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© Manaz Productions

The history of tourism on Mt. Lagazuoi

Mount Lagazuoi was fortified during the First World War by the opposing armies. From June 1915 to November 1917, about a hundred Austro-Hungarian soldiers lived on the summit ridge. After the Battle of Caporetto and the retreat from the Alpine Front, the soldiers abandoned these mountains and they became a destination for sporadic climbers and ski tourers. 

Ugo Pompanin, member of Cortina’s worldwide famous climbing elite "Scoiattoli" and academician of the Italian Alpine Club CAI, during the summer months of the early 60s was busy with the repetitions of some climbing routes in the Fanes group and on Mount Lagazuoi, which nowadays are recommended classic Dolomite climbs. And during his extended forays and climbs in this area, he realized its remarkable value for the upcoming tourism industry.

At the beginning of March 1963 a group of friends went to Mt. Lagazuoi for an inspection. Besides Ugo Pompanin there were Ugo Illing, Angelo Menardi Milar, his wife Franca and Mescolin. On a sunny day with superlative firn snow they made their big decision: they founded a company and raised the necessary capital of 168 million lire, according to estimates by the company Hölz from Merano, for the construction of the Falzarego-Lagazuoi cable car. The seed capital was subscribed in one week. The first measurements were taken in the spring of 1963. The company Pellegrini from Bressanone was entrusted with the realization of the project and finished the construction of the cable car in February 1964.

The construction of a mountain hut at a distance of about fifty meters from the top station of the cable car Lagazuoi required three and a half months, from June 5th to September 20th, 1964. Today the Lagazuoi Refuge is the highest and, with its 74 beds, also the largest mountain hut in Cortina d'Ampezzo and is still run by the Pompanin family. 

With the realization of these two works this stunning area was made accessible to tourism.