[doh-luh-mahyts, dol-uh-]
Dolomites or Dolomite Alps, Alpine group, N Italy, between the Isarco and Piave rivers, named for the dolomitic limestone of which it is composed. Famous for their strikingly bold outline (a stairstep effect created by erosion of alternate layers of soft and hard rock) and for their vivid colors at sunrise and sunset, the Dolomites are ideal for mountain climbing and skiing. Hydroelectricity is produced in the Dolomites. The Marmolada (10,964 ft/3,342 m), the highest peak, has glaciers. Cortina d'Ampezzo and other resorts are among the major tourist centers of Italy.
The Dolomites (Dolomiti; Dolomiten; ) are a section of the Alps. They are located for the most in the province of Belluno, the rest in the provinces of Bolzano-Bozen and Trento (all in north-eastern Italy). Conventionally they extend from the Adige river in the west to the Piave valley (Pieve di Cadore) in the east, the northern and southern borders are defined by the Puster Valley (Val Pusteria) and the Sugana Valley (Val Sugana). But the Dolomites spread also over the Piave river (Dolomiti d'Oltrepiave) to the east; and far away over the Adige river to the west is the Brenta Group (Western Dolomites); there is also another smaller group called Piccole Dolomiti (Small Dolomites) located between the Provinces of Trento and Vicenza (see the map).
One national park and many other regional parks are located in the Dolomites.


During the First World War the line between the Italian and Austro-Hungarian forces ran through the Dolomites. There are open air war museums at Cinque Torri (Five Towers) and Mount Lagazuoi. Many people visit the Dolomites to climb the Vie ferrate. These are protected paths which were first created in the Dolomites during the First World War. A number of long distance footpaths run across the Dolomites, which are called "Alte vie" (i.e., high paths). Such long trails, which are numbered from 1 to 8, require at least a week to be walked through and are served by numerous "Rifugi" (huts). The first and, perhaps, most renowned is the Alta Via 1.


The region is commonly divided into the Western (Dolomiti di Brenta) and Eastern Dolomites, separated by a line following the Valle dell'Adige. The range includes more than forty glaciers.

Origin of the name

The name "Dolomites" is derived from the famous French mineralogist Déodat Gratet de Dolomieu who was the first to describe the rock, dolomite, a type of carbonate rock which is responsible for the characteristic shapes and colour of these mountains.


A tourist mecca, the Dolomites are famous for skiing in the winter months and mountain climbing, daily excursions, climbing and Base Jumping, as well as paragliding and hang gliding in summer and late spring/early autumn. Free climbing has been a tradition in the Dolomites since 1887, when 17-year-old Georg Winkler soloed the first ascent of the pinnacle Die Vajolettürme. The main centres include: Rocca Pietore alongside the Marmolada glacier, which lies on the border of the Trentino-Alto Adige and Veneto regions, the small towns of Alleghe, Falcade, Auronzo, Cortina d'Ampezzo, and the villages of Arabba, Ortisei and San Martino di Castrozza, as well as the whole of the Fassa, Gardena and Badia Valleys.

Major Peaks

Marmolada 3344 10,972 Pale di San Martino 2996 9831
Antelao 3264 10,706 Rosengartenspitze / Catinaccio 2981 9781
Tofana di Mezzo 3241 10,633 Marmarole 2961 9715
Punta Sorapis 3229 10,594 Cima di Fradusta 2941 9649
Monte Civetta 3220 10,564 Monte Agner 2872 9416
Vernel 3145 10,319 Fermedaturm 2867 9407
Monte Cristallo 3199 10,496 Cima d'Asta 2848 9344
Cima di Vezzana 3191 10,470 Cima di Canali 2846 9338
Cimon della Pala 3184 10,453 Croda Grande 2839 9315
Langkofel / Sassolungo 3181 10,427 Vajoletturm / Torri del Vajolet (highest) 2821 9256
Pelmo 3169 10,397 Sass Maor 2816 9239
Dreischusterspitze 3162 10,375 Cima di Ball 2783 9131
Boespitze / Piz Boè (Sella group) 3152 10,342 Cima della Madonna (Sass Maor) 2751 9026
Croda Rossa (Hohe Gaisl) 3148 10,329 Rosetta 2741 8993
Piz Popena 3143 10,312 Croda da Lago 2716 8911
Elferkofel 3115 10,220 Central Grasleitenspitze 2705 8875
Grohmannspitze (Langkofel) 3111 10,207 Sciliar 2562 8406
Zwölferkofel 3091 10,142 Sasso di Mur 2554 8380
Sass Rigais (Geislerspitzen) 3027 9932 Cima delle Dodici 2338 7671
Tre Cime di Lavaredo 3003 9853 Monte Pavione 2336 7664
Kesselkogel (Rosengarten) 3001 9846 Cima di Posta 2235 7333
Fünffingerspitze 2997 9833 Monte Pasubio 2232 7323

Major Passes

Name metres feet
Passo d' Ombretta (Campitello to Caprile), foot path 2738 8983
Langkofeljoch (Gröden Valley to Campitello), foot path 2683 8803
Tschagerjoch (Karersee to the Vajolet Glen), foot path 2644 8675
Grasleiten Pass (Vajolet Glen to the Grasleiten Glen), foot path 2597 8521
Passo di Pravitale (Rosetta Plateau to the Pravitale Glen), foot path 2580 8465
Passo delle Comelle (same to Cencenighe), foot path 2579 8462
Passo della Rosetta (San Martino di Castrozza to the great limestone Rosetta plateau), foot path 2573 8442
Vajolet Pass (Tiers to the Vajolet Glen), foot path 2549 8363
Passo di Canali (Primiero to Agordo), foot path 2497 8193
Tierseralpljoch (Campitello to Tiers), foot path 2455 8055
Passo di Ball (San Martino di Castrozza to the Pravitale Glen), foot path 2450 8038
Forcella di Giralba (Sexten to Auronzo), foot path 2436 7992
Col dei Bos (Falzarego Glen to the Travernanzes Glen), foot path 2313 7589
Forcella Grande (San Vito to Auronzo), foot path 2262 7422
Pordoi pass (Arabba to Val di Fassa), road 2250 7382
Passo Sella (Gröden Valley to Val di Fassa), road 2244 7362
Giau pass (Cortina to Val Fiorentina), road 2236 7336
Tre Sassi Pass (Cortina to St Cassian), foot path 2199 7215
Valparola pass (Cortina to St Cassian), road 2168 7113
Mahlknechtjoch (Upper Duron Glen to the Seiser Alp), foot path 2168 7113
Passo Gardena (Gröden Valley to Colfuschg), road 2121 6959
Passo di Falzarego (Caprile to Cortina), road 2117 6946
Fedaja Pass (Val di Fassa to Caprile), bridle path 2046 6713
Valles Pass (Paneveggio to Falcade), road 2032 6667
Passo delle Erbe (Eisacktal to Val Badia), road 2003 6572
Passo Rolle (Predazzo to San Martino di Castrozza and Primiero), road 1984 6509
Forcella Forada (Caprile to San Vito), bridle path 1975 6480
Passo di San Pellegrino (Moena to Cencenighe), road 1910 6267
Passo Campolongo (Corvara to Arabba), road 1875 6152
Forcella d'Alleghe (Alleghe to the Zoldo Glen), foot path 1820 5971
Tre Croci Pass (Cortina to Auronzo), road 1808 5932
Passo di Costalunga or Karerpaß (Nova Levante to Vigo di Fassa), road 1753 5751
Monte Croce Pass (Innichen and Sexten to the Piave Valley and Belluno), road 1638 5374
Ampezzo Pass (Toblach to Cortina and Belluno), path 1544 5066
Passo Cereda (Primiero to Agordo), road 1372 4501
Toblach Pass (Bruneck to Lienz), railway 1209 3967

Major Parks

  • Parco Nazionale delle Dolomiti Bellunesi (77,865 acres)
  • Parco naturale regionale delle Dolomiti d'Ampezzo (27,675 acres)
  • Parco naturale Fanes-Sennes-Braies (156,790 acres)
    • Parco naturale Paneveggio - Pale di San Martino (48,680 acres)
  • Parco naturale dello Sciliar (41,490 acres)
  • Parco naturale Dolomiti di Sesto (28,750 acres)
    • Parco naturale Puez Odle (25,195 acres)
  • Parco naturale provinciale dell' Adamello-Brenta (153,320 acres)
  • References

    See also

    External links

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