Dolomites Val Gardena is located in the heart of Dolomites, a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of their uniqueness, their beauty and their incredible importance for humanity. Which is also why they were put under special protection. You can detect right from the get go what’s so special about this valley when arriving in Ortisei and know that you’re surrounded by these powerful, impressive mountains.
Ortisei is located right in the centre of Dolomites Val Gardena and is surrounded by countless mountains which make the location an ideal starting point for hikes and ski tours. The Seceda, Pitschberg mountain and the Resciesa are just some of the most important mountains that define the beautiful view from Ortisei.
We cannot say whether the penchant to Christianity in the area was determined by the heavenly location in the mountains or the direct confrontation with nature. However, what is certain, in 17th century countless families in Ortisei dedicated their lives to woodcarving and especially to creating biblical figures, representations of saints, and altars. To this very day, religious woodcarvings from Dolomites Val Gardena are coveted all over the world. Especially in the United States, the individuality and the high-quality of the woodcarving art of today is highly esteemed.
Sources prove that from the second half of the 19th century, mountain climbers discovered the beauty of Ortisei and visited the village, using it as the starting point for their mountain tours. In 1970, the Alpine Ski World Cup took place in Ortisei. Today, Ortisei is a pocket of heaven on earth for winter athletes of all disciplines. After the end of the winter sports season, hikers and mountain bikers come flocking to the location.
Ortisei invites its visitors to take a leisurely stroll across its lively pedestrian zone and live in the moment. Walk along the picturesque pedestrian zone and lift your gaze, now and again, from the well-prepared window fronts and look at the facades of the buildings in Ortisei. Visitors of the village should plan a dedicated day to visit its surrounding sightseeing opportunities. The churches and chapels in Ortisei are well worth a visit. Make the most of the opportunity to visit the places of worship and admire some of the most beautiful works of art by local sculptors. Saint Ulrich chapel from the 18th century is a real treat for the eyes thanks to its Renaissance and Baroque elements as well as artfully finished woodcarvings. In the oldest church of Dolomites Val Gardena, the San Giacomo church, you can admire the Baroque altar whose figures were finished by the Vinazer family, a family of artists if there ever was one. Visiting the S. Anna church requires you to take a leisurely stroll across the cemetery where, next to famous local artists, you’ll also find renowned director Lewis Trenker as well as mountain climbing legend Ludwig Norman-Neruda. Even the other churches conceal moving and artistic elements.
You simply have to plan a visit to the Gardena Museum and discover the vast collection of Dolomite Val Gardena’s woodcarving. You will find numerous artefacts from the valley’s prehistoric times and early history. Film fans can also visit a section dedicated to Luis Trenker and get closer to the world-famous director.
During walks and strolls around Ortisei you’ll also find monuments, ruins and well-preserved farms that will give you a taste of what tradition and culture mean in this uniquely beautiful region. In other words, Ortisei always surprises its guests!