GETTING TO VENICE Fly to Venice’s Marco Polo Airport (Delta has daily direct flights from New York’s JFK Airport). A rental car is not necessary (and forbidden in Venice, of course), but nice to have for drives in the mountains. The vaporetto (water bus) from Marco Polo to Venice is about $18 per person; private water taxis are about $35 (negotiate the price before boarding).
VENICE TO CORTINA The 95-mile drive from Marco Polo to Cortina takes 2 1/2 hours. There are free buses on weekends; inquire through your hotel. On other days, public transportation is available (train and then bus, $14), but slow (3-4 hours).
SKI AREA STATS 60 miles of prepared pistes; 117 runs; 6,624 vertical foot drop; 39 lifts; 220 inches at summit; 110 in town. Lift tickets: $30 per day for the Dolomiti Superski Pass, which accesses 460 lifts and 756 miles of trails throughout the Dolomites. A six-day pass costs $140-$160, depending on season. The Cortina Ski Pass offers modest savings, at about $27 per day.
SLEEPING IN VENICE (The following prices are by the room.) The five-star Hotel Luna Baglione has opulent décor and is just off Piazza San Marco ($300-$1,000; 011-39-041-528-9840). Three-star Hotel Torino Venezia is well-located in a converted 15th-century palace ($140-$300; 011-39-041-520-5222); Hotel Belle Arti has modern amenities and is in a less busy district ($150-$200; 011-39-041-522-6230); Hotel Ala is on lovely S. Maria del Giglio Square ($140-$220; 011-39-041-520-8333).
DINING IN VENICE Harry’s Bar (right across from the San Marco vaporetto stop, 011-39-041-523-6797): touristy, yes; expensive, certainly ($70 per person at the very minimum); but fun and quite good. Canova, inside the Luna Baglioni (1243 Calle Larga dell’Ascensione, 011-39-041-528-9840), serves excellent fare ($60 and up). Enjoy splendid Adriatic cuisine on the Hotel Cipriani’s waterside terrace (10 Giudecca, 011-39-041-520-7744). Trattoria Da Bruno (5731 Calle Del Paradiso, 011-39-041-522-1480) is a great value.
SLEEPING IN CORTINA The five-star Miramonti Majestic Grand Hotel is majestic indeed, if charmingly dog-eared ($110-$520; 011-39-0436-4201); The four-star Savoia Grand Hotel is in a handsome building in the nice end of town ($80-$200, half board; 011-39-0436-3201); The three-star, family-run Hotel Menardi has a good dining room and cozy bar ($65-$190, full board; 011-39-0436-2400).
CORTINA DINING & APRÈS-SKI Lunch in the mountaintop rifugios guarantees excellent food and stunning views. Good ones: Scoiattoli, Averau, Duca D’Aosta, Son Forca. For modest fare in town, try Pizzeria La Perla. Après-ski, it’s Eno Teca for wine, Smoky Joe’s for live jazz and blues, and Area Discoteca, VIP Club and Bilbo Club for dancing.
OFF-HILL ACTIVITIES If you dare, Cortina’s highly technical bobsled track is open for guided joy rides (the “Taxi Bob”) from Dec. 1 to Feb. 1; or, schuss the ski-jump landing hill in a river raft.
A GREAT DEAL Ski Europe (800-333-5533; www.ski-europe.com) offers a $998 package (Jan. 19-29) that includes round trip airfare from New York to Venice on Lufthansa/United Airlines, round trip transfers from Venice to Cortina, seven nights, with breakfast, in a three-star hotel in Cortina, three nights with continental buffet breakfast in a three-star hotel in Venice, but not lifts.
INFORMATION Italian Tourist Board in New York City: 212-245-5618 or 212-245-4822; www.italiantourism.com. Venice Tourism Office: 011-39-041-279-2833; www.turismo.regione.veneto.it. Cortina d’Ampezzo Tourism Office; 011-39-043-686-6252; www.cortina.dolomiti.org.