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Digital Subscriptions > National Geographic Traveller (UK) > April 2018 > THE FAIRIES OF NORTHERN ITALY

THE FAIRIES OF NORTHERN ITALY

Mountains meet the Mediterranean in this far-flung corner of Italy, full of dense pine forests, emerald lakes and sun-drenched olive groves. Trentino is a land of enchanting beauty, where locals have a deep-rooted relationship with their natural world

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IMAGE: CARLO BARON

The ash-grey mountains tower above me: a huge fortress, turrets punching skywards, battlements between them scarred and battleworn. The more I stare, the more my imagination runs away with me. The undulating hills become a heaving ocean, the clouds that linger at their tops huge plumes of spray. I can almost taste salt on the air, see sentinels on the ramparts, weaponry glistening in the sun.

My reverie is broken by my Alpine guide pointing out the differences in the landscape around me. To my right, there’s a glacial valley, with soft hills and dark, still lakes; and to my left, the mighty Dolomites, a mountain range that formed below the primordial seas 250 million years ago. You can still find shells on its flanks, testimony to its watery past. In fact, the scene I’m witnessing seems to sum up the whole of Trentino — a single province where the changes in the landscape are vast. Within 60 miles (a two-hour drive, or 15-minute helicopter ride), you can go from the extremes of the mountains to the sub-Mediterranean climate of Lake Garda.

We continue, passing clumps of foxgloves, bright-eyed ringlet butterflies no bigger than twopenny pieces, and huddles of other hikers equally enthralled by the view, before returning to Chalet Fogajard, outside the town of Madonna di Campiglio. The only thing that eclipses the five-course feast I sit down to that evening is the view: at sundown, the Dolomites burn a deep, transfixing pink.

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About National Geographic Traveller (UK)

From ancient villages to stories from the locals, we uncover some of the Aegean Sea’s most gleaming pearls as we island-hop across the paradise idylls of Greece’s Cyclades. Elsewhere, we discover authentic Maori culture in New Zealand; wind our way along the Volga in Russia; and spend a long weekend in Tunis. Our urban highlights this issue include Istanbul, Lisbon, Mumbai and Bordeaux while our photo story introduces the freedivers of Jeju Island in South Korea.