Towering pillars of rock, sculptured and splintered into surreal monolithic columns… jagged ridges thrusting high into the clouds above serene, fertile valleys… Alpine meadows alive with the sound of cowbells… Sleepy villages, ablaze with flowers. A landscape and culture like no other; the perfect setting for your sketching/painting holiday in Italy…
Just a short flight from the UK can bring you into an unforgettable world, a million dream-miles away. In the north of Italy, rubbing shoulders with Austria and with characteristics of both, lies the glorious mountain region known as the Dolomites. Nestled in the midst of all this splendour is Alta Badia, a collection of valleys and soaring rocky peaks which maintains its own unique culture and language. The Ladin people proudly inhabit this much fought-over area and the peaceful serenity which now reigns does much to conceal its turbulent past; the region is scattered with world war 1 trenches, tunnels and memorials, drawing visitors interested in its history.
Most of the Dolomites area is a UNESCO world heritage site and with good reason. Apart from the native wildlife (which includes ibex, chamoix and moufflon - even brown bear - along with the endearing, iconic marmot) and profusion of flower meadows protecting many rare species, the landscape is like nowhere else on Earth. Geographically forming the southern end of the Alps, the mountains here are quite different both gelogically and in appearance; although somewhat lower in height their shapes are at once more striking and unique.
This 'other-worldly' landscape lies somewhere between 'The Sound of Music' and a fantasy 70's album cover and when you first feast your eyes on these incredible peaks you will pinch yourself to check you're not dreaming. Yet it is very real, as thousands of visitors from all over the world can testify, and for all its mind-blowing grandeur and apparent remoteness, the area is actually quite accessible, with connections from major airports and an excellent tourist infrastructure within the valleys.
I offer two Painting Holidays to Alta Badia, which can be taken together as a satisfyingly extensive introduction to the area's delights, or individually to suit your personal needs. The Dolomites are a virtually infinite source of creative stimulation for the lanscape artist, thus the two itineraries are distinctly different, yet equally inspiring. Suitable for total beginners or professional artists alike, non-painting partners with an interest in photography, walking or flowers will find plenty to amuse them.
If you have any questions about which of the two itineraries is best for you, on combining the itineraries together or extending your time here, then please ask. There are many glorious walking routes and exhilarating via ferratas in the Alta Badia area so you could combine a week of painting with an active week.