You may have recently read HERE about our trip to the Dolomiti (Dolomite Mountains) to visit Franco and Claudia over Easter weekend. What I wasn’t able to fit into that post, was all the imagery we captured of the most spectacular mountain range we have ever seen.
Hilltop view – I had to trespass to get this shot
Mountain view from “Claudia’s” bridge in Canale D’ Agordo
We extended our trip in Canale D’ Agordo (Claudia’s hometown) by a day, because the three days we planned was barely enough to just scratch the surface in this region of Italy. Claudia wanted to show us not only her town of Canale D’ Agordo, but also the surrounding towns. We would like to now share them with you.
The day after Easter, we went to neighboring Gares, Claudia’s actual hometown. While she was born in Canale D’ Agordo, she grew up in Gares – a small town with barely a couple hundred residents. The only doctor in the region was in Canale and so she was delivered there, in her mother’s home. The very next day, her mother bundled her up tight and walked the some 10k back to Gares through a snowstorm to bring her home.
Sheer mountain range in Gares
Claudia’s cousin’s restaurant sits at the bottom of the valley
Today, her cousin owns a wonderful restaurant, at the foothills of a large mountain range. Not only was it a treat to eat some of the regional cuisine, it was wonderful to spend time with her family and see this incredible valley.
An incredibly charming restaurant
Special VIP reservations
Franco demonstrating the high-tech weight, functioning as a door lock
When you live in the mountains, this is your futbol field
The “field” at the base of the mountain
After lunch we walked all through Gares, a voyage that only took a couple minutes by foot.
Julia sporting a fun hat for the mountains
The main street bend in Gares
Part of the house next to Claudia’s original home
I crack up when I see these little guys driving around
Poles mark the roads atop all the snow
Since we had extended our trip by a day, the next day we went with Franco and Claudia to see some of the other nearby towns. First, we went to Agordo – also in the same Province of Belluno. This town; at a lower elevation, displayed a striking contrast to the previous towns, which were still covered in snow. Green grass had already flourished in the center of town, showcasing a completely different juxtaposition with the mountainous backdrop than the previous towns, still primarily all white.
View from the center of Agordo
Franco and Claudia walk with Julia
Julia can’t get enough of the fountains
The chiesa (church) in Agordo is of significant importance to the region – and proudly displays it’s high stature by featuring two bell towers (as opposed to the standard one).
Two bell towers
A prominent family of Agordo, Familia di Grotta (the Grotta family) owned a large villa in the center of town. They adorned the outside wall of the villa with the Mutt di Grotta (the Mutes of Grotta) – different “mute” stone statues that represented various traits (poetry, agriculture, astronomy, etc.).
Mutt di Grotta
Perhaps this guy represented philosphy?
We took a quick detour to visit one of the Luxottica factories, just outside of town. Haven’t heard of Luxottica? Well, have you ever walked into a LensCrafters, Sunglass Hut or Pearle Vision? No? OK – perhaps you’ve put on a pair of Oakley, Ray-Ban or Revo sunglasses? These are all brands owned by the company. And even if you haven’t worn one of their brands, you’re sure to have worn a pair of glasses by Coach, Chanel, D&G, Ralph Lauren, Tiffany or Versace (to name a few). They don’t own these brands, but they do make their glasses with exclusive licensing agreements. The company moved it’s headquarters to Milano, but their factories all still remain in the Belluno region and is the main employer in the area.
The Luxottica factory
I’d fight hard for a corner office to get this view
Amazing how the landscape changes in the various towns
After touring Agordo we drove to Alleghe, a beautiful lake town with a very unique history. The town of Alleghe, which surrounds the lake and runs all the way to the foothills of the mountains is actually much younger than many of the nearby towns. The town was re-built “brand new” in 1771 (young by most measures here) after a severe landslide buried the original town under today’s vast lake. The original town remains buried forever under water. When the lake’s water level falls low enough – you can see the original church’s steeple peeking from atop the waterline.
We love seeing the Italian flag – reminds us we’re really here
View right from the lake
Jen and Julia soaking up the scenery
We were glad that we stayed the extra day to enjoy all the additional sights – we hope you did too.