The highest mountain in the Dolomites of northeastern Italy, Marmolada has five peaks, all standing between 3,000–3,343 m (9,842.5–10,968 ft); of these Punta Penia is the highest. The northern slopes of the mountain are covered in the only sizeable glacier in the Dolomites, the Ghiacciaio della Marmolada.
Known as the ‘Queen of the Dolomites’ and famous for its summer hiking and winter ice climbing, Marmolada forms part of the Dolomiti Superski area, with 1,200 km (750 miles) of groomed pistes. The Bellunese is its longest run at 12-km (7.5-mile) and heads down to Malga Ciapela in the Pettorina valley; this resort is the starting point for the legendary Sellaronda ski tour through the valleys of Arabba, Fassa, Gardena and Badia. From Malga Ciapela a cable car goes up to the peak of
Marmolada’s Punta Rocca at 3,309 m (10,856 ft) for glorious views over the jagged, snow-capped summits of the Dolomites and – on a clear day – even to Venice.
Marmolada and the Dolomites formed the natural barrier that divided Italy from the last fragments of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and was location of much military action during World War I, when Austrian soldiers dug far in to the cliffs of its
northern slopes and resisted Italian attack. The Museum of the Great War up at Serauta is the highest museum in Europe and showcases photos, uniforms, weapons and medals from the conflict; caves and tunnels dug out by the warring factions can
be explored close by.
Dolomites. Malga Ciapela is two hours 20 minutes from Venice by car along the A27.