In the second half of the nineteenth century, the Dolomites and their yet unknown natural environment became the favourite destination for English and German middle classes.
The first visitors, naturalists and geologists, discovered the mountains and the valley and were charmed by the landscape.
Chamois hunters, who had been following their prey over peaks and along ledges, became the first official Alpine guides.
The first hotels were built towards the end of the 19th century and the construction of the Pustorthal railway in 1871 and of the Road of the Dolomites in 1909 led ever increasing numbers of tourists to the valley.
During the whole nineteenth century, only the summer season offered the Ampezzo community the opportunity to meet foreign visitors. All the other months of the year would follow the rhythm of traditional activities, religious functions, and rural works.
In the early decades of the 20th century, the economy of the Ampezzo valley started to diversify. The number of people employed in the tourist business was steadily increasing: hotel staff, Alpine guides, drivers and shopkeepers.
In 1894, the first pair of skis arrived in Cortina: a pair of ash-wood planks with woven wicker bindings for the boots. Other skis were soon made by the local craftsmen.
The extraordinary development of winter tourism – interrupted only during World Wars – was crowned by the 1956 Winter Olympics. The economy of the valley changed radically, as the lives of the Ampezzo families who started to abandon rural activities and devoted to tourism.