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Italian: Dolomiti
German: Dolomiten
Val Gardena with Sella and Saslonch from Resciesa.JPG
The Western Dolomites in Gherdëina
Highest point
Peak Marmolada
Elevation 3,343 m (10,968 ft)
Coordinates 46°26′N11°51′E / 46.433°N 11.850°E / 46.433; 11.850 Coordinates: 46°26′N11°51′E / 46.433°N 11.850°E / 46.433; 11.850
Area15,942 km2 (6,155 sq mi)
Alps location map.png
Red triangle with thick white border.svg
Location of the Dolomites in the Alps
Country Flag of Italy.svg Italy
Regions Veneto, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol and Friuli Venezia Giulia
Parent range Alps
Orogeny Alpine orogeny
Age of rock Mostly Triassic
Type of rock Sedimentary rocks, dolomite and volcanic rocks
The Dolomites
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Tre cime di Lavaredo.jpg
Criteria Natural: vii, viii
Reference 1237
Inscription2009 (33rd session)
Area141,902.8 ha
Buffer zone89,266.7 ha

The Dolomites (Italian : Dolomiti [doloˈmiːti] ; Ladin: Dolomites; German : Dolomiten [doloˈmiːtn̩] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ); [1] Venetian : Dołomiti [doɰoˈmiti] : Friulian : Dolomitis) are a mountain range located in northeastern Italy. They form part of the Southern Limestone Alps and extend from the River Adige in the west to the Piave Valley (Pieve di Cadore) in the east. The northern and southern borders are defined by the Puster Valley and the Sugana Valley (Italian: Valsugana). The Dolomites are located in the regions of Veneto, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol and Friuli Venezia Giulia, [2] covering an area shared between the provinces of Belluno, Vicenza, Verona, Trentino, South Tyrol, Udine and Pordenone.


Other mountain groups of similar geological structure are spread along the River Piave to the east – Dolomiti d'Oltrepiave; and far away over the Adige River to the west – Dolomiti di Brenta (Western Dolomites). A smaller group is called Piccole Dolomiti (Little Dolomites), located between the provinces of Trentino, Verona, and Vicenza.

The Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park and many other regional parks are located in the Dolomites. In August 2009, the Dolomites were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


The Dolomites, also known as the "Pale Mountains", take their name from the carbonate rock dolomite. This was named after the 18th-century French mineralogist Déodat Gratet de Dolomieu (1750–1801), who was the first to describe the mineral. [3]


For millennia, hunters and gatherers had advanced into the highest rocky regions and had probably also climbed some peaks. There is evidence that the Jesuit priest Franz von Wulfen from Klagenfurt climbed the Lungkofel and the Dürrenstein in the 1790s. In 1857 the Briton John Ball was the first to climb Monte Pelmo. Paul Grohmann later climbed numerous peaks such as the Antelao, Marmolata, Tofana, Monte Cristallo, and the Boè. Around 1860 the Agordin mountaineer Simone de Silvestro was the first person to consciously stand on the Civetta. Michael Innerkofler was one of the climbers of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Later very important local mountaineers, known for many first ascents, were Angelo Dibona and Giovanni Piaz. [4]

During the First World War, the front line between the Italian and Austro-Hungarian army ran through the Dolomites, where both sides used mines extensively. Open-air war museums are located at Cinque Torri (Five Towers), Monte Piana and Mount Lagazuoi. Many people visit the Dolomites to climb the vie ferrate, protected paths through the rock walls that were created during the war.

A number of long-distance footpaths traverse the Dolomites. They are called alte vie (German: Dolomiten Höhenwege - high paths), and are numbered 1 to 10. The trails take about a week to walk, and are served by numerous rifugi (huts). The first and the most renowned is the Alta Via 1. Radiocarbon dating has been used in the Alta Badia region to demonstrate a connection between landslide activity and climate change. [5]


The region is commonly divided into the Western and Eastern Dolomites, separated by a line following the Val Badia – Campolongo Pass – Cordevole Valley (Agordino) axis.

Current classification

The Dolomites may be divided into the following ranges:

Tourism and sports

Skiers in Cortina in 1903 Sciatori a Cortina1.jpg
Skiers in Cortina in 1903

The Dolomites are renowned for skiing in the winter months and mountain climbing, hiking, cycling, and BASE jumping, as well as paragliding and hang gliding in summer and late spring/early autumn. [6] [7] Free climbing has been a tradition in the Dolomites since 1887, when 17-year-old Georg Winkler soloed the first ascent of the pinnacle of the Vajolettürme. [8] The main centres include: Rocca Pietore alongside the Marmolada Glacier, which lies on the border of Trentino and Veneto, the small towns of Alleghe, Falcade, Auronzo, Cortina d'Ampezzo and the villages of Arabba, Urtijëi and San Martino di Castrozza, as well as the whole of the Fassa, Gardena and Badia valleys. [9]

The Maratona dles Dolomites , an annual single-day road bicycle race covering seven mountain passes of the Dolomites, occurs in the first week of July.

Other characteristic places are:

Major peaks

Tofana massif with Cortina d'Ampezzo in the foreground Faloria Cortina d'Ampezzo 10.jpg
Tofana massif with Cortina d'Ampezzo in the foreground
Sella group Gruppo del Sella.jpg
Sella group
Vajolet Towers Torri del Vaiolet.JPG
Vajolet Towers
Cristallo Faloria Cortina d'Ampezzo 12.jpg
Marmolada 3,34310,968Pala di San Martino2,9829,831
Antelao 3,26410,706 Rosengartenspitze / Catinaccio2,9819,781
Tofana di Mezzo 3,24110,633Cima di Fradusta2,9419,715
Sorapiss 3,22910,594 Cimon del Froppa 2,9329,649
Cristallo 3,22110,568 Monte Agnèr 2,8729,416
Monte Civetta 3,22010,564Fermedaturm2,8679,407
Cima di Vezzana 3,19210,470 Cima d'Asta 2,8489,344
Cimon della Pala 3,18410,453Cima di Canali2,8469,338
Langkofel / Sassolungo3,18110,427Croda Grande2,8399,315
Monte Pelmo 3,16810,397 Vajoletturm / Torri del Vajolet (highest)2,8219,256
Dreischusterspitze 3,16210,375Sass Maor2,8169,239
Boespitze / Piz Boè (Sella group)3,15210,342Cima di Ball2,7839,131
Hohe Gaisl (Croda Rossa d'Ampezzo)3,14810,329Cima della Madonna (Sass Maor)2,7519,026
Gran Vernel  [ de ]3,14510,319Rosetta2,7418,993
Piz Popena 3,14310,312Croda da Lago2,7168,911
Grohmannspitze (Langkofel)3,12610,256Central Grasleitenspitze2,7058,875
Zwölferkofel 3,09410,151 Schlern 2,5628,406
Elferkofel 3,09210,144Sasso di Mur2,5548,380
Piz dles Cunturines 3,06410,052Cima delle Dodici2,3387,671
Sass Rigais (Geislerspitzen)3,0259,925Monte Pavione2,3367,664
Kesselkogel (Rosengarten)3,0049,856 Cima Palon 2,2397,346
Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Drei Zinnen)2,9999,839Cima di Posta2,2357,333
Fünffingerspitze2,9979,833 Geierwand 2,0886,850
360deg panoramic view from Marmolada, the highest peak in the Dolomites Marmolada Westgrat wiki mg-k.jpg
360° panoramic view from Marmolada, the highest peak in the Dolomites

Major passes

Langkofel/Sassolungo SassolungoHDR.jpg
Falzarego Pass Falzarego-Pass 2840 a.jpg
Falzarego Pass
Gardena Pass Grodner Joch.jpg
Gardena Pass
Ombretta Pass (Campitello to Caprile), footpath2,7388,983
Langkofeljoch (Gröden Valley to Campitello), footpath2,6838,803
Tschagerjoch (Karersee to the Vajolet Glen), footpath2,6448,675
Grasleiten Pass (Vajolet Glen to the Grasleiten Glen), footpath2,5978,521
Pravitale Pass (Rosetta Plateau to the Pravitale Glen), footpath2,5808,465
Comelle Pass (same to Cencenighe), footpath2,5798,462
Rosetta Pass (San Martino di Castrozza to the great limestone Rosetta plateau), footpath2,5738,442
Vajolet Pass (Tiers to the Vajolet Glen), footpath2,5498,363
Canali Pass (Primiero to Agordo), footpath2,4978,193
Tierseralpljoch (Campitello to Tiers), footpath2,4558,055
Ball Pass (San Martino di Castrozza to the Pravitale Glen), footpath2,4508,038
Forcella di Giralba (Sexten to Auronzo), footpath2,4367,992
Col dei Bos (Falzarego Glen to the Travernanzes Glen), footpath2,3137,589
Forcella Grande (San Vito to Auronzo), footpath2,2627,422
Pordoi Pass (Arabba to Val di Fassa), road2,2507,382
Sella Pass (Gröden Valley to Val di Fassa), road2,2447,362
Giau Pass (Cortina to Val Fiorentina), road2,2367,336
Tre Sassi Pass (Cortina to St Cassian), footpath2,1997,215
Valparola Pass (Cortina to St Cassian), road2,1687,113
Mahlknechtjoch (Upper Duron Glen to the Seiser Alp), footpath2,1687,113
Gardena Pass (Gröden Valley to Colfuschg), road2,1216,959
Falzarego Pass (Caprile to Cortina), road2,1176,946
Fedaja Pass (Val di Fassa to Caprile), bridle path2,0466,713
Valles Pass (Paneveggio to Falcade), road2,0326,667
Würzjoch (Eisacktal to Val Badia), road2,0036,572
Rolle Pass (Predazzo to San Martino di Castrozza and Primiero), road1,9846,509
Forcella Forada (Caprile to San Vito), bridle path1,9756,480
San Pellegrino Pass (Moena to Cencenighe), road1,9106,267
Campolongo Pass (Corvara to Arabba), road1,8756,152
Forcella d'Alleghe (Alleghe to the Zoldo Glen), footpath1,8205,971
Tre Croci Pass (Cortina to Auronzo), road1,8085,932
Furkel Pass (Mareo to Olang), road1,7595,771
Karerpass or Costalunga Pass (Welschnofen to Vigo di Fassa), road1,7535,751
Kreuzbergpass or Monte Croce Pass (Innichen and Sexten to the Piave Valley and Belluno), road1,6385,374
Ampezzo Pass (Toblach to Cortina and Belluno), path1,5445,066
Cereda Pass (Primiero to Agordo), road1,3724,501
Toblach Pass (Bruneck to Lienz), railway1,2093,967

Major parks

Horses on pasture at Parco Naturale Tre Cime, South Tyrol. Cadini di Misurina in the background. Parco Naturale Tre Cime horses 3.jpg
Horses on pasture at Parco Naturale Tre Cime, South Tyrol. Cadini di Misurina in the background.

See also

Related Research Articles

Cortina dAmpezzo Comune in Veneto, Italy

Cortina d'Ampezzo, commonly referred to as Cortina, is a town and comune in the heart of the southern (Dolomitic) Alps in the Veneto region of Northern Italy. Situated on the Boite river, in an alpine valley, it is a winter sport resort known for its skiing trails, scenery, accommodation, shops and après-ski scene, and for its jet set and Italian aristocratic crowd.

Brenta group

The Brenta Group or Brenta Dolomites is a mountain range, and a subrange of the Rhaetian Alps in the Southern Limestone Alps mountain group. They are located in the Province of Trentino, in northeastern Italy. It is the only dolomitic group west of the Adige River. Therefore, geographically, they have not always been considered a part of the Dolomites mountain ranges. Geologically, however, they definitely are - and therefore sometimes called the "Western Dolomites". As part of the Dolomites, the Brenta Group has been officially recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site under the World Heritage Convention.

Trentino Autonomous province of Italy

Trentino officially the Autonomous Province of Trento, is an autonomous province of Italy, in the country's far north. The Trentino and South Tyrol constitute the region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, an autonomous region under the constitution. The province is composed of 177 comuni (municipalities). Its capital is the city of Trento. The province covers an area of more than 6,000 km2 (2,300 sq mi), with a total population of 541,098 in 2019. Trentino is renowned for its mountains, such as the Dolomites, which are part of the Alps.

Via ferrata

A via ferrata is a protected climbing route found in the Alps and certain other locations. The term "via ferrata" is used in most countries and languages except notably in German-speaking regions, which use Klettersteig—"climbing path".

Alta Via 1

Alta Via 1 is a 150-kilometre-long high-level public footpath which runs through the eastern Dolomites in Italy. It is also known as the Dolomite High Route 1. It passes through some of the finest scenery in the Dolomites. The path runs south from Pragser Wildsee, near Toblach, to Belluno. Prags can be accessed by bus, and Belluno has both train and bus services.

Falzarego Pass

The Falzarego Pass is a high mountain pass in the province of Belluno in Italy.

Tre Cime di Lavaredo

The Tre Cime di Lavaredo, also called the Drei Zinnen, are three distinctive battlement-like peaks, in the Sexten Dolomites of northeastern Italy. They are probably one of the best-known mountain groups in the Alps. The three peaks, from east to west, are:

Cimon della Pala

Cimon della Pala, sometimes called Cimone and The Matterhorn of the Dolomites, is the best-known peak of the Pale di San Martino group, in the Dolomites, northern Italy. Although it is not the highest peak of the group, the Cima Vezzana being a few metres higher, its slender point, which can be seen from the Rolle Pass, dominates the landscape.


Tofane is a mountain group in the Dolomites of northern Italy, west of Cortina d'Ampezzo in the province of Belluno, Veneto. Most of the Tofane lies within Parco naturale delle Dolomiti d'Ampezzo, a nature park.

Cristallo (mountain) Mountain range in the Dolomites

The Monte Cristallo is a mountain in the Italian Dolomites, northeast of Cortina d'Ampezzo, in the province of Belluno, Veneto, northern Italy. It is a long, indented ridge with four summits higher than 3,000 metres. The mountain range is part of the "Natural Park of the Ampezzo Dolomites".

VF Ivano Dibona

The Sentiero Ferrato Ivano Dibona is a challenging high alpine route along the Zurlon ridge, the main crest on Cristallo, a mountain group in the Italian Dolomites, northeast of Cortina d'Ampezzo, in the province of Belluno, Veneto, Italy. The use of a via ferrata set is recommended. The via ferrata is very well known because of the dolomitic scenery and the panoramic view.

Pizes de Cir Mountain range South Tyrol, Italy

The Pizes de Cir is a mountain range in South Tyrol, Italy. They are part of the Dolomites, north of Gardena Pass. The highest peak of this mountain range is the Gran Cir with an elevation of 2592 meters.

Sexten Dolomites

The Sexten Dolomites is a mountain range and a nature reserve in South Tyrol, Italy. The nature park was renamed in 2010 to Parco Naturale Tre Cime.

Cima Dodici

Cima Dodici is a mountain on the border of Vicenza in Veneto and Trentino in Trentino Alto Adige, northern Italy, south of the village of Borgo Valsugana. It has an elevation of 2,336 metres. and is the highest peak in Vicenza. At 1,874 m prominence, it is an ultra prominent peak. The key col is near the village of Pergine Valsugana.

Angelo Dibona Italian mountain climber

Angelo Dibona was an Austro-Hungarian and Italian mountaineer. He is remembered as one of the great pioneers of climbing in the Dolomites and is responsible for many first ascents throughout the Alps. The Aiguille Dibona in France, the Campanile Dibona and the Dibona-Kante on the Cima Grande di Lavaredo are named after him.

Garda Mountains

The Garda Mountains, occasionally also the Garda Hills, are an extensive mountain range of the Southern Limestone Alps in northern Italy.

Campanile Basso

Campanile Basso is a mountain in the Brenta group, a subgroup of the Rhaetian Alps in the Italian Region of Trentino-Alto Adige, with a height of. It is of a slender, almost fully vertical shape on all sides, rising 300 metres straight up. The mountain is named for its similarity in shape to a belltower and it being low compared to the neighboring Campanile Alto and Brenta Alta. The German alpinist Karl Schulz introduced in 1884 the name Guglia di Brenta, a name widely used until World War I and especially enduring in German literature, but considered inappropriate by locals and Italian climbers. Geologically, Campanile Basso is entirely formed of Triassic sedimentary rock, dense and compact dolomite. Due to its inaccessible appearance it was long left untouched during the alpine exploration of the Eastern Alps. Around the turn of the century a competitive race for the first ascent started, which took inspiration from the emerging nationalistic feelings in the region, as much as from the ascent of rock climbing as a sport. Most of the illustrious forebears of modern rock climbing climbed this mountain during the first half of the Twentieth century.

Cima Tosa

Cima Tosa is a mountain in the Brenta group, a subgroup of the Rhaetian Alps in the Italian Region of Trentino-Alto Adige, with a reported height of 3,173 metres (10,410 ft). With this elevation, the prominence of Cima Tosa would amount up to 1,521 meters above the reference point at Passo Carlo Magno near Madonna di Campiglio at 1,652 meters. Cima Tosa therefore qualifies as one of Europe's ultra prominent peaks. The mountain rises above Val Rendena with its 800-metre (2,600 ft) vertical north face with a steep couloir called Canalone della Tosa dividing it from its ante-peak, Crozzon di Brenta. The summit is topped by a snow cupola above the rock face, almost like a shaven head, hence the name Cima Tosa. The south-eastern side descends in a series of snowy terraces and vertical rock pillars.

Monte Pelmo

Monte Pelmo is a mountain of the Dolomites, in the province of Belluno, Northeastern Italy.

Strada statale 48 delle Dolomiti Road in Italy

Strada statale 44 delle Dolomiti, also known as strada regionale 48 delle Dolomiti is a motorway located in the Italian regions of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol and Veneto. It is a mountainous road that runs through the Dolomite area from South Tyrol, through Trentino to Cadore, crossing very suggestive mountain scenery.


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