11. Hotel Pordoi

11 Hotel PordoiDolomites017

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The Hotel Pordoi is at just over 2,100 metres, on the Great Dolomite Road as it winds over the Passo Pordoi. This photograph is taken from high above the Hotel, looking north west from the Col di Rosc to the prominent saddle of the summit of the Passo Sella. The three headed mountain to the left is the Sassolungo, or Langkofel. The cliffs to the right of shot are the Sella Towers and Piz Ciavazes.

It is a view of mountains, unsurprisingly scarcely changed in 100 years.

In one of the Zardini Cortina - Bolzano booklets I have, this same photo is again used. However, in the other copy, we are given this much closer and very different view of the Hotel Pordoi:


This view has not changed very much, seen here on my visit in September 2013:


This has clearly always been a popular view of the Hotel, which was photographed in the 1920s or 1930s by Ghedina of Cortina:


By comparison, 2013:


A web search unearthed this view of the Hotel Pordoi, said to be in 1903.


This photo is from 1908:

Hotel Pordoi 1908001

The Hotel’s web site says the building dates from 1890 and it was, I think, the highest point approachable by wheeled vehicle until the Great Dolomite Road completed the crossing of the Pordoi Pass. It, and the nearby buildings, clearly altered over time, however.

This elegant black and white postcard (from the 1950s or 1960s I think, though it is un-dated) is of substantially the same view:

Hotel Pordoi 2001

This closer view of the Hotel is from a card postmarked 1953:

Hotel Pordoi 1940s001

Sixty years later:


I also rather like this postcard, dated by the sender in August 1951. It shows the views in exactly the opposite direction to those above, looking across the Road, in more or less a south-easterly direction. The postcard shows the tortuous twists of the Road as it climbs the Pordoi pass in this area very well. The Hotel Pordoi is the obvious building towards the right of the photograph.

Near Hotel Pordoi 2 001

The card above is by Ghedina of Cortina, as is this quite similar one I came by subsequently, dated by its sender in August 1952.

Near Hotel Pordoi001

My collection of views from this area also includes this, also from the early 1950s. This shows the Road (still unpaved) leading up to the Hotel Pordoi, and on from there to the summit of the Pordoi Pass, as seen from Col Rodella:

View to Pordoi002

This Ghedina postcard view is also in the same general direction. The cars on the road seem (under a magnifying glass!) to date from the 1960s, and the road in the foreground, snaking down from the Sella Pass towards its junction with the Pordoi road, also seems now to have been paved:

View to Pordoi001

Around the same time (one is postmarked 1953, the other 1961), a different company was still selling these shots, same viewpoint, slightly wider angle, of the road before it was paved.

Sella Bends002Sella to Marmolada001

The same bends, in a typically bright 1969 postcard:

Sella 1969

Much the same viewpoint is used for this postcard, printed around 1950, which shows the almost improbable route the road up the Sella Pass took, and still takes:

Marmolada from Sella 001

Early postcards of this section of the road really do show how tortuous its curves are. This 180 degree-plus bend on the Sella Pass section was almost identical in the 1960s and is still just as tight today. These photos are from the 1930s, the 1960s and 2013:

Sella Bends001Pordoi Sellaimg_0216

It is by no means the only tight bend, however, as this photo shows. The sender dated this postcard in August 1952:

Towards Sella001

The postcard below, which was printed in 1950, shows the head of the Sella Pass (that’s the big notch in the skyline in the centre of the Zardini photo that began this page) and gives a great impression of how narrow these roads were at that time, even in very popular places.

Dolomites Project009

More by chance than anything, I found I’d taken this shot of the same view, in 2013. The road remains impossibly narrow for the coach traffic it often has to endure:


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