Hidden treasures

A Museum in the Clouds in Cortina d’Ampezzo

Mysteries & Legends

A Museum in the Clouds in Cortina d’Ampezzo

If you reach the summit of Mount Rite at 2181 meters near Cortina d'Ampezzo, it will come as a surprise to find among the barren dolomitic rocks, a Museum that, owed to its extraordinary location at high altitude, is called 'Museum in the Clouds' and is Europe’s highest museum!

The museum is housed in a former small defensive fort discovered by the famous mountaineer Reinhold Messner during one of his explorations. Fascinated by the breathtaking views from the mountain top, he decided to give new life to this crumbling fort by founding a museum that would be part of his great project, the ‘Messner Mountain Museum’ dedicated to the element of ‘rock’. This fort, built on the rocks by Italian soldiers in the nineteenth century as a defense against the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was partially damaged by the Austrians who had occupied Mount Rite during the First World War. During World War II the remains of the small fortress provided shelter for the partisans. When the war ended, it was abandoned and fell into disrepair.

Today the fort, thanks to the important work of the great mountaineer, hosts an incredible exhibition that tells the story of exploration and mountaineering in the Dolomites. The heart of the museum is the gallery of the central nave where paintings and works from the collection of Reinhold Messner representing the Dolomites from the nineteenth century to the present day are exhibited. The other rooms house what was found during the various explorations of the surrounding area, such as mountaineering objects from the first ascents, minerals, photos, and ancient finds such as the bear remains from the Conturines Caves in Alto Adige, shell fossils dating to 250 million years ago and other interesting finds from when the area was a coral reef in a tropical sea.

But if you think you've already admired the most beautiful mountain landscapes, you probably have yet to enter into the glass towers of the MMM Dolomites! In fact, where the cannons of the fort were originally positioned, three observation points have been created surmounted by startling glass domes, from which it is possible to see all the peaks that surround Mount Rite: Mount Schiara, Mount Agner, Cimon della Pala, Mount Civetta, Marmolada, Mount Pelmo, Tofana di Rozes, Sorapis, Antelao and Marmarole...it will feel like you are lost in the crystalline light of the Dolomites and a sea of white clouds!

The Messner Mountain Museum Dolomites is open daily from 10.00 to 17.00 in June and from mid-September, from 10.00 to 18.00 in July, August and up to mid-September.

If you want to get to the Museum in the Clouds on foot (but don't worry: there is also a shuttle service!) with Venetoinside you can easily reach Cortina d’Ampezzo with a private day excursion directly from Venice. Now get yourself some walking boots and come and discover the wonders of our Dolomites!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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