Nestled in the mountains of Italy’s Carnian Alps are 28 villages and 121 hamlets. My favorite happens to be Sauris—or to be more precise, the pair of villages Sauris di Sopra and Sauris di Sotto. The upper town, Sauris di Sopra, boasts the highest altitude in all of Carnia at 4600 feet, while the lower town, Sauris di Sotto, is home to the Wolf Sauris prosciutto factory.
The road to Sauris is long and treacherous, with narrow hairpin turns winding up mountainsides and dark tunnels boring through them, passing the turquoise waters of Lago di Sauris along the way. Both villages are peppered with Alpine-style chalets and surrounded by rolling, grassy meadows and steep, forested peaks. During the spring and summer, echoes of birdsong fill the air, while the fragrance of wildflowers and pine invites hikers to explore the region’s endless mountain paths. In winter, when the landscape becomes blanketed with snow, skiers flock to the stark white slopes for some downhill fun—afterward heading to restaurants like Ristorante Alla Pace to satisfy their bellies with steaming plates of goulasch and slices of warm apple strudel.