In the Middle Ages, Ampezzo fell under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Aquileia, and of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1420, the village was conquered by the Republic of Venice. In 1508 it was conquered by Austria, and by 1511 people of Ampezzo swore loyalty to the Emperor Maximilian. Although remaining a Habsburg's possession until 1920, aside from being home for an ethnic German-speaking minority, Ampezzo never became a German-speaking territory and conserved its original language, Ladin, a Rhaeto-Romance language.
When Italy entered the World War in 1915, most of the male inhabitants were fighting for Austria on the Russian front. Six hundred sixty-nine (669) male inhabitants (most of them under 16 or over 50) tried to fight the Italian troops. Outnumbered by the Italians, they had to retreat. After the Austrian recovery in 1917, the town was occupied again by the Tyrolian Standschützen. Following Italy's victory in World War I, Ampezzo was finally given to Italy.
After the war the city was renamed "Cortina d'Ampezzo" (Curtain of the Ampezzo Valley), adopting the name of one of the six villages that made up the territory of Ampezzo, located in the middle of the Ampezzo valley.
Already an elite destination for the first British tourists in the late 18th century and early twentieth, Cortina d'Ampezzo became a favourite resort for upper-class Italians as well after World War I. After the winter Olympics were held there in 1956, Cortina became a world-renowned resort, experiencing increased mass tourism. Cortina Airport was built for the Games, but is currently closed