Perfect pistes, Italian style & fab food at an affordable price. PlanetSKI heads to Madonna di Campiglio.




The famous Dolomites town is one of the most fashionable ski areas in Italy.

Probably second only to Cortina d’Ampezzo.

While some of the other famous Dolomites ski areas to the north east of here, such as Val Gardena, have a Tirolean feel, Madonna di Campiglio is very Italian.

It’s an attractive town that oozes Italian alpine elegance and sparkle, particularly at night.

Madonna di Campiglio

Madonna di Campiglio
















Madonna di Campiglio

Madonna di Campiglio
















Madonna di Campiglio

Madonna di Campiglio
















And then there’s the spectacular scenery of the Brenta Dolomites.

View from Passo Groste, Madonna di Campiglio
















View from Passo Groste, Madonna di Campiglio

















I’m here on a short trip with Crystal Ski, whose customers seem to like Italy a lot.

And here at PlanetSKI we are having a bit of an Italian experience at the moment.

Our editor, James Cove, has been in Val Gardena:

In Madonna di Campiglio

PlanetSKI on the slopes of Madonna di Campiglio
















They like it not least for its value for money.

Yes, even in Madonna di Campiglio.

This plate of tasty food in Home Stube a trendy, popular dining establishment in the heart of town, cost €12.

Dinner at Home Stube, Madonna di Campiglio

Dinner for €12












And you won’t get stung if you want a pre-dinner cocktail that comes with a free plate of antipasti and other nibbles.
Cocktails in Cafe d'Or, Madonna di Campiglio

€5 for a cocktail in Cafe d’Or
















You won’t need a mortgage for a coffee, a hot chocolate or a bowl of pasta in the stylish mountain pitstops, or rifugios.

Rifugio Graffer, Madonna di Campiglio

Rifugio Graffer, Madonna di Campiglio














Rifugio Stoppani, Passo Groste, Madonna di Campiglio

Rifugio Stoppani, Madonna di Campiglio











Madonna di Campiglio is known as the Pearl Of The Dolomites.

The town sits at around 1,550 metres altitude and most of the skiing is below 2,000 metres.

But don’t let that worry you.

It has a long winter season – November to the start of May.

The reason?

A massive 95% of its runs are equipped with snowmaking, and they know what they’re doing with the artificial stuff in the Dolomites, as I’ve found in the past:

Piste with snow cannons in Madonna di Campiglio

Snow cannons are everywhere















It’s just as well.

On my visit in mid-January, the snow base is very thin and most of it is artificial.

Piste in Madonna di Campiglio

Mostly artificial snow on the pistes















It snowed in November and then….nothing.

As I arrived, the real stuff was falling, at last.

But no more than 5 to 10cm came down over 24 hours.

There is no doubt that snow cannons are the saviour of winter tourism in these parts and the pistes are kept in superb condition.

Which is great, especially when they’re as quiet as they are on my visit.


The snow guarantee – as long as it’s cold enough to make it – is a big draw.

The town, which stretches along 3km of a wooded valley, has 1,000 permanent residents.

In the peak winter holidays the population swells to 40,000.

Madonna di Campiglio

Madonna di Campiglio















The name is a bit of mouthful.

Campiglio means ‘little camp’ in Latin.

The Madonna bit dates back to the origins of the village in the 12th Century.

It was founded in 1195 as a monastery, dedicated to Our Lady, the Madonna.

At the end of the 1800s, it was the favoured holiday resort of the royals of the Austrian House of Habsburg.

Skiing began here in 1910.

Madonna di Campiglio

Madonna di Campiglio














Madonna di Campiglio

Madonna di Campiglio













According to the tourist office, the first ‘brave’ skiers to tackle a route down from Monte Spinale that year were English.

It’s a little easier for the likes of us these days.

For a start, there’s an efficient, generally fast system of lifts to get us to the top.

Madonna di Campiglio

Madonna di Campiglio
















It is an intermediate’s playground.

Most of the runs are blues and reds, though there are some more challenging blacks across the Campiglio ski area.

Little Grizzly black run

Little Grizzly black run towards Marilleva

















The most famous run is the floodlit black Miramonti that ends up in the town.

It’s where the first World Cup alpine race in Italy took place in 1967.

Every year it plays host to the World Cup night slalom in December.

Miramonti run

The foot of the Miramonti race slope
















If you love blasting around the groomers – something I always enjoy –  and you’re more of an advanced than intermediate skier or snowboarder, you can cover a lot of ground.

In Madonna di Campiglio

Ready to pound the pistes

















But if you’re more comfortable gently cruising the easy blues, there’s a route down to the centre of town from the top of every one of Madonna di Campiglio’s four peaks: Pradalago, Cinque Laghi, Monte Spinale and Passo Grostè.

And there are tree-lined runs everywhere.

Campiglio ski area

Lots of trees
















Since December 2011, Madonna di Campiglio has been joined to Pinzolo and Folgardia-Marilleva, creating a lift-linked ski area offering more than 150km of pistes.

Ski Area Campiglio piste map

Ski Area Campiglio

















There are also four snowparks if freestyle’s your thing.


Crystal Ski’s rep in Madonna di Campiglio is John Malvicini Johnstone – an Italy aficionado.

I ask him for his take on the place:

I simply love the Dolomites for on piste skiing.

It’s true: there is more demanding terrain elsewhere.

But you can’t beat the scenery.

Madonna di Campiglio

Madonna di Campiglio














It’s hard to beat the food, for the money you’ll pay for it at any rate.

Dessert in Madonna di Campiglio

Food in Madonna di Campiglio
















And Madonna di Campiglio is the epitome of Italian ski town chic.


Madonna di Campiglio

PlanetSKI dazzled by Madonna di Campiglio
















New for this winter season, Crystal Ski Holidays (020 8610 3123) offers a week’s half board at the four star Golf Hotel for £649* per person, based on two people sharing and travelling from London Gatwick on 23 March 2019. The price includes return flights from London Gatwick to Verona and transfers.

*Price given for departure on 23rd March 2019 is correct as of 23rd January.

Direct flights from all major UK airports are available.

Golf Hotel near Madonna di Campiglio

Golf Hotel
















The Golf Hotel is about 20 minutes’ walk from the main town of Madonna di Campiglio.

There is a drag lift close by to access the ski area or it’s a 5 minute walk to the Grostè gondola and Fortini Express chairlift.

View from the Golf Hotel, Madonna di Campiglio

Early morning view from the Golf Hotel, showing the drag lift
















The hotel operates a free shuttle service to and from the town centre until about 7pm.

A full area lift pass for 6 days for an adult is €280 in high season (26 Jan to 10 March) and €245 at all other times.

For the Spirit of the Mountains – PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news