After a 2.5 hour drive from Venice through the beautiful Italian countryside, we checked into the 4-star Park Hotel Bellevue in Dobbacio, located alongside the Rienza River and just a short walk into the main (older) part of the town. The town is a beautiful collection of hotels, stores, shops, churches and condominiums concentrated along a single east-west roadway, with secondary streets extended back into the community just a few blocks. Our hotel was part of the “new” Dobbacio, built as an extension of the old town to accommodate more hotels and other tourist needs.
The hillsides above the town are sparsely scattered with small farms, lodges and single family homes, with each of these mountainside “villages” enjoying a peaceful, quiet environment with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. The first hike of our Dolomites adventure was the morning after we arrived – a relatively easy 4 to 5 hour, 10-mile hike that began at the eastern edge of town at the largest of the churches, and then along peaceful, gently sloping country lanes that lead us through picture-perfect Tyrolean villages and hamlets dotted across the hillside. Each village had a chapel or church, from which we saw stunning views and decorated frescoes.
The walk was a steady uphill climb, but certainly not the rugged terrain we would be getting into the rest of the week. The sunshine and clear skies gave us a great first impression! We took time out in the village of Stadlem for lunch (and a few beers) and to soak up the mountain panorama before returning to the hotel.