Cadore is one of the most spectacular areas in the Veneto region, thanks to its landscapes of rolling valleys, picture-postcard villages, alpine lakes, centuries-old forests and the high peaks of the Dolomites, the ‘Pale Mountains’, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here is Lake Misurina, located in the hamlet of Auronzo di Cadore of the same name, about 24 km away: it is perhaps the most beautiful lake in the Cadore area, so much so that it was chosen, together with Auronzo di Cadore and Antorno, as the location for the TV series “Un passo dal cielo” (One Step from Heaven).
To reach Misurina, as well as other famous Cadore resorts such as Cortina, you can rely on special transport services to forget about the car and enjoy the unique mountain views.
Lake Misurina: the jewel of the Cadore region
With a depth of almost 5 metres and an extension of 2.6 km, Lake Misurina is the largest lake basin in the whole of the Cadore area and, like a jewel, embellishes the already spectacular Ampezzo Dolomites: the peaks of the famous Sorapiss and Cristallo mountains, the Cadini di Misurina and the legendary Tre Cime di Lavaredo are reflected in its clear waters.
Its name is said to derive from meso ai rin, or in the middle of streams, because in the past it was thought that the Piave and Adige rivers originated at Lake Misurina: in reality, this beautiful lake is “only” set in a green setting, with dense woods which, if in winter they become snowy sculptures and in autumn are coloured orange and gold, in summer they are green and lush.
So, it is pleasant to walk along the path that surrounds the lake: the eastern shore is wilder and winds at the foot of the Cadini di Misurina, while the western shore is bordered by a wooden walkway that allows you to walk right at the water’s edge.
Lake Misurina, whose cold waters can be a challenge for those looking for a very refreshing swim, can also be experienced by hiring romantic rowing boats or fun pedalos.
In winter, when the surface freezes over (it is at an altitude of 1754 m), you can also skate on Lake Misurina, where ice-skating competitions were held during the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina.
If you plan a trip to Lake Misurina during the winter season, you can take advantage of the proximity of the Auronzo-Misurina ski resort and ski on the 20 km of slopes located between Monte Agudo and Col de Varda.
Lake Misurina enjoys an excellent microclimate, making it a delightful place to relax and treat respiratory problems. It is no coincidence that an old residence where kings and queens of the past spent their holidays is home to the Pio XII Institute, a true centre of excellence for the treatment of childhood asthma.
The legend of Lake Misurina
What makes Lake Misurina even more impressive is the legend that has been telling of its birth for centuries.
The story tells of the little Misurina – the rather capricious daughter of King Sorapiss, whom he pleased in everything because she was motherless – who one day learned of the existence of a magic mirror that revealed the thoughts of all those who looked into it.
She asked her father who, in order to satisfy her, went to Monte Cristallo, where the fairy who guarded this magical object lived: the woman agreed but on one condition, that the king himself should turn into a mountain to shade his garden. Misurina, despite the high price to pay, did not give up her wish and while she was jumping for joy and looking at herself in her magic mirror, her father King Sorapiss was transformed.
Everything around her began to change, trees, rocks and ravines grew: suddenly Misurina found herself high up in the air, felt dizzy and fell into the void: King Sorapiss, now a helpless mountain (the Sorapiss), watched his daughter die without being able to do anything.
He shed so many tears that the Misurina Lake was born from them: the iridescent effects of its waters are due to the magic mirror that crashed to the ground and smashed into thousands of pieces.
From Lake Misurina you can go on excursions to equally wonderful places, such as the nearby Lake Antorno, only 2 km away, the Fanes Waterfall, which at 90 metres high is the highest of all the lakes in the Dolomites, and the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, which can be reached from the Auronzo Refuge along paths 101 and 105.
Not to be missed is the excursion along ancient wartime mule tracks to Monte Piana, from the characteristic plateau at the summit: here there is an open-air museum linked to the Great War and the Bosi Refuge also houses artefacts from the First World War, which left more than 14,000 dead in the trenches on Monte Piana alone.