Hiking the Italian Dolomites | Chapels and Churches Walk

20160903_162954_resizedAfter 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.

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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.

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