Wild Photography Holidays - Photography & Adventure Travel: Italy – The Best of the Dolomites with James Rushforth


Italy – The Best of the Dolomites with James Rushforth

Highlights include…

  • Tre Cime di Lavaredo towers
  • Jagged snow capped mountains
  • Astrophotography opportunities
  • Beautifully located hotels
  • Traditional local food
  • Picturesque villages
  • Tranquil lakes, streams and rivers
  • Alpine meadows
  • Traditional Tyrolean architecture
  • Arrival in Venice
  • Striking autumn colours (October departure)
  • Superb wild flowers (June departure)
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site

General Summary

Introducing our brand new photographic trip to one of the most breathtaking mountain ranges in the world. Located in northern Italy, the majestic spires of the Dolomites are widely regarded as the most photogenic mountain range on the planet, indeed it is rare to see an international landscape photography competition without at least one finalist image featuring these stunning natural formations. The area is characterised by impossibly steep towers, spires, pinnacles, jagged ridges and sharp pinnacles that thrust skyward from the picturesque villages and alpine meadows below.

Our journey begins in the floating architectural masterpiece of Venice, and if time constraints allow, guests are encouraged to arrive a couple of days early to fully take advantage of Venice’s many photographic opportunities.

Wild Photography Holidays will provide an airport transfer service from both Venice Marco Polo and Venice Treviso airports for the two hour journey to the Dolomites and the world famous town of Cortina d’Ampezzo. Over the next week we will traverse this magical mountain range from south to north exploring the Ampezzo, Cadini di Misurina, Sesto, Puez Odle and Sella groups. We will drive over the exposed heights of the Falzarego, Giau and Erbe passes before sampling the Tyrolean culture of the Badia, Funes and Gardena valleys. Expect to photograph the mountain landscapes of the Tofane, Cinque Torri, Cristallo, Antelao, Sassolungo and of course the iconic Tre Cime di Lavaredo towers. These stunning peaks are complimented by tranquil lakes, streams, waterfalls and a wide variety of traditional Tyrolean architecture. Clear skies permitting, there a number of excellent astrophotography opportunities as the Milky Way and galactic core are perfectly positioned at this time of year.

The October trip is a particularly special time to experience the Dolomites as the autumn colours transform the lower hills into a sea of gold.

The June trip is an excellent time for the flowers as the receding snow allows some 1400 species of wildflower to burst into life, carpeting the valley floors and rolling foreground hills in a blanket of vibrant colours.

Photographic Tutors and Guides

This photographic holiday will be led by James Rushforth, author of five guidebooks to the region covering photography, ski touring, climbing and via ferrata. James has lived in the Dolomites for the last 10 years and has an intimate connection with the region.
All images in the gallery on this page are by James Rushforth.

Brief Itinerary

For full details please download the trip description PDF

Day 1-4: Arrive Venice and Cortina d’Ampezzo

WPH will provide an airport transfer service from Venice Marco Polo and Venice Treviso airports. The journey to the Dolomites takes two hours as we drive through the many vineyards of the Venetian plains to reach the world famous Cortina d’Ampezzo, our home and base for the first four days is probably the most high profile town in the Dolomites.

Built astride the River Boite, the town is perfectly situated between the Falzarego and Giau passes while lying in close proximity to the Parco delle Dolomiti d’Ampezzo, an intricate network of peaks, valleys, streams and forest covering some 37,000 hectares of alpine wilderness. Over the next few days we will explore the famous five towers of Cinque Torri, photograph reflections of the Tofane in the crystal waters of Lago Limides, take a Jeep ride up to the remote Croda da Lago and hike to the trio of monoliths that make up the Tre Cime – home to one of the six great north faces of the Alps and an iconic symbol of the Dolomites.
Accommodation Hotel

Day 5: Val di Funes

Our adventure continues as we drive towards our second base in the rustic Val di Funes, stopping at the much coveted Lago di Braies to take in the idyllic scenery that provided the setting for the Italian television series ‘Un passo dal cielo’. While the characteristic stilted boathouse at the northern end of the lake provides the classic vantage point, compositions abound as we traverse the turquoise waters backdropped by the Croda del Becco mountains which are said to house a gateway to the underworld, hence the Ladin name ‘Sass dla Porta’ (gate rock).

Continuing our scenic drive over the Passo delle Erbe we reach the secluded Val di Funes just in time to photograph Chiesa di Santa Maddalena at sunset. The church, surrounded by traditional farmsteads, rolling meadows and woodland, backdropped against the dramatic north-west faces of the Odle / Geisler peaks, provides a picture-perfect scene that is amongst the most iconic in the Dolomites.

Day 6-8: Alpe di Siusi

In the morning we’ll take the opportunity to explore the Val di Funes some more, taking advantage of the sun rising behind the imposing twin mountains of Sass Rigais and Furchetta, the two highest peaks in the Puez Odle massif. After lunch we set off westwards to join the larger Valle Isarco, a region famous for its white wine as a favourable microclimate comprised of hot summer days and cool nights at vintage time ensures the grapes reach maturity with a high sugar content. The medieval town of Chiusa, dominated by the Benedictine nunnery ‘Monastero di Sabiona’ and a member of ‘I borghi più belli d’Italia’, a private association promoting the most beautiful villages in Italy, makes for an excellent stop on the way.

Finally we turn south to arrive in the magnificent Alpe di Siusi, our final destination and home for the remainder of the trip. Spanning an area of 6000 hectares (or 56 square kilometres), the Alpe di Siusi is Europe’s largest high-altitude alpine meadow. The vast plateau harbours some 800 different species of wildflower and is liberally studded with rustic wooden huts, babbling streams and small ponds. Set against the superbly proportioned Sassolungo group, an epitome of the Dolomitic ideal of what a mountain should look like, there is a nearly infinite number of creative photo opportunities to be had here. To take full advantage of the scale of this landscape we will spend several days shooting a number of viewpoints here with special permission to drive on the plateau in order to cover as much ground as possible.

Day 9: Homeward Flights

After breakfast guests will be transferred to Venice Treviso and Venice Marco Polo international airports for homeward flights. WPH services finish upon arrival at the airports.

Pickup Arrangements

There will be two pickups on the first day to transfer from Venice and Treviso airports to the Dolomites, a trip that will take just over two hours. Pickup from Venice Piazzale Roma will only take place in the morning for anyone that has stayed overnight in Venice itself.

Pickup 1:

Venice Piazzale Roma – ‪11:00‬
Venice Marco Polo Airport – ‪11:30‬
Venice Treviso Airport – ‪12:30‬

Pickup 2:

Venice Marco Polo – ‪16:30‬
Venice Treviso Airport – ‪17:30‬

*Please note that times may change slightly to better accommodate guests once we have received detailed flight information.

What’s Included

  • Airport transfer
  • 8 nights accommodation
  • All Meals
  • All transport
  • Photographic tutors/tuition

What’s not Included

  • International flights
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Travel insurance


We will stay in a variety of high quality accommodation, always located in beautiful surroundings and offering good access to our chosen photo-locations.


The longest walk is one hour to the Tre Cime north faces (It has 200m of height gain). For the remainder of our locations the walking is around 15 minutes max. There are closer options and excellent viewpoints for the Tre Cime north faces day.

Complete Itinerary and Full Details

This page is only a brief summary. A complete itinerary and more details can be found in our trip description PDF
It is important that you read this full day-to-day description and further information for this holiday before making your booking.