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Milan-Cortina 2026

The countdown to the Italian Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games is underway and the opportunities to discover mountain landscapes of rare beauty are growing

02 September 2022

7 minutes

It goes without saying that the event is reserved for champions of all the official sports disciplines on ice or snow, but the strength of an event such as the Olympics also resides in welcoming everyone in fostering cultural exchange between different and distant cultures. While waiting for the various competitions, in addition to a constantly updated calendar packed full with music, theater, film and art events, everyone will have the chance to try the same tracks, depending on their skill level, where champions across the world will battle against each other. Dreaming costs nothing! Being among the most beautiful, atmospheric peaks in Europe as you spend a few days engaging with sport and relaxing is a dream within everyone's reach. Let's discover the jewels that will host the 2026 Games, together with Milan and Cortina they will form the largest winter Olympic Village ever.

1. Milan-Cortina 2026, official opening at San Siro

Milan has the task of setting the Olympic torch alight! The San Siro stadium (La Scala of soccer!) will host the magnificent opening ceremony for the Olympic Games, with extraordinary performances, the lighting of the Olympic torch and the athletes’ parade. Following Expo 2020, the city has truly experienced its new renaissance, and as it becomes the leading light of the next Winter Olympics and Paralympics, it will be able to make its urban environments even more captivating. Increasingly eco-friendly and green choices will be made both for the city’s architectural development and for mobility. All this buzz adds yet another reason to visit to the fashion capital before 2026. And Milan's involvement in the Games goes beyond the opening ceremony in San Siro - several indoor competitions will be held in the city. Milan is a hotbed for field hockey having already hosted the finals of the World Championships in 1994 and there will be matches in the new venues, PalaItalia Santa Giulia and Pala Sharp, to become the Milano Hockey Arena, the setting for Paralympic competitions. Whereas, short track and figure skating are scheduled at the arena, Forum of Assago, now known as the Mediolanum Forum. The city’s last "commitment", at the end of all games, will be to lend the magnificent Piazza del Duomo for Paralympics closing ceremony.

2. Cortina - part of the Olympic starscape

Cortina - the jewel, queen or Lady of the Dolomites. It boasts no shortage of titles, all worthy of its charm and the Winter Olympic Games will only add further luster. This small town nestled on the slopes of breathtaking peaks will - for the second time - become home and "gym" for the skiing and winter sports champions, the Olympic protagonists. In fact, many sports will take place in the shadow of the Tofane, from Alpine Skiing to Bobsleigh, Skeleton and Tobogganing to Para Snowboarding. Curling and Wheelchair Curling competitions complete the picture. Having hosted more than 100 World Cup competitions, as well as the 1956 edition of the Olympic Games, Cortina is undoubtedly the ideal place to experience the thrill of great live sport. Its accommodation capacity will let anyone planning ahead find a spot in one of the resorts, hotels, cottages or private homes made available for the occasion. Being based in Cortina means enjoying a place where charm and culture have always been at home, in addition to being in the heart of the Olympics. There will be plenty of opportunities to taste the exquisite local cuisine both in the traditional version offered in many typical restaurants, and in an updated version, in one of the seven Michelin-starred restaurants.

3. Baselga di Piné, Olympic reflections in Val di Fiemme

In the eastern area of Trentino, on the Pinè Plateau (about 1000 meters above sea level) and just 18 km from Trento, you will find Baselga di Pinè, a small, typical mountain village, with the charming Lake of Serraia nearby. Its Ice Rink Pinè will host the Speed Skating competitions. And this is also the location of the Italian National Speed Skating Team. But staying here - before, after or during the Olympics - requires the exact opposite of speed. Locals share the philosophy of maximum relaxation and enjoying in every moment. The landscape is enchanting. In winter it is the realm of ice. In spring and summer it boasts fields of strawberries, raspberries and other berries in its forests and near its lakes. Hiking or mountain bike excursions let you to access an area where nature is indeed at its best.

4. Predazzo, a leap into gold

Besides being the most populous town in Val di Fiemme, Predazzo boasts the widest concentration of geological varieties in the world, visible when exploring the geological Doss Capèl trail and visiting the Geological Museum of the Dolomites. In the warm season, you can follow the stunning trail to the gorge of Sottosassa, between waterfalls and walls of porphyry. The Ski Jumping Stadium "Giuseppe Dal Ben" has stood here since 1980, consisting of two main trampolines plus others used for training. This is where the most adrenaline-filled races of the entire Winter Olympics will be held. The facility is built to run all year round and is equipped with lighting for impressive night races. In addition to Ski Jumping, Predazzo will host the Nordic Combined competitions. Remember: nearby, in Valmaggiore, you will find the Bosco che Suona meaning the forest that plays music, where internationally renowned musicians have “christened” its resonance firs.

5. Tesero, a podium for everyone

Tesero is renowned for its panoramic views at 1,000 m above sea level, as well as for having kept alive its artistic craftsmanship, furniture factories and its soundboard production used in piano and violin making. It welcomes visitors with its charming old town, where you can shop in traditional stores or try local dishes in restaurants, farms or taverns. Already home to the Nordic Skiing World Championships (1991, 2003 and 2013), the Cross Country Center at Lago di Tesero will host athletes and competitions for the Olympics and Paralympics in Cross Country, Cross Country Skiing, Nordic Combined, Para Cross Country-Skiing and Para Biathlon. The ski lifts in the hamlet of Pampeago lead to the Ski Center Latemar area  in winter and take tourists all the way up to the RespirArt art park and the Latemarium theme trails in the summer. Cycling enthusiasts will have a lot of fun here too, on the Dolomites bike trails, the many mountain bike trails, and finally on the legendary “pink climb” of the Giro d'Italia.

6. Livigno, gold-medal slopes

Luckily, you don't have to be one of the finalists of the Olympic Games to enjoy skiing in one of the most famous winter resorts in Europe. Livigno has always welcomed not only champions, but also beginners with a whole array of sports, shopping opportunities and gourmet temptations. If you are looking for a place in close contact with nature, you can go snowshoeing ("drezola" in Livigno dialect), cross-country skiing and horseback riding or even dog sledding. On the other hand, if you are looking for an adrenaline-rush, you have over 100 km of slopes of differing difficulty levels to challenge yourself. In the heart of Valtellina, Livigno is a popular destination for snowboarders. And in 2026, the Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding competitions will be held here. Interesting fact: Livigno can also be considered a huge, high-altitude luxury outlet, with more than 250 stores where you can buy at duty-free prices.

7. Bormio - spas, gold and laurels

There is a place in Valtellina that owes its fortune to a series of amazing coincidences, namely its geographic location, strategic for transalpine communications, the presence of thermal waters famous since ancient Rome, and the magnificent setting of the Stelvio National Park. This is the town of Bormio, with an historic center full of landmarks: churches, palaces and towers that speak of its past nobility. On the sporting front, the Stelvio’s piste is one the most scenic, technical and challenging in the world (140 km/h and jumps of 40 meters!). Illuminated and approved for night races, this is where we will see the protagonists of Alpine Skiing and Ski Mountaineering race against each other. Keep in mind that you are also in the paradise of Bresaola Doc and that its proximity to the Stelvio, Gavia and Mortirolo passes turn these areas into a two-wheeled Olympus in summer, where over the years many champions have made cycling history.

8. Anterselva (Antholz) / Plan de Corones (Kronplatz): Home of the Biathlon

Anterselva is known worldwide not only for the beauty of its lake that goes by the same name, but also for the many Biathlon World Cup races and the IBU Biathlon World Championships, hosted for the sixth time in 2020. This is a small, charming village in south Tyrol with an amazing view of the Dolomites, surrounded by breathtaking peaks. Spring, summer, fall or winter: Anterselva, in the holiday region of Plan de Corones is the perfect destination for every season, offering a variety of outdoor experiences. For the Winter Olympics, it will host the Biathlon events.

9. Verona, the Arena becomes Olympic

Heart and symbol of Verona, the Roman-origin Arena hosts staged operas, dance performances, classical music, pop and rock music concerts in the summer and it will play an important role in the next Winter Olympics and Paralympics hosted in Italy, even if this Venetian city is not part of any alpine setting. Save the date immediately, as we predict that getting a seat in the stalls will be a challenge! Sunday 22 February, 2026, the Arena will shine for the Closing Ceremony of the Milan Cortina 2026 Olympics, marking the conclusion of the high-altitude competitions. A few days later, on 15 March, 2026, the Paralympic Games in Milan Cortina 2026 will start at the Arena with a wonderful Opening Ceremony.