The Italian Alps, Italy

Cervinia Italy

Maybe you’ve never thought of Italy as a destination for a ski vacation – I think the town of Breuil-Cervinia could change that for you.  Cervinia is a ski resort located on the Italian side of the Matterhorn (Monte Cervino is the Italian name for the Matterhorn) at the head of the Aosta Valley and has trails that link to other well-known resorts – Valtournenche and Zermatt.

Why to go:  This is a resort that has something for everyone but is especially good for intermediate skiers.  There are 72 total runs with 20 for beginners, 42 for intermediates and 11 for advanced (there are even options for heli-skiing).  And, this is one of few area ski resorts that offers year round activity including summer skiing.

When to go:  As a result of Cervinia’s high altitudes and glacier, the “season” doesn’t really end.  It technically starts on weekends in mid-October and lasts until the beginning of May.  But then the summer snow sports and skiing start up in late June and continue until early September.

Where to go:  The closest airport is Turin which is about a 1 ½ hour drive.  Other cities within a 3 hour drive include Milan and Geneva, Switzerland.  The village of Breuil-Cervinia has many options for accommodations at a variety of pricing levels.  Or, if you really want to spend the extra money and visit the famous town nearby, you could stay in Zermatt, just over the border in Switzerland.  Once the slopes close (or for those who are along for the vacation but aren’t into the ski scene), there are lots of restaurants, stores, a natural ice rink, swimming pools and spas nearby to keep everyone busy.

What to eat and/or drink:  The Aosta Valley cuisine is described as simple but traditional.  It combines traditional Italian dishes with local ingredients influenced by France and the Alps.  Polenta is a popular dish and the best-known regional cheese is Fontina and is used in many of the local dishes.  In fact, if you like dairy products, this is the region for you.  Locals tend to use lots of butter, cream and cheese in their cooking – one example being the local fondue called Fonduta.