Madonna di Campiglio is a small town located in the Dolomites of Northern Italy. The charm of the town is that, unlike the neighboring towns of Folgarida and Marilleva, it is frequented almost exclusively by Italians.
Located in a valley, the town boasts some of the best intermediate-level skiing in Italy.
Comparable to Cortina, Madonna di Campiglio is a ski-resort town that is one of the most stylish in Italy. The resort if a place where famous Italians go to see and be seen, but foreigners will find the resort gracious and friendly to foreigners.
The lift system is one of the best in the country, and Madonna’s lift system is connected with that of neighboring towns Folgarida and Marilleva. The slopes are beautifully maintained with resort personnel grooming the slopes each evening.
The skiing is laid-back, offering great runs and enjoyment for intermediate skiers as well as beginners. Although not known for its advanced skiing, more proficient skiers will enjoy Canalone Miramonti or 3-Tre, which is where the annual world cup race is held.
Madonna is the place to go if you enjoy the outdoors. It counts downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and dog sledding as just some of the activities to experience. However, for those that want to do something other than sports, Madonna is famous for its great designer boutiques, restaurants, as well as nightlife.
Ski Area Map and Description
The resort is best know for its intermediate skiing. Its location in the Dolomite Mountains in the Northeastern part of the country provides skiers with breathtaking views from 5,084 feet. The majority of Madonna’s 56 miles of slopes are in and below the tree line, and are serviced by 24 lifts. Using the Superskirama pass, one can ski the slopes in Marilleva as well as Folgarida for a total of 94 miles of slopes.
Madonna slopes are best for intermediate skiers and below with 41 percent of the runs rated intermediate and 43 percent easy. Beginners have great slopes on which to learn as well as long runs on the mountain. Intermediate skiers will love the quality of the slopes. Advanced skiers will find the aforementioned Canalone Miramonti and 3-Tre runs challenging.
The slopes open in December and close in April. The holidays as well as the Italian school break in February will be the times the slopes are at their most crowded. One should consider that snow conditions may not be at their best at the beginning and end of the season.
Lifts and Tickets
The lift capacity in Madonna is world-class. The lift can transport over 31,000 skiers each hour. This means that skiers have to spend little time in lift lines. Of the 24 lifts: 6 are draglifts, 13 are chairlifts, 1 cable cars and 4 auto-coupling gondolas. The lifts run at different speeds and some of the older lifts can run very slowly, however Madonna is continually updating and modernizing its equipment.
The Superskirama pass is one of the most popular and allow skiers access to the whole sky county: Madonna di Campiglio, Marilleva, Folgarida, Tonale, Pinzolo and Andalo. As of recently the high season pass costs about $40 for one day or about $195 for a six day pass.
Madonna passes has 24 lifts and 39 runs over 56 miles. A pass in the high season cost about $37 a day, $106 for three days, and $184 for six days.
During the low season the slopes are not only less crowded but lift tickets cost less. Children under eight can get a free weekly pass with the purchase of two adult weekly passes. Skiers over 60 and kids under 16 pass less.
Passes for more than three days need a photo. Morning, afternoon and night passes are available. Weekly passes start and end on Sunday, so as to avoid line, skiers should purchase tickets in advance.
The fact that the slopes are exquisitely maintained are just one of the reasons the new skiers will find it easy to learn on these slopes.
Beginners will appreciate that the easier slopes not only located at the bottom of the runs like other resorts. The blue coded or easy slopes travel along the length of the valley as well as high up in the peaks. 23 of the 51 runs of Madonna are blue coded, while using the Superskirama pass, there are a total of 45 beginner runs in the three adjoining towns.
If skiing along, the Passo Groste area, with its Graffer run, is the best for independent skiers. When combined with Boch, Poza Vecia, Gotte, and Fortinin, the run travels for 3 miles at a beginner level and ends in the village.
For beginners who wish to take lessons, there are six different ski schools to choose from. The are all similar however, due to the fact that they are all affiliated with the Scuola Sci Italiana (or Italian Ski School). New skiers will get on buses that will take them to nearby Campo Carlo Magno which has ideal learning conditions with side slopes, surface lifts and snowmaking equipment. Most instructors speak Italian, but one can obtain an instructor that speaks English if one books in advance. Tuition costs generally $33 an hour.
New skiers that are taking lessons do not need to buy a lift pass, as the lifts in the learning areas are included in the price of tuition. Anyone who wants to ski the learning areas with hiring an instructor can pay a fee use both the lifts in this area as well as the shuttle service. If one already has a basic level of skiing, then he should buy the Madonna area pass, in order to use the large number of easy runs that are on the beginner level.
Madonna is one of the best resorts for intermediate skiing in the country of Italy. The runs are appropriate for almost all intermediate skiers, and skiers are advised to take advantage of the skiing in January, when the slopes are at their least crowded.
The red-coded or intermediate slopes make up 21 of the resorts runs. These, in addition to the 21 easy runs, mean that mid-level skiers will be able to enjoy almost all of the mountain. The Superskirama pass with get to ski 17 intermediate and 45 easy runs it the three cities.
Passo Groste has the two longest runs along the tree-line. These slope have incredible views of the area above the tree line. Intermediate skiers will be able to try the eight advanced runs as they are challenging but not impossible for skiers at the mid-level. The most challenging run that is not at the advanced level is the Spinale Diretta, which goes from the top of the Boch lift.
Madonna is not the best location for skiers at the advanced level. Only eight of the 51 runs are black-coded and those are racing runs. With the Superskirama pass, there area few more runs that are advanced.
However, at night, the groomers take off all the moguls which make the black levels not challenging for advanced skiers.
The race courses are the most challenging runs available in the area. Higher level skiers can try the 5-Laghi area with the 3-tre course. There is the slalom course at Passo Groste, the steep Canalone Miramonti, or the Spinal Direttissima.
One can ski off-pist here, but since Madonna is not an area know for its advanced skiing, the off-pist is not readily accessible. If one is adventurous and travels off the slopes, they are in for a fair amount of climbing to get back to the main trails. Skiers can hire a guide with proper equipment who can take them off-pist in the direction of Cima Brenta.
Organized race are held by the Scuola Italiana Sci. Races are held for all ages at the end of week courses, races for visiting groups, as well as a race at the end of the season.
All six ski schools in the area have children’s programs and lift passes offer discount and special rates to kids.
Sometimes the Miramonti slopes are lit at night in Madonna di Campiglio as well as the ski stadium in Marilleva. Some restaurants on the slopes organize a dinner with the return by ski.
For cross country skiers there is a lit trial at nights.
Cross-country skiing is for those who want to combine harder physical exercise with moderate speed, since they can enjoy the landscape of the woods of the Adamello Brenta Natural Park in Campo Carlo Magno.
9 out of 19 kilometers of Madonna di Campiglio’s trails start from here: the 547 yd test path, the 1.24 mi baby path, the 3mi sprint path and the 5mi World Cup path. Moreover, between Caderzone and Carisolo, passing through Giustino and Pinzolo, there are 13 mi of paths – 1.3 mi of which are floodlit in the evenings – on which runs and training sessions take place.
Only for Snowboarding
Snowboarders will find a great host of opportunities at Madonna. The FIS Snowboard World Championships were held here in 1999, and the area has been taking special care of snowboarders’ needs since then.
As one of Italy’s best locations for snowboarding, Madonna boasts a new and amazing Snowpark, called URSUS. It’s located on the Groste and open daily.
There are sections for every level. For the begginers there are 2 fun box with kickers in sequence, 3 handrails and 1 pyramid one. There is also an easy quarter pipe.
The intermediate and advanced freestyler can enjoy the shack booter, different high jumps, 4 handrails and one halfpipe.
The neighboring resorts of Folgarida and Marilleva also have special slopes for snowboarders and one can buy a pass that allows them to use all of these locations.
If, after spending all day on skis, you are not exhausted, Madoona di Campiglio and the surrounding areas offer other fun activities.
There are great places for adults as well as children to have fun in sledding, tubbing and tobagganging these activities. There are slopes available for sledding in both Madonna and in Marilleva.
The Centro di Pattinaggio in Madonna di Campiglio has ice skating during the winter months in its outside skating rink. The rink is open both in the daytime and the evening. The rink has skate rentals as well as lessons and most guest staying at hotels in the area and eligible for a discount.
Horse drawn sleighs are available for hire in Madonna and rates usually run around $28 and hour.
If you desire to spend a day doing something different, here are a few other outdoor activities in the snow.
Cima Presanella has a large north face that provides good ice-climbing. Via Anna e Mario as well as the Via del Seracco are a bit more challenging. It is possible to hire both guides and instructors. One can contact the Gruppo Guide Alpine for information on guides and prices.
Folgarida has many paths that are appropriate for snow hiking in the winter months. One wanting to hike the backcountry should contact the Gruppo Guide Alpine in Madonna.
Snowshoeing is an activity hugely popular in the Dolomites, Folgarida and Marilleva have the best trails. The backcountry is open and free, but strangers to the area are recommended to hire a guide. There is also night snowshoeing available through he Valle di Sole Alpine Guides, which leads treks around the villages of the Valle di Sole.
Less stressful is the possiblity to admire the marvelous scenery by dog sledding. At the Antartika Scuola Italian Sleddog, one can train as a rider or a musher for dog sledding events. There are short-course lessons, one-week programs as well as a long-course that runs from December to April.
During the artistic transition from Gothic to Renaissance many religious buildings in Trentino have something in common: the presence of a family of fresco painters coming from a locality near Bergamo: the Baschenises. For over 80 years they painted the facades of the churches and the interior of apses and chapels with their polychromatic images. St. Stephen’s Church, in Carisolo, is an evocative Church situated on a granite rock dominating the whole valley. The south part is entirely decorated with frescoes by Simone Baschenis: the “Dance of Death”, like the fresco at Saint Vigilio’s Church in Pinzolo. This church Church was founded in 1362 and was enlarged later, in 1515. The medieval facade is decorated with frescoes from different epochs: the most important and peculiar one, for the theme dealt with, is undoubtely the famous “Dance of Death” by Simone Baschenis.
For nature lovers, the Centre of Glaciology “Julius Payer”, situated in Mandron mountain hut on Adamello, at 2430 m,offers an exhibition on glaciers and mountain environment. Training courses are held there with the possibility of an overnight stay at the nearby Città di Trento mountain hut. It can be reached from Val Genova (Genova valley).
Children may enjoy the alpine pasture museum, called Museo della Malga at Palazzo Bertelli in the village of Caderzone. It preserves the material evidence of the work done in the various Alpine summer pastures of the valleys. It exhibits the tools that time and experience have enhanced and that are used in the processing of milk and its by-products.
No fitness facilities are open to the public, but many hotel will have fitness centers.
If someone is seeking a bit o peace after skiing, and wishes to relax in a spa, Madonna is not the place for you.
There are a few spas in Madonna. There is the Peio and Rabbi Spas as well as the Sporting Club di Madonna di Campiglio. The more exclusive hotels usually have spa services of their own. The public pool is open year-round and has a heated indoor pool, whirlpool, and sauna.
Madonna di Campiglio has world class shopping that is famous in Europe. There are 44 shops in Madonna alone, with additional shopping in nearby Folgarida and Marilleva. There are shops dedicated to sporting goods, woodcarvings, and souvenirs as well as designer boutiques. Shops stay open into the early evening.
Most evening begin with a stroll among the chalet’s and boutiques of the village before heading off to dinner at one of the mountain’s restaurants.
Late night offers discos, such as the famous Zangola, located outside the village, and the partying can go past 4 a.m.
For una merenda or the happy hour, there are cafés (called bars as well) and pastry shops all though the town. They are in the streets as well as in the lobbies of most hotels. Most cafés will offer pastries as well as coffee, sodas, some sandwiches, ice cream and drinks. A great place to grab breakfast, the café is cheap place for a quick bite to eat.
There are a lot of choices for diners in Madonna. Though nothing is what one would call haute cuisine, even the most picky diners should be satisfied with the choices.
Taste the altotesina cuisine with good cheese, pasta and polenta. On the slopes themselves, there are the usual cafeteria-type cafes. The old cascinas offers steaks cooked on stones and there are nice restaurants reachable by Sno-cat.
When skiers leave the slopes they usually head to Bars for drinks and enjoy the happy hour. Clubs and Bars do not get going until very late in the evening. The best disco around it the aforementioned Zangola, which is famous for its dancing, strippers, and late-night partying. The club is located outside the town limits, so one will either need to arrange for transportation or take the bus that runs all night. There is clubs in the evening which plays techno, dance music, ski videos or which has a piano bar. Sometimes live music is presented in area clubs and bars.
Festivals & Events
Other than shopping and nightlife, Madonna offers little for those who are not interested in outdoor activities. However are also a few spas for those who need to be pampered after a long day.
During sporting events, the town is full of things to see and do. The World Cup 3-tre Special Slalom is held in January, the World Cup Snowboard Events in February and the motorbike race is held on the ice-covered lake here each year.
Carnevale is celebrated all over Italy and Madonna is no exception.
Location & Elevation
Madonna di Campiglio is one of the most famous ski resorts in the region of Trentino and is located in the Rendena Valley.
The first thing you notice when you travel through Val Rendena, from the small village of Verdesina up to Madonna di Campiglio, is the exceptional diversity of its natural landscape: in the east the Brenta Group extends for kilometers among restrained valleys and majestic heights; in the west eyes look up to the snow-covered peaks of the granitic groups of Adamallo and Presanella.
Val Rendena lies in the heart of the Dolomites. It is rich in unpolluted natural resources and is surrounded by the Adamello-Brenta Natural Park. Fantastic glaciers tower above 50 Alpine lakes which form evocative falls and mighty water streams.
We are in the heart of the Adamello Brenta Natural Park, an unpolluted oasis of more than 900 million square meters, where the eagle reigns, where roe deers and chamois, foxes and marmots live, where populations of brown bears are still present, thanks to recent populating intervention. There are many ways to reach Madonna after flying into Italy, whether by bus, train, or car. The closest international airports to Madonna are in Milan and Venice. Verona can be reached from most major European cities.
Town of Madonna (lift base): 5,084 feet or 1,550 meters
Top of Lifts: 8,464 feet or 2,580 meters
Top of Mountain: 10,410 feet or 3,173 meters
Ski able Vertical Drop: 3,232 feet or 984 meters
Due to the fact that all of the runs are below 10,000 feet, skiers should have little problem with altitude sickness. However, anyone feeling weak, dizzy or having headaches should take time adjusting to the altitude in the mountains.
Snow & Weather
The season begins in December and all lifts are open by Christmas. Temperatures drop to freezing by December and can go as low as -10 degrees Celsius or 14 degrees Fahrenheit before getting above freezing at the end of March.Yearly snowfall averages about 60 inches or 130 centimeters. Snow at the base goes from 6 inches in December to 60 inches mid-season. Stations at the top of the resort open at 30 inches with the most snow mid-season at 83 inches.
Passo Groste at the peak is known for the best snow conditions and is therefore the most popular.
Ski & Snowboard School
Six separate ski schools serve the Madonna di Campiglio area. All six are affiliated with the Scuola Sci Italiana, so they offer similar programs. Group and private courses in skiing, mountaineering, dog sledding, snowboarding, and telemarking are on offer.
As 95 percent of Madonna’s visitors are Italian, fewer instructors speak English here than at other more international resorts. Those needing English-language instruction should book lessons and instructors in advance. Tuition rates are on par with those at other Italian resorts at approximately $38 per hour.
Beginners participating in lessons do not need lift passes, as the lifts in the learners’ areas are included in the price of tuition. Once enrolled, beginners hop buses to Campo Carlo Magno (three kilometers/5 minutes away), where wide nursery slopes, surface lifts, and snowmaking equipment offer plenty of good snow for learning. Those wishing to ski the nursery areas without an instructor can pay a small fee that covers both shuttle bus service and use of the nursery slope lifts.
Classes for intermediate and advanced skiers such as telemarking, slalom, and racing are available. The ski schools also arrange weekly races, an annual end-of-season race, and group races.
Some schools organize courses for children that can last either a half day or full day, including lunch.
Those participating in instruction and renting equipment can cut costs by hiring equipment through the ski schools. Each school rents both ski and snowboarding equipment.
There are many rental shops in Madonna, Folgarida, and Marilleva. One can rent all equipment for both adults and children. The best equipment goes first, so one should arrive early and ask about the best quality equipment available. Security deposits are not usually required, but skiers must pay for any damage to equipment. There are group rates available and the rates are fairly standard so rent at the most conveniently located place. People taking classes can rent equipment through the ski schools.
Why don’t you extend your Italian holiday…
…pass a day in marvelous Venice with its mysterious canals and its colorful Carnival, famous throughout the world. Or else travel to Milam, and walk in the shadow of the Duomo and through the shops along one of the most famous streets in the Italian fashion world.
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