To me, the word “Ferragosto” makes me think of ringing cellphones, family squabbles and lots of dark, tanned skin being shown off on the decks of huts. Just what is this Ferragosto and why hidding during August? For American readers it is really only a useful term for trivia board games, but if one is planning a trip to the Dolomites during the month of August, read on.
Ferragosto falls on August 15 and is the traditional day to celebrate summer, it is also, on a completely unrelated note, the day for Catholics where the Blessed Virgin Mary rises to the heavens. In German, it is known as “Maria Himmelfahrt” (German for “Mary goes to the sky”) – my personal favorite term. At some point August 15 was spread out to include the entire month of August. Half the population goes to the sea, the other half to the Dolomites, or so it seems. Needless to say, it is busy and loud, something like Italian TV live throughout the mountains, fully entertaining. While I enjoy the Italians and all the frenetic energy that they bring, I also like to escape, in fact in the last days I have managed hidding completely from the hordes by venturing north to the Zillertal Alpen. There we have mountain biked, hiked and climbed with no one around, and all in an amazing landscape complete with glaciers, towering peaks, idyllic green hillsides and perfectly situated mountain huts.
All of this while the Dolomite’s famous landmarks resemble Disneyland.
The lesson – if you plan to travel to the Dolomites during August – book your stay well in advance, hotels and huts. Look into some alternate locations to visit rather than just the icons. There are countless areas where the tourists do not go that are equally as stunning. Yes, DolomiteSport is a resource for the Dolomites, but in this case, no we are not going to say where to go – half the fun is figuring it out. Some hints, keyword search Google with Val Aurina, Anterselva, Riva di Tures, Rio Bianco, Edelrauthutte, Tiefrastenhutte… an entire playground exists to the north.