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The town in the Italian Alps that’s secretly better if you can’t ski


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Snowshoeing, as I discovered with Luca, is just one of the myriad options for those of us keen to avoid skis – offering the perfect way to experience the landscape while staying far from the rumpus of skiers, lifts and gondolas. If that’s not for you, there’s also fat biking, sledging, cross-country skiing, and dog sledding, plus Alpine restaurants that sport mid-century pine seating with leatherette covers, and serve aperitivo with almonds and a side of snowmelt underfoot. 

And then there are the three spas, making use of the glorious 36°C thermal waters that gave this spot its local name, Wellness Mountain. It was the Romans who discovered the hot springs here – sensibly building bathing houses in which to socialise and soak – and the original Roman QC Terme Bagni Vecchi (old baths) still stands, luring pleasure-seekers with its steaming waters, saunas and steam rooms, the latter scented with fat bunches of dried lavender. 

There’s also a slick five-star affair, QC Terme Bagni Nuovi (the new baths, which could be straight out of Wes Anderson film), and a public spa in the centre of town, each popular with scantily clad Italians, their eyes turned skywards to admire the snow-clad crags and golden eagles above. 

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