At 1,465 metres above sea level, it is one of the thirty highest towns in Italy and the highest of the villages in the valley. Its excellent location, history and long tradition of hospitality have made it one of the most famous destinations in the Dolomites.
It is considered the winter sports capital of Val di Fassa, especially thanks to its strategic position in the midst of the peaks of Sassolungo and Sella Group, and Marmolada which is a famous UNESCO world heritage site.
Along with another 18 municipalities, Canazei forms part of a very unique area: Ladinia, where the minority group of Ladin speakers live. As a matter of fact, the local people speak Ladin in Canazei, just like the rest of the Val di Fassa and the area around the Sella massif. Tourists cannot help but notice the peculiar dialect and culture. Traces of its singularity and ancient history are immediately visible both in the architecture and when listening to the locals’ conversations, or even better, by getting involved with local life and folk celebrations.
The local inhabitants are very attached to their traditions and keen to protect their customs and habits. Therefore there are a huge number of performances and celebrations aimed at handing down and raising awareness of the Ladin culture and customs.
Its characteristic unspoilt nature, the warm hospitality of the locals and many hotels that offer all sorts of entertainment for all ages, make Canazei the ideal destination for a fun, sporty and relaxing holiday, whether in winter or summer.
The name Canazei (Cianacèi in the Ladin language), derives from the Latin term ‘cannacetum’, which refers to the ‘bed of reeds’ where marsh plants grow, probably in testimony to the marshy land.
The inhabitants of Canazei are called ‘Pazedins’ which refers to a ‘pazeida’, a wooden container used to make cajoncìe, stuffed ravioli, once one of the area’s most delicious dishes and today a very popular typical treat. Hence the reason that the inhabitants of Canazei were seen as gastronomical experts.
And it’s not just the inhabitants of Canazei who have a nickname. Tradition has it that the other villages in the valley, as well as some hamlets, have one too.
So among the hamlets of Canazei we can still find today the ‘Béles’ of Penia, the ‘Roc’ of Alba and the ‘Botaces’ of Gries. Then there are the ‘Beches’ of Campitello, the ‘Stramaraces’ of Fontanazzo, the ‘Louves’ of Campestrin, the ‘Pelacristi’ of Mazzin, the ‘Brujasanti’ of Moncion, the ‘Ciavai’ of Pozza, the ‘Musciac’ of Pera, the ‘Patins’ of Vigo, the ‘Strions’ of Soraga, the ‘Porcìe’ of Moena and the ‘Musati’ of Forno di Moena.