Cortina’s traditions are the result of centuries of daily life in a beautiful yet severe natural environment. The local Ladin culture, similar to that of other valleys of the Dolomites and Switzerland, has been influenced by trade and cultural exchanges with Venice and Tyrol, resulting in a unique and very particular set of traditions.
Some of them are still visible today. In summer, one of the most typical festive days is the Festa de ra Bandes (Bands festival), with the members of the Corpo Musicale di Cortina d’Ampezzo, Cortina’s music band, playing with the traditional costume, one of the finest in the Alps.
Another traditional festivity is the Desmonteà, celebrating the cattle descent from Alpine pastures at the beginning of October, and St Nicholas, on 5th December, when the Krampus, devil-like figures, chase the naughty children, while St Nicholas gives gifts to the good ones.
Cortina d’Ampezzo has its own language, and as always, behind a language there is plenty of history.
Thousands of years ago, the peoples of central and eastern Alps spoke a variety of similar languages derived from those of the Celtic and Raetian tribes. As the Roman Empire conquered the area local populations learned Latin, but spoke it retaining numerous words of their former language, as well as various elements of sound and syntax, giving birth to the Ladin language of the Dolomites.
The Ladin spoken in the Ampezzo valley has evolved over the centuries, but still maintains its particular characteristics.
One of the symbols of the Ladin identity is the Ladin flag. It features the three dominant colours of nature in these valleys, namely the green of the forests and meadows, the white of snow and rock, and the blue of the sky.