (hotelvictoria-torino.com).
Rome and Campo Felice
Although Rome is on the same latitude as Istanbul and Barcelona. But it is surrounded by hills and the central Apennines in the distance. Of the five ski resorts within a two-hour drive, the best is Campo Felice, which runs 30km through five mountains over 2000m. Built in 1960, it has two ski schools. A good place to make artificial snow. There are quite a few good hotels. But day trips are easy. Especially if you have a car. Wake up in Campo de Fiori, spend the day in Campo Felice, and go back in time to relax after skiing in Trastevere’s bars.
details Double the B&B at the classic Hotel Locarno in Rome from £240 (hotellocarno.com), adult ski pass from £27.
Orvieto and Monte Amiata
Founded by Etruscans atop Mount Orvieto, it’s a wonderful place to stay. It’s full of restaurants serving delicious regional cuisine and plenty to see. It’s also Orvieto’s most famous landmark, the magnificent black-and-white striped church that dominates the main square. And there are also many charming restaurants and bars in the narrow medieval alleys. extending The lesser-known ski resort of Monte Amiata is an hour’s drive from the border in Tuscany. It has only 10km of running, but most are red or black. So skiing is challenging enough to be interesting.
details Double the B&B at the simple three-star Hotel Duomo. But it’s the center of Orvieto. From £75 (orvietohotelduomo.com), adult ski passes start at 23.
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