In this chapter we discuss one of the most characteristic and less visited formations of the Ampezzo Dolomites, the Croda Da Lago Group.
The Croda da Lago Group is a mountainous massif of the Ampezzo Dolomites, located between Cortina d'Ampezzo, the Nuvolau Group, Selva di Cadore and Pelmo Mount. The imposing group develops through jagged ridges that descend southward from the 2.701 meter Croda da Lago, to the Lastoi de Formìn of 2.657 meters, from the Beco di Mezzodì of 2.603 meters to the Rocchette of 2.469 meters. From Giaù Pass, the most convenient starting point, there are numerous paths suitable for all types of excursions, which wind their way through the Croda da Lago, the Nuvolau, the Averau and the Cinque Torri.
The Giaù in particular, is very famous for being one of the most surprising and hard steps of the Dolomites and this notoriety derives above all from the many stages of the Tour of Italy, from the Rallies and from the Marathons of the Dolomites that take place year after year. Moreover, every day, there are really many amateur cyclists and motorcyclists who face the ascent of Santa Lucia and the endless switchbacks, and then descend down to Cortina D’Ampezzo.
A well-known itinerary among the valleys of the area, is the Ring of Croda da Lago, both for the environmental variety encountered along the way, and for the stupendous completely different landscapes that can be appreciated through these paths. An exciting journey crosses the Mondeval pastures, accompanied by dancing streams and the whistles of the numerous marmots that have found their natural habitat in these splendid areas. Mondeval is an Alpine valley included in the Dolomite group of Croda da Lago, which develops in two contexts, in the territory of San Vito di Cadore and to a small extent in the municipality of Selva di Cadore.
A part called Mondeval de Sora, a plateau located between 2.150 and 2.350 meters above sea level, guarding the Lastoi de Formin, Mount Corvo Alto, Col Duro and Becco di Mezzodì, and the Mondeval de Sote which includes the valley below, and follows the course of the Rio Cordòn in the Val Fiorentina. It is a very important area from the landscape and naturalistic point of view, a very popular destination in all seasons by tourists from all over the world. This plateau is closely linked to the discovery of a perfectly preserved hunter-gatherer with his funerary equipment, from the Mesolithic era, an intermediate period from the Stone Age, in 10,000 BC. An archaeological site of exceptional importance, discovered in 1985 under a boulder of dolomite, by Vittorino Cazzetta di Pescul, a geology enthusiast.
In particular, that day, Vittorino had noticed some remains of lithic artifacts in the soil accumulated by a marmot, engaged in building the new den. The excavations began the following year, under the direction of Antonio Guerreschi, professor of the University of Ferrara, interested in carrying out the investigations and deepening the exceptional discovery. Only after fifteen years of excavations, with the help of scholars and students, did they uncover the skeleton of the hunter and his funeral equipment, dating back over 80 centuries ago. Today the remains of the Mesolithic man are preserved in the Vittorino Cazzetta Museum, in Selva di Cadore.