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A Day Trip Through the Dolomites From Venice, Italy

Traveling has always been one of my passions. It exposes us to new cultures and experiences and makes the world a more tolerant place.

Lagazuoi Cable Car

Lagazuoi Cable Car

When most people think about making a trip to Venice the last thing that probably crosses their minds is taking a trip into the mountains of northern Italy. In fact, I’m willing to bet that most visitors to Venice are totally unaware that a mere two hours away is some of the most dramatic and majestic mountain scenery to be found anywhere. The mighty Dolomites are part of the Italian Alps and are nestled into the north-eastern corner of Italy in the provinces of Belluno, Bolzano and Trento. They stretch for some 125 miles from east to west and contain 18 peaks over 10,000 feet. This region of Italy is a virtual playground for the outdoor enthusiast. Whether it’s skiing, hiking, biking or just enjoying beautiful mountain scenery then a trip into the Dolomites may be just the thing to quench your mountain thirst.



If you are looking to spend some extended time in the Dolomites then there are certainly some wonderful locations from which to choose. Cortina d’Ampezzo, Ortisei, Selva and Corvara in Badia all make for a great base from which to explore the region. But if you’re ultimate destination is Venice, and you would like to get just a taste of the mountains then let me take you through a day trip from Venice that will get you into the heart of the Dolomites and back safely to Venice in one day.

I’ll preface this by telling you that there are numerous tour companies out there ready and willing to take you on a day trip to the Dolomites. They are not cheap, but if you are not into driving yourself then you might consider this option. For me, there is nothing quite like driving through the mountains at your own pace, stopping when and where you want and not being subject to someone else’s schedule. So if you want a little adventure and don’t mind doing some driving then sit back and enjoy this day trip through the Dolomites.


Our day starts in the beautiful city of Venice. While there is obviously no vehicle traffic in Venice you can easily get to Piazzale Roma, which is the terminal for buses and rental car companies on the island. You can rent a vehicle from Macro Polo Airport but this would involve traveling to the airport, which only wastes time, so if possible I would rent the car from Piazzale Roma and be on your way. The only issue you may have with doing this is if you're looking to rent a van. We tried to rent a seven-passenger van from Piazzale Roma and were unsuccessful so we had no choice but to travel to the airport.



Upon exiting Venice you will quickly find yourself on the A27 Autostrada heading north which is an easy road to travel on. Presumably you are traveling with a GPS device, which I highly recommend. For the first part of the journey I would program into your GPS; Belluno, Agordo and then Alleghe. This will take you from the Autostrada through the town of Belluno and then onto route SS203 going north through Agorda and Alleghe. The trip from Venice to Belluno should take a little over an hour. You will notice that the scenery is changing quickly, you are only one hour from Venice and the landscape has changed from a coastal lagoon to mountain scenery. The best is yet to come.


Shortly after leaving Alleghe you will have to make a decision on one of two possible tours to take. If you left early enough and don’t mind a little extra driving then you may want to head for Arabba and a loop around the Sella Ronda. This route will take you around the Sella, the huge plateau shaped massif, and over four mountain passes; Campolongo, Pordoi, Sella and Gardena. The entire loop is only about 35 miles and can be done in either direction from Arabba (clockwise or counter). If you opt for this option be prepared for a long day. Even though it’s just 35 miles to make the circuit you will want to make plenty of stops and I always recommend taking a gondola or lift up for the best views.

Sella Ronda Loop

The Sella Ronda Loop

The Sella Ronda Loop

The other option, and the one that we took due to a delay at the airport in picking up our rental is to head from Alleghe to Passo Falzarego on SS48. The drive takes you up to 2105 meters and to the Lagazuoi gondola lift which I highly recommend. The lift is right off the road and there is plenty of parking right there. There is also a gift shop and a restaurant so it makes for a great spot to take a break. The gondola lift is quite impressive and really goes straight up to the peak of Lagazuoi at 2733 meters. Needless to say the view is magnificent.


Our route

The cable car ride up

The cable car ride up

We found this particular spot to be quite interesting as this historical area was the site of some heavy combat during World War I. As you take the lift up you can see some of the caves in the mountain that were used by the Italian troops. At the top you can hike the Austrian troop path that follows the ridge along the top of the mountain. It makes for a very scenic and interesting trek.

You can follow the Austrian troop trail.

You can follow the Austrian troop trail.

From the Falzarego Pass it is a short ride on SS48 into the quaint former Olympic village of Cortina d’Amprezzo. I might add here that SS48 is otherwise known as the Grande Strada delle Dolomiti or Grand Dolomite Highway and is considered one of the most scenic drives in all of Italy. The Grand Dolomite Highway stretches for 65 miles from Bolzano in the west all the way to Cortina d'Amprezzo in the east.



We found it worth the time to stroll through the pedestrian center of Cortina and even stopped for a late lunch at a wonderful café called Pasticceria Bar Domino.

Cortina d'Amprezzo is famous as the host city for the 1956 Winter Olympics and is a beautiful alpine town set in a valley among the Dolomites. From Cortina you have a few options for returning to Venice. If you are short on time you can set your GPS back to Venice and take route SS51 back to the A27 Autostrada and be back in Venice in less than two hours. Or, if time permits you can take a more scenic route back over the Passo Giau, which is what we did.

A trip over the Passo Giau is well worth your time. At 2236 meters the pass here provides for a stunning view of the Dolomites in all directions. You are literally at the base of the Nuvolau (2574 meters) with its striking peak and there is a path that leads you directly to it. This area of the Dolomites is dotted with alpine cows and herds of sheep and we came across numerous deer on the drive up to the pass.

Passo Giau - the Nuvolau

Passo Giau - the Nuvolau

From the Passo Giau you can continue to follow the road off the mountain and then set your GPS to Venice and you should be good to go. The ride to Venice from Passo Giau is a little over two hours. We found both Passo Falzargo and Passo Giau to be beautiful locations with stunning views. If you want a taste of the Dolomites and find yourself in Venice with a day to spare, grab a rental car and head north. And don’t fret too much over the driving. The roads in northern Italy were wider and less travelled than in many other parts of Italy. We took a full size Ford Galaxy Minivan on this route and had no problems. I might even go so far as to say the driving was fun.

Ciao for now.

Sunset from Passo Giau

Sunset from Passo Giau

Questions & Answers

Question: We've been looking for a review or guide to a road trip from Venice to the Dolomites. Was there a book that you read before your trip? My husband and I have been online comparing travel guides and maps. We would like to purchase one, but thought of asking for recommendations from people who have been there.

Answer: We did not really consult with any single book to plan this. We basically did what you are doing, and that is to consult with some blog posts and maps to plan out the day. We got a late start due to trouble getting our rental car, and we really wanted to drive the Sella Ronda, but did not think we would have time. So instead we opted to see Cortina, and we took the Lagazoui cable car, which was spectacular. Plan for a long day, and definitely start as early as possible. Make sure to schedule time for a hike, and take a cable car ride up somewhere; there are a number of them in the area. The scenery is spectacular; you will love it.

Question: I'm thinking of driving to the Dolomites from Venice in July. Do you know if I can rent a car at Piazza Roma without a booking? Also, is Google Maps reliable as a GPS?

Answer: To be honest, I'm not sure if you can rent from Piazzale Roma without a booking. We tried to rent a van from there without success and had to go to the airport, which cost us some valuable time. You can always try to contact them via email, that's how we found out there were no vans available from Piazzale Roma. You can still advance reserve a vehicle and cancel if you decide not to make the trip.

As far as using Google Maps I think you will be fine. The roads are well marked and in remarkably good condition considering how much snow they get in the winter. We had no issues with driving or directions.

Question: We are planning to travel to Venice, Italy in November. When would the weather be the most ideal?

Answer: I would think that by November you run the risk of inclement weather, but as you know, the weather can be finicky at any time. Maybe leave open the option of going and when you arrive in Venice see how the weather is. It should be fairly easy to get a rental, especially at that time of year.

Question: Do we need to prebook the gondola rides through the Dolomites or can we just buy them on the spot? What is the ticket costs like?

Answer: The Lagazoui Cable car ticket is 16 euro for a roundtrip ticket. You do not prebook them, you simply purchase your ticket when you arrive. The cable car leaves every 15 minutes starting at 9 am. It’s an amazing experience.

Question: Did you have any challenges with ZTLs during your trip? They don’t seem to be as big of an issue as they are in Florence, but I’d like to be prepared.

Answer: Not during our trip up to the Dolomites. Florence and Siena, yes, we had a problem. I think the driving we did in the Dolomites might be the easiest driving I have experienced in Italy. It was actually enjoyable.

Question: We want to stay in a place in the Dolomites. Where would you suggest? We are going to rent a car in Venice and drive to Cortina d'Amprezzo!

Answer: If you are driving to Cortina d’Amprezzo you can certainly stay there. I’m sure there are plenty of nice B&B’s there. We usually check TripAdvisor to find a place that is reasonable. If you don’t want to stay in Cortina there are a number of wonderful communities to the west of Cortina that are beautiful. Try looking at Ortisei, Corvara in Badia, Arabba or any of the other communities that surround the Sella Massif.

Question: We will be traveling to Italy in December and arrive at Milan airport. Is it better to go direct to the Dolomites from Milan? Or should we go to Venice and then go up to the Dolomites from there? Also is it better to take the train or drive ourselves?

Answer: This will depend on where in the Dolomites you plan on going. If you want to go to the eastern end near Cortina I would go to Venice first. If you are planning on going to the western side near Pinzolo or Trento then I would perhaps consider going there first. Also, consider that you are going in December so you may encounter bad weather. If you are going to Venice first the train is an easy way to get there and then from Venice you can rent a car or a driver to get to the Dolomites. If you want to see the western side of the Dolomites you can take the train to Trento and then rent a car. Anyway, you look at it, to get into the heart of the Dolomites to experience all its beauty you will most likely need a car at some point.

Question: I'd love to rent a car and go from Venice to the Dolomites, but I'm scared of the weather during March. Do you have any idea what the road conditions will be like?

Answer: March is still late winter in the Dolomites so it can be cold and you can still get snow. While they do a good job of clearing roads, it will come down to pure luck as to what the weather is like when you are there. Maybe keep it open as an option and see what the weather is like when you get to Venice. If it’s okay, rent a vehicle and go, if not you’re still in Venice, so it’s a win-win.

Question: How much gas did you use the whole day trip through the Dolomites from Venice, and how is parking in the small towns?

Answer: I believe with the route that we took we traveled approximately 250 miles. I don’t recall the price of gas at the time but I would estimate with the large minivan that we were driving that we must have used about 50 liters (13 gallons).

As far as parking, we did not have any problems in the small towns. There was plenty of free parking, so we never had to pay to park. Good luck, this is a beautiful region of Italy and definitely worth a visit.

Question: Can you recommend a place to stay one night on the route from Venice through the Dolomites you laid out in this article?

Answer: I can't recommend a specific place to stay as we did this as a day-trip from Venice, but if I were to select a community to overnight in I might try Cortina or Alta Badia or Selva di Val Gardena. They are all nestled in the midst of the Dolomites and offer beautiful scenery and access to scenic drives and hikes. Alta Badia and Selva di Val Gardena are a little west of the route we took, but still doable. Cortina is a beautiful little village and was the host of the 1956 Winter Olympics.

© 2012 Bill De Giulio


Imtiaz uddin chy on February 20, 2020:

Thank you so much for sharing this place.Really Italy most prettiest country in the world. IF ANY BODY WANT TO TRAVEL I WILL RECOMMEND THIS TRAVEL SITE THEY REALLY BEST SERVICE PROVIDER.I GOT AMAZING SERVICE. (Tvllover.com)


Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on November 12, 2019:

Thank you, Mary. It's a beautiful region of Italy, often overlooked by tourists.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on November 12, 2019:

Beautiful. I wish to visit this place one day.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on September 15, 2019:

Thank you, Lauren, glad it worked out for you.

Lauren Davis on September 15, 2019:

Thank you for your blog! We followed your route and had an experience of a lifetime!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on July 14, 2019:

Hi Radhika. I’m sure there are buses that go from Venice to Cortina, but we rented a car. You can pickup a rental at Piazzale Roma or at Marco Polo airport if you want want to drive yourself. If you want a bus tour, just Google ”Venice tours to the Dolomites”.

Radhika gupta on July 14, 2019:

hi. can you pplease explain it to me how do i go about in on 14th ept 2019. cant see buses. i will travel from venice. and i want to visit cortina, lake misurina and 3 peaks.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on March 18, 2019:

Seems possible. The trip from Venice to Salzburg is about 520 km going through Val Gardena and Innsbruck, so figure about 7 to 8 hours of driving time. I would think spread out over 5 days that this would leave plenty of time for exploring and leisure activities.

Marie on March 18, 2019:

Hi we r planning to visit d alps nxt june but we want to visit val gardena lake brailles innsbruck and finish salzburg do you think we can make it in 5 days with leisure? Or can someone reccommend other towns

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on October 23, 2018:

Hi Carlos, Glad you had a great trip and enjoyed the Dolomites. Funny you should mention seeing deer because we did see a number of them when we were in that area. Thanks for the comments, have a great day.

Carlos Caetano (Lisbon, Portugal) on October 22, 2018:

Hi Bill,

Thanks for your great guide. Last September I spent a week in Venice and rented a car to go to the Dolomites. I followed your guide and can assure you my wife had a wonderful 50th anniversary. The only negative aspect was my kids complain about the absence of the deer :)

Amy Gignac on July 14, 2018:

Thank you Bill for your feedback and support of the NE sports teams. By brothers and father are big sport fanatics! I think on this trip we might have to find something more westerly (due to bookings) like in the area of Merano but hope to figure a way to get around to see the Passa Giau as your article recommended even if it's just passing through on the way back. Many thanks and best wishes for your future travels. We can't wait!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on July 12, 2018:

Hi Amy. Congratulations, you are going to a stunning region of Italy. The Dolomites are amazing. In our first visit we stayed in Tione di Trento, which is further west. The second visit we did from Venice and explored the region around Cortina. If I were to visit agiain and stay for a couple of nights I would stay somewhere in between the two, say in the Ortesei or Badia area. This area, around Ortisei, is about 3.5 hours from Venice so right in your range. This puts you in a position to do the Sella Ronda, which is magnificent, but also easily within striking distance of Cortina. The western region around the Cima Tosa might be a bit far, but doable in about 3 hours from Ortisei.

We found the hiking to be easy to moderate and certainly plenty of opportunities for your kids. There are lifts and cable cars everywhere that you can take and then hike or just enjoy the views. We also found the driving in this part of Italy to be easy. The mountain roads were never crowded and were in good shape. I might even go so far as to say it was enjoyable to drive in such a beautiful place.

Good luck. Hopefully this helped somewhat. One thing I can garauntee is that you will not regret visiting the Dolomites, they are magically. Go Red Sox.

Amy G on July 12, 2018:

Hello, I'm a Northeastern resident as well! My family and I will be renting a car and traveling to the Dolomite region for 2 nights 3 days if all goes as planned (with rental). It looks like so many towns are incredibly beautiful- where would you say is a good base town to lodge and explore both sides/areas of Dolomites? Do you think most hiking is safe for kids ages 10 & 12? We were planning on approximately 3-3.5 hour drive to a base town and then exploring from there. Many thanks in advance.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on May 15, 2018:

Thank you Liz. It's a beautiful area of Italy. Enjoy.

Liz Oliver on May 14, 2018:

Well written with excellent detail... just what I needed. Thanks so much for posting.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on April 09, 2018:

Hi Anna. There was no specific book that we used to plan this day trip. We did basically what you are doing and read a bunch of blog posts and looked at maps to see what was feasible. You have some options available to you and they will depend on how early you leave and can get up to the mountains. We wanted to drive the Sella Ronda that goes over four high mountain passes but we didn't think we had enough time due to some issues getting our car rental for the day, which resulted in leaving later than planned. But, we also wanted to see Cortina and the Lagazoui Cable Car ride was spectacular so it all worked out. My advice would be to map out a route that you think you would enjoy and just plan on that. The drive up to the Dolomites is pretty easy and very enjoyable. There are a number of cable car lifts and scenic hikes all over this area so maybe factor in time to do some of these things. I think our day was about 12 hours, and we were certainly prepared to make it longer if we had been able to leave earlier. Good luck with the planning and enjoy Venice and the Dolomites. This really is a stunning area and you will not regret going. If I can answer any other questions feel free to ask.

Regards, Bill

Anna Del Kil on April 08, 2018:

Hi. This is an excellent blog. It has everything we've been looking for in a review or guide to a road trip from Venice to the Dolomites. Thank you for sharing. Was there a book that you read before your trip? My husband and I have been online comparing travel guides and maps. We would like to purchase one but thought of asking for recommendations from people who have been there. Thank you for your time.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on March 18, 2018:

Thanks Mike, glad you enjoyed the trip. Would love to get back there sometime in the future, it’s a beautiful area. Have a great day.

Readmikenow on March 18, 2018:

Good story and excellent pictures. I really enjoyed reading this. One more thing on my bucket list.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on March 18, 2018:

Hi Nimit. Glad you enjoyed the tour. We did exactly what you are planning, four nights in Venice with a day trip to the mountains. The driving in this part of Italy is easy and the roads are well cared for. You can get a rental car right from Piazzale Roma.

Good luck and congratulations on your wedding. You will love Venice and the Dolomites.

Nimit on March 17, 2018:

Simply incredible article. We are traveling to Italy and Switzerland for our first time during our honeymoon this July-August and two of the main locations in italy we wanted to hit were Amalfi Coast and the Dolomites. This article was super helpful to put me at ease about wanting to rent a car from Venice and tour the area. We are spending 4 days in Venice and then taking the train to Milan so I am thinking it is best to base ourselves for 4 nights in Venice instead of spending even 1 night in the Dolomites so we don't have to worry about our luggage and then also how to get to Milan from there. Thank you!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on February 03, 2018:

Hi Tracy. This is an amazing area, you are going to love it. I am not familiar with all of the small communities in the area but certainly Ortisei, Alta Badia, Arabba, and even possibly Cortina although it is located further east are all possibilities. Actually I think you will find Cortina a little touristy so stick to the area west of there. The hiking, driving, and cable car rides in and around the Sella Massif are amazing. There are a lot of B&B’s in this area so certainly you will be able to find one that meets your needs With 3 nights in the area be sure to drive the Sella Ronda, the mountain road that circumnavigates the Sella Massif. The road goes over 4 high mountain passes and offers opportunities for hiking, and taking a cable car up high for great views. You are going to feel like you are in heaven when you get to this area.

Tracy Garstka on February 02, 2018:

Hi Bill, very informative information. My husband and I will be hiring a car from Venice in early August and driving to the Dolomites to stay for 3 nights. It will be our first trip to this region. We LOVE the mountains and I really get my breath taken away just looking at pictures so can only imagine the beauty in person! We plan to do several day hikes but are trying to decide what location to use as a hub. I want to find us a special place. Not too fancy. That’s not us. But more like a smaller chalet or lodge with amazing views. There is one hike my husband wants to do that starts in Ortisei. That will be the Northern most are we will go. That’s about all we have planned so far so pretty much have the entire 3 days to plan out. Any suggestions you may have would be great! Again, we dont want to be remote but at the same time, we want a true feel for the area without being too touristy. Modest accommodations as long at the setting is amazing!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on October 23, 2017:

You're very welcome KR. This is a stunning area and if you love mountain driving you are in for a treat. Any additional questions... no problem.

KR on October 23, 2017:

Thanks, Bill. This was exactly what I needed about the routes with their route #s. I am sure we will be in touch again, maybe with additional questions.


Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on October 22, 2017:

Hi KR. Yes, I do think that Alta Badia is a reasonable overnight spot and this places you just north of the Sellaronda. The Sellaronda is the route that goes around the Sella Massif and goes over the four passes. Part of the route takes you on SS48, which is the Grand Dolomite Highway. SS48 runs east to west and is the southern portion of the Sellaronda. If you look at a good detailed map it will become clear. I believe that the SS48 portion goes over just Passo Pordoi but also very close to Passo Campolongo. The other two passes, Gardena and Sella are on SS242 and SS243. From Belluno you will go a little north of the Sellaronda to get to Alto Badia, but it’s all beautiful country, and it’ just a few miles from the Sellaronda, which again is the route around the Sella Massif. When you leave the area you can head west on either SS48 or SS242, both should take you to the A22 autostrada. Hopefully this all makes sense. Sounds like a wonderful trip.

krsteinb on October 22, 2017:

Hi, Bill

My husband and I are planning a trip starting in Venice, but not round trip. Probably take the autostra as far as Belluno. Then go through part of Dolomites, spending a couple of nights there (does Alta Badia seem a reasonable overnight spot?); then driving to the lakes region. We are from Colorado and love mountain driving so will opt for either the Grand Dolomite Road (SS48?) or the “other” mountain route. Is this the one that goes over 4 passes? Is this before or after Alta Badia, from Belluno? Appreciate any help you can give. Thanks.


Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on August 21, 2017:

If we had that extra day we would have spent the night in Cortina d'Ampezzo. Quaint former Olympic village.

Claudia on August 21, 2017:

Where would you recommend spending the night on the route you did?

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on March 26, 2017:

Hi Jennifer. It was pretty much all day. We left about 8am and made a number of stops on the way to Falzargo Pass where we took the Lagazuoi lift. From there we went to Cortina, walked the town, ate, looked around. We watched the sun set from Passo Giau on the way back to Venice. Probably arrived back in Venice between 9 and 10pm. It was a long day but so worth it. We made a lot of stops on the drive and spent a fair amount of time at the Passes and in Cortina. Thanks for stopping by. Good luck.

Jennifer Guadarrama on March 26, 2017:

How many hours was the day trip to the Dolomites?

NorthernCATravler on February 05, 2017:

Yes, we'll take the cable car ride. We hope to visit Venice and possibly Innsbruck, I'm not sure how far Innsbruck is - we've stayed on the Val Gardena side of the Dolomites. Looking forward to the trip.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on February 04, 2017:

Hi there NorthernCATravler. Sounds like an amazing trip. The Dolomites and Cortina d'Amprezzo are simply stunning. I don't know if the cable cars will be open, I would think they would be for skiing, but take a ride up just for the views. You are also close enough to visit Venice? Enjoy, this is an amazing region of Italy with unsurpassed scenery.

NorthernCATravler on February 04, 2017:

Thank you for your article. We will be in Cortina d'Ampezzo March 4-11th, 2017, not Skiing this time, hopefully, we can make a few day trips work for us.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on October 12, 2016:

Hi Shannon. It's a beautiful area and certainly manageable from Venice. I'm sure it's even more scenic in December with more snow in the mountains. Have a great trip if you go, thanks for stopping by.

Shannon Kircher on October 12, 2016:

Thank you for sharing! We're brainstorming a quickie European escape in December before Christmas and I've been toying with the idea of Venice + the Dolomites. Looks awesome!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on July 27, 2015:

Thank you LuxeTravelFamily. We've been fortunate to have visited the Dolomites on a couple of ocassions and it's always spectacular. One of my favorite regions.

LuxeTravelFamily on July 26, 2015:

Great article. We love visiting the Dolomites!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on July 26, 2015:

Hi Komang. Thank you. You will love Italy. Hopefully you get there soon. Thanks for the visit.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on July 26, 2015:

Thanks Kristen. We had a great trip to the Dolomites. What a contrast from Venice. I love the mountains so this was right up my alley. Thanks so much for stopping by and the vote.

Komang Setiabudi from Jakarta Selatan on July 26, 2015:

Fantastic article. I would like to go to Italy with my family.

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on July 26, 2015:

Bill, this was another great travelogue from you in Italy on your day trip. It was so visual with your descriptions and your photos. Voted up for interesting!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on July 05, 2015:

Hi Deborah. Thank you. You would love Venice, really unlike any other place. And with the Dolomites not too far away a day trip to the mountains is certainly doable. Thanks for stopping by, have a great day.

Deborah Morrison from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada on July 05, 2015:

Would love to go to Venice, Italy, now that I've read your article.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on January 21, 2015:

Hi jesus_man. I would plan on spending a night somewhere in the Dolomites. You can get from Innsbruck to the heart of the Dolomites in an hour or so but you will want to spend some time exploring, hiking, maybe taking a lift, etc.. From the Dolomites to Milan will take longer and my take on these trips is why rush. Depending on where you visit in the Dolomite region you may also want to stop at a few of the alpine towns. Enjoy this region, it's absolutely breathtaking.

jesus_man on January 21, 2015:

Mr. DeGiulio. My family and my parents are looking to make a big whirlwind Alp tour out of Austria, Italy, Switzerland, & France. I am trying to decide how much time we need in the Dolomite region to see the highlights. The trip will take place in the first part of April. We will be renting a 7-9 passenger van, which I am quite confident about driving and have a lot of mountain pass driving experience. We'd likely be traveling from Innsbruck and then headed to either Milan or Lake Como afterwards. I am trying to decide if we can see the sites in one day, or do we need to plan a nights stay in the area and then leave for our next destination sometime during the following day.


Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on August 08, 2014:

Hi Nicole. Glad you enjoyed the visit. Like you I drooled at the prospect of touring the Dolomites while we were visiting Venice. It really is beautiful and it can be done in a day. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment, have a great weekend.

Nicole Pellegrini from New Jersey, USA on August 08, 2014:

I am drooling and adding this to my wish list for my next visit to Venice and the Veneto! While I've done day trips to Padova and Vicenza before, spending some time in the Dolomites sounds wonderful. Thank you for this fantastic guide.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on July 27, 2014:

Hi Jevina. Thanks for stopping by. I would not say that driving in the Dolomites is treacherous. Certainly there are some areas where you are going up and there are switchbacks as you climb but overall the roads there are in good condition. We took a full size mini van on this trip as we were a group of six and I actually enjoyed driving in the mountains. There may be a few spots here and there that some might consider hair-raising but as long as you are driving responsibly you will be okay. Many people make the drive through the Dolomites and I would not consider the drive dangerous although I have a tendency to look at the scenery and not the road, which I don't recommend. :)

If you do decide to go make sure you get an early start. I will say that it was a long day for us but that was mostly due to the fact that we just didn't want to leave. I would highly recommend the Lagazuoi Cable-car ride and Cortina is just a short ride east of here. The views from the top of Lagazuoi are something to behold and the history here is fascinating.

Good luck with your trip. You will love Vencie and if you do make the trip to the Dolomites I don't think you will be disappointed.

Jevina on July 27, 2014:

Hi Bill,

Wow, your post is so interesting and informative. Most people don't normally give so much information which is exactly what a person needs! We're visiting Venice in a couple of months and originally we were going to do a day trip to the Dolomites, but we have now decided to cut it out. But seeing your pictures makes me want to put it back in again. We cut it out because we were very worried about driving to the Dolomites. Are the mountainous roads very treacherous or hair-raising, or would you say it's okay to drive to the Dolomites?

Thanks again for your post! :-)

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on May 30, 2014:

Hi Thelma. You're not too far away there in Germany. This is a great region of Italy, just beautiful scenery and a lot less tourists. We've ventured into the Dolomites on two occasions and both trips were just breathtaking. Glad you enjoyed the trip. Ciao!

Thelma Alberts from Germany on May 29, 2014:

What a beautiful place to visit! I would love to go there but I can´t do that alone. I have seen a lot of travel videos about this place. Certainly, worth a visit. Thanks for the awesome tour. Ciao bello!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on November 24, 2013:

Hi tasso. We started in Venice and went as far as Cortina before heading back to Venice, so Venice was the half way point. The map above shows our stops from Venice to Belluno to Falzarego Pass to Cortina. From Cortina we head back to Venice vis the Giau Pass. This can be done in a day if you get an early start. Thanks for stopping by.

tasso2611 on November 24, 2013:

So is Cortina halfway through this route you talk about? I am having a hard time finding a map of it so I can get my bearings.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on November 15, 2013:

Hi tasso2611. Yes, we actually stopped in Cortina, which is only 15 minutes from the Lagazuoi Cable Car. Alta badia, is close by also, about 20 minutes to the northwest. Either place would make for a great overnight. Good luck and let me know how it goes. This is a stunning area of Italy.

tasso2611 on November 14, 2013:

Wow! thank you so much for all this wonderful information! I plan to do this in late Aug. when I go, but I am thinking of not returnig to Venice and rather staying somewhere near Cortina o Alta Badia, are these areas near this route you explain? Thanks

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on October 13, 2013:

Hi Mike. Thanks for stopping by. I can tell you that our day trip from Venice was a long day. We stopped in Alleghe on our way to the Falzarego Pass where we took the Lagazuoi cable car, which I highly recommend. From there we headed east and spent a few hours in Cortina d'Ampezzo before heading to Passo Giau to watch the sunset. We did not get back to Venice until about 10pm. I would recommend that you rent a car for the day so you can set your own schedule. Because we were a group of six we could not rent a van from Piazzale Roma and had to go to the airport to get a van. This cost us about an hour of time.

The route that I originally wanted to take was to drive the Sella Ronda. This is the circuit that takes you over 4 high mountain passes as you circle the Sella Dolomite group. This is farther west from where we were and could probably be done in a day if you get a really early start.

As far as Austria we did not get there although we sure were close. There are a few towns/villages that are close, namely Lienz and Assling but I have not been there and don't know much about them. I will do a little research and get back here with what I find. Just be prepared for a long day. Once you get off the A27 the roads are winding and slow.

This is a beautiful region of Italy and if you like mountains you will not be disappointed. Give me a couple of days and check back, I'll see what I can come up with.

Mike on October 13, 2013:

Hi Bill: Loved your trip description. I am planning a family trip to Venice next July, 2014. I am struggling debating taking the 1 day tour from Venice or renting a car on the island and driving myself and not having time constraints at each stop. Being so close to Austria, is there a village you would recommend that would only add 2 extra hours to the day trip? Thanks.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on June 24, 2013:

Hi Yoleen. They are beautiful anytime of year. Great skiing in the winter and great hiking in the summer. Thanks for stopping by, have a great day.

Yoleen Lucas from Big Island of Hawaii on June 24, 2013:

I would LOVE to take a skiing / snowboarding vacation in the Dolomites! I'd love to visit them any time of year!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on October 15, 2012:

Hi Winsome. It is a beautiful region of Italy. We enjoyed all of it. Thank you for stopping by to read and comment. I really enjoyed your tour of northern Italy also. Ciao

Winsome from Southern California by way of Texas on October 14, 2012:

Now I know what I was looking at in my favorite picture of Santa Maddelena. Thanks for the tour--my favorites, based on your beautiful pictures, are Alleghe and Cortina. Ciao Bella! =: )

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on October 06, 2012:

The more the merrier. Thanks for coming along for the ride. It's a beautiful part of Italy.

Many thanks for the read and vote. Have a great day.

Shinkicker from Scotland on October 06, 2012:

Glad to have come aboard and be a passenger on your drive. Great photos of tremendous scenery too.

Voted up

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on September 28, 2012:

Hi Mel. Thank you, it was a great day traveling through the Dolomites and the scenery was amazing. If you ever get the chance to visit the Dolomites please take it.

Many thanks for the visit and comments. Have a great weekend.

Nell Rose from England on September 28, 2012:

What a beautiful place! now I have somewhere else to visit! brilliant! love your article and the photos were amazing!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on September 25, 2012:

Thank you speedakias. It is a beautiful region of Italy. That's the problem with visiting Italy, there are just so many wonderful places to visit.

Glad you enjoyed the Hub and welcome to HubPages.

speedy gonzales from Greece on September 25, 2012:

Magnificent Article! Italy has so many beautiful places to see! I still remember my own journey in Dolomites in 2008.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on September 25, 2012:

Hi Alicia. It is a beautiful part of italy and one that is often overlooked by travelers. Hopefully you get there someday. Thank you for the taking the time to read and comment. Have a great day.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on September 24, 2012:

This area looks very impressive, Bill! I would love to visit it myself. I don't know if I'll ever be able to, but if I do your travel advice will be very useful. Thanks for the lovely photos and the information.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on September 23, 2012:

Hi mizjo. Thank you, glad you enjoyed the Hub. We had a wonderful time and really enjoyed this area of Italy. Have a great day.

mizjo from New York City, NY on September 23, 2012:

Stunning photos, wonderfully descriptive hub. Taken together, they make an enviable trip. Another great job, Bill.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on September 23, 2012:

Hi Glimmer Twin Fan. You are correct, the farther north one goes the more Swiss and Austrian influence you get. Cortina really had that Swiss alpine look with the colorful flower boxes on every window. Very beautiful area. Hopefully you get to check it ot someday soon. Thank you as always for the read, comment and vote, very much appreciated.

Claudia Mitchell on September 23, 2012:

Another beautiful one! Italy starts looking more and more like Austria and Switzerland the more north one travels. I need a vacation! Voted up!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on September 22, 2012:

Hi Nadine. Thank you for stopping by to read and comment. It is a beautiful part of Italy and hopefully you'll get a chance to visit there someday.

Nadene Seiters from Elverson, PA on September 22, 2012:

I found your hub informative and the pictures are breathtaking! I will definitely add this to my wish list of places to go.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on September 22, 2012:

Thank you mecheshier. Glad you enjoyed the Hub. It was a great road trip in a beautiful part of the world. Thank you for the vote.

mecheshier on September 22, 2012:

Wow, stunning pics and very informative info. Love your Hub. Thank you for sharing. Voted up for interesting, useful and awesome.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on September 22, 2012:

Thank you Suzette. I've had a great time putting these Italy Hubs together. It's therapeutic and it brings back some great memories. It's not hard to make Italy look gorgeous! Thanks again and have a great day.

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on September 22, 2012:

Beautiful, beautiful! I've skied the Dolomites at Monte Bondone! What an exhilerating experience. This really brings back the memories. Your series of Italian places and vacation spots are terrific. Your photos are outstanding! You are like Rick Steves! LOL Seriously, I love these articles. You are making Italy look gorgeous!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on September 22, 2012:

Hi Bill. It sure is. I know you love those beautiful mountains you have out there in Washington so I think you'd love the Dolomites. Lots of hiking and beautiful scenery. Thanks, have a great weekend.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on September 22, 2012:

Thanks Suzie. It's a great area for winter skiing or summer hiking and touring. If you love the mountains you'll love the Dolomites. We really packed a lot into our 4 days in Venice but it was all worth it. Who knows when we'll ever get back to this area.

Thank you for the VU and share. Have a great weekend.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 22, 2012:

That is some seriously beautiful scenery! Thank you for a fantastic tour; if I ever get over there I am definitely looking this area up. Great hub Bill!

Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on September 22, 2012:

Hi Bill,

What a fantastic journey you have described here into the beautiful Dolomites. Your first hand detail and tips are so important for all travelers, in order to get the very best out of this great day trip!

It really does look stunning and what breathtaking scenery - wow!!

Congrats on a mega interesting trip we will definitely have to add to our Venice trip!! I would love to do skiing there, my brother has been a few times and loved it. voted up more and sharing Bill - excellent article yet again :-)

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