The beautiful Dolomites
The site of the Dolomites – the “Pale Mountains” – comprises a mountain range in the northern Italian Alps. In terms of uniqueness, the Dolomites surpass any other place in the world for their beauty and diversity in natural landscape and it is no wonder therefore that the Dolomites are widely regarded as being the most attractive mountain landscapes in the world. Covering an area of about 15,942 sq km, the 9 mountain ranges that constitute the Dolomites are spread over 5 provinces and 3 regions.
The Dolomites have 18 peaks that are above 3,000m and some of the rock cliffs rise more than 1,500m rendering them among the highest limestone walls in the world.
As have been remarked by Reinhold Messner, the renowned mountaineer who has climbed thousands of mountains in the world including having made the first ascent of Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen and being the first climber in history to have ascended all 14 peaks in the world that are over 8,000m:
“… I climbed on thousands of mountains around the world. My conclusion is: no mountain can compete with the beauty of the Dolomites. The Dolomites are distinctive …”
“They are not the highest, but they are certainly the most beautiful mountains around the world.”
Cortina d’Ampezzo, commonly referred to as “Cortina“, is a town along the Ampezzo Valley that lies in the southern Dolomites in the Veneto region in Northern Italy. Situated at an elevation of about 1,200m and surrounded by peaks that are generally above 2,000m with 2 that are as high as 3,200m (Cristallo and Tofana di Mezzo), Cortina is unsurprisingly one of the most popular summer and winter sports resorts in the Dolomites. No wonder therefore that it was chosen as the site for the 1956 Winter Olympics!
The stunning scenery of the Dolomites around Cortina beckons to the extent that visitors to Venice often make side trips to Cortina all year round to enjoy not just the spectacular alpine scenery but also the beautiful town of Cortina itself.