One of Italy's most famous resorts, with a surprisingly low number of foreign visitors. It is a very pleasant town with excellent shopping and après ski. The slopes above are varied, extensive and mostly tree-lined.
Madonna's excellent ski area extends over 150km (93 miles) with fully integrated lift links via Monte Vig over to the two purpose-built centres of Marilleva and Folgarida in the Val di Sole. It's wonderful terrain for intermediate skiers who will find long cruising trails through the forest and a great sense of travelling as you move from one end of the ski area to the other. This is perhaps enhanced because, whichever route you take, you will emerge from above the tree-line, then descend back in to the trees to reach the base of the next lift, before coming out again on several occasions. It should not be forgotten that, along with the lift-linked skiing, as much terrain again is accessible on the area pass, this takes in Madonna's near neighbour, the lovely village of Pinzolo which has its own medium sized ski area below Doss del Sabion, complete with modern lifts and a long-term plan to make a link over the few kilometres that separate it from Madonna's skiing. On the other side the Val de Sole the resorts of Passo Tonale (with its high altitude, year round, glacier skiing), and the slightly more distant slopes of Pejo, above the old village famous for its thermal springs, are also included, as is Monte Bondone. Back in Madonna beginners signing up with the 150 instructor-strong ski school are most likely to be collected from their hotels or the ski school office and be taken on a mini bus up to the gentle nursery slopes of Campo Carlo Magno, away from the busy main slopes. From these beginnings it's easy to start touring the whole area by the end of your first week. For experts the main challenges include the Canal Miramonti run down from Monte Spinale and the famous 3 Tre run - the site of the annual World Cup race. Off-piste guiding are available on request.
There are few childcare facilities in Madonna di Campiglio - no public day-care and the ski school only organises special child classes for children age three and up. On the plus side, if you stay in some hotels and two parents buy lift tickets, then children under 9 years of age ski free - very generous by Italian standards. The ice rink is popular with families after skiing and there are plenty of reasonably priced family friendly restaurants, so long as your kids like pizza and pasta.
With more than 30 restaurants to choose from, Madonna can cater for most tastes - so long as you like Italian food! Taking a snowcat tour up to one of the mountain restaurants for an evening meal is 'the norm' at least once in a week here. It's possible to eat reasonably economically, if you need to, with big bowls of pasta and huge pizzas to eat in or take out at many establishments. Trentino cuisine is highly regarded by those who know about such things internationally, The restaurant in the Relais Club des Alpes, as well as Le Roi and the Antico Focolare are amongst the best in town.
Madonna has a reputation for its après ski that rivals that for its actual skiing. 'People Watching' begins as soon as the lifts close and many of the resort's more wealthy clientelle appear togged up to the nines already to parade in fur coats with dogs that seem smaller than any canine species previously known to mankind. In most places around the resort the bars and restaurants retain quiet sophistication until the small hours, when the legendary nightclubs really start to buzz, some staying open through to the time when the lifts re-open in the morning if you're visiting at a busy holiday weekend. Among the less pretentious and more lively bars are the Cliffhanger and later the Des Alpes discotheque. Further up-market are the Cantina Suisse which is popular for cocktails until 7pm and then has live music until midnight. The well heeled may then head off to the Zangola, 3km (two miles) from the resort centre (it lays on transportation) which is famous for its wild nights.
Madonna di Campiglio was one of the first winter resorts to believe in the future of snowboarding and to invest in facilities, playing host to the most prestigious international meetings in Trentino. The Passo Grosté boasts a half pipe built a few seasons ago, as well as a piste for boarder cross. As a reward for this commitment to the sport, the resort hosted the 2001 FIS World Championships. Lift-linked Folgarida is a past host of the Snowboarding World Cup. Off-piste guiding are available on request. .