In this chapter we will discuss one of the most beautiful territories in Italy was awarded for its biodiversity UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Dolomites.
The Dolomites, also called Monti Pallidi, are a group of mountainous groups of the Eastern Alps located between the regions of Veneto, Trentino-Alto Adige and Friuli Venezia Giulia, in the north-east of Italy. These natural works of art are named after Déodat de Dolomieu (1750 - 1801), the first geologist who studied the particular type of rock present in this territory called "dolostone".
It's made of double carbon and magnesium carbon that give the characteristic red appearance to towers, spiers and pinnacles of these huge mountains. Only in 1837, however, the term "dolomites" was used for the first time in an English guide where they were trying to describe these mountainous regions. On June 26th, 2009 the Dolomites were declared UNESCO World Heritage Site.
These wonderful formations originated through accumulations of shells, calcareous algae and corals in the Triassic, about 250 million years ago, in areas very similar to the current coral reefs of the Bahamas where there were warm and shallow seas. On these seabeds, hundreds of sediment accumulated, which, under their own weight, lost the internal fluids and became, over time, real rocks.
It was only later, about 20 million years ago, with the clash between the Eurasian plate and the African plate that emerged these peaks, rising above 3000 meters. The vegetation, up to 2000 meters, is mainly formed by coniferous woods, such as spruce or Sylvan pine, while climbing high we find small bushes, like that of mountain pine, which during winter retain snow, limiting the danger of avalanches. Countless are the different types of flowers that grow among the meadows and rocks of this region, such as the martagon lily, gentians, campanula, azalea, violet, cyclamen, alpine aster, carnation, soldanella , the narcissus, the nigritella and the raponzolo.
The true pearl of the dolomites, however, is definitely the edelweiss. Moreover, numerous animal species live in this territory. Thanks to the rich flora, in fact, there are mammals and rodents such as roe deer, deer, chamois, ibex, marmot, wild boar, badger, marten, fox, hare, dormouse, hedgehog, lynx, the wolf, the brown bear and numerous types of birds such as the golden eagle, the peregrine falcon, the buzzard, the woodpecker and many others.
Despite their complex shape, the Dolomites have always been a way of commercial and cultural exchanges over the years. Everything changed, however, with the outbreak of the First World War when the Italian territory bordered the Austro-Hungarian territory near the current border with Trentino-Alto Adige.
In these areas, where many troops were sent, trenches were built, caves dug, mule tracks and paths to make it easier to survive among these peaks where the cold and the snow were the masters. Today, thanks to what they’ve done in the past, we can cross these mountains more easily, perhaps even stopping between a trench and a museum, reflecting on what those soldiers lived and trying, therefore, to appreciate and respect more what surrounds us. Today these magical areas are very popular destinations for tourists from all over the world. In winter, in fact, they become an immaculate paradise for those who love downhill skiing, snowboarding, ski mountaineering and cross country skiing, so it’s the ideal place for people who want to discover new itineraries and admire nature.In summer, however, the landscape awakens and the green valleys become a destination for excursions, family picnics, mountain biking, horseback riding and much more.
For those who prefer a quieter holiday, the many hotel locations in the area offer wellness centers and spas to enjoy a few days of annual vacation in total relax. In addition, restaurants, inns and mountain lodges prepare all kinds of specialties. with the typical and traditional products of these areas. Do not miss the opportunity to stop in the Dolomites, the welcome of these valleys and the tranquility that the mountains will give you, will be the most beautiful gift you can make. The next chapters will be divided into the following mountain groups defined by SOIUSA (the Unified International Orographical Subdivision of the Alpine System) in a classification and toponymy system of the Alps that will help us to divide the territory and to tell it.
Below we will try to highlight the wonderful mountain groups that are located in the Veneto region and those that go beyond the borders, given the majesty of these mountains and the difficulty of managing these gigantic natural works of art. Have a good trip!
We have divided the Dolomites into the following chapters: