The Dolomites, the most famous mountain group in the Alps, represent a natural wealth appreciated all over the world. Thanks to their unparalleled beauty, they received in 2009 the award of World Heritage issued byUnesco. Although very famous, there are some interesting facts about the Dolomites , which you may not know yet.
The history of the name “Dolomites”
Today we know them with the name of Dolomiti but it is a fairly recent denomination: until the ’30s of 1800, this mountain group was known as “Pale Mountains”, because of its candid color. The term “Dolomiti” appeared for the first time in 1837 in an English newspaper as a tribute to the first naturalist who studied this particular type of rock, the French Déodat de Dolomieu. Still in his honor, the rock of these mountains is now called “dolomia“.
The highest museum in Europe? It’s in the Dolomites
That’s right, here is the tallest museum in Europe: the Messner Mountain Museum. It is a museum that traces the history of mountaineering with six structures located in six different areas of which, the highest, is located at Plan de Corones, at an altitude of 2275 meters! The museum was strongly wanted and conceived by the famous mountaineer Reinhold Messner , and is a real spectacle of modern architecture.
The Dolomiti Superski record
It is here that you can visit the largest ski area in Italy but also in Europe. Born in 1974, it includes 12 different areas, 450 lifts and 1246 kilometers of slopes, for a total of 3000 square kilometers of area. In addition to this, there are over 25,000 kilometres of tourist trails, designed for wonderful excursions for families, beginners or more experienced people.
The Dolomites are tinged with pink
It happens at dawn and dusk and is a phenomenon observable throughout the year, especially in summer: in dialect it is called “Enrosadira” which means, in fact, “to turn pink”. Observing the Dolomiti when they are colored with pink and red shades is a breathtaking spectacle, a phenomenon that happens thanks to the inclination of the rays and the conditions of the atmosphere. But you must know that there is also a legend on the subject.
The legend of King Laurin
In a long time, where now are the Dolomites stood the kingdom of King Laurin, ruler of a dwarf people, also called “Rose Garden”. Within the mountains, King Laurin had hidden all his treasures, including a cloak that made him invisible. When he fell in love with the princess Simile, he decided to kidnap her using her invisible cloak and took her to his kingdom. The King gave her all his treasures but the princess, betrothed to another, continued to live her days in sadness. Her future husband asked for the help of Theodoric of Bern who freed Simile and destroyed King Laurin’s magic cloak.
Thus, in wrath, King Laurin transformed the Garden of Roses into stone with a curse that prevented the human eye from being able to see it, day or night. He forgot, however, to mention the sunrise and sunset, the only moments when the mountains are tinged with the color of roses. A very original legend that explains, in a different way, the magical phenomenon of Enrosadira.
On the Dolomites to ski but not only: two lakes not to be missed
Winter sports and snow lovers know that there is no better place than the Dolomiti to practice their passions. Yet, in addition to this, the Dolomites also offer much more.
For example, in this area you can find some of the most scenic lakes in Italy, such as the Lake Braies, a natural and wild paradise with emerald waters. To reach Lake Braies on foot you can leave your car at the car park (for a fee) of Ferrara di Braies and from there continue on path number 1, lasting about an hour and a half.
Another wonder of lake nature in the Dolomites is Lake Sorapis, framed between the peaks of the Ampezzo Nature Park. The turquoise blue color of this lake is due to the glacier that feeds it and the particular minerals that melt in the water. To reach it and admire the beautiful surrounding landscape, you can leave your car at Passo Tre Croci and walk along path 215. This is not a particularly difficult path, but it is important to be used to walking and not be afraid of heights.