Canazei is a village of just under 2000 inhabitants in the Ladin-speaking part of the Dolomites area of Italy. It is one of the main winter centres in the Val di Fassa (Fassatal for the German-speaking part of the South Tyrol) and occupies a strategic position in the popular Sella Ronda ski circuit.
Canazei is often mentioned in conjunction with the neighbouring village of Campitello, which has its own connection into the vast Sella Ronda area with a lift from the resort heading up near the Sella pass.
The name "Canazei" is apparently connected with reeds and the settlements in the valley were sparsely inhabited until the development at the start of the 20th century. A major influence on the economy of the area was the building of the road over the Passo Pordoi and through to Arabba and down to the neighbouring province of Belluno. The settlements which had grown to serve the increasing tourist trade were badly damaged during the fighting between the Austrian and Italian armies in the First World War and the area took time to recover until the building of more lifts in the 1960s and later decades.
These days Canazei is one of the most important stops on the Sella Ronda ski circuit in winter, with connection to the east and Arabba over the Passo Pordoi (where the road mentioned above also runs) and to the north and the Val Gardena over the Passo Sella. The town is now increasingly dependent on winter and summer tourism and the population has almost doubled in the last thirty years. However the inhabitants make a particular effort to keep to traditional customs and ways, and the village is a centre of the Ladin culture with traditional festivals held during the year.