The most beautiful mountain landscape in the world
Since 2009 the Dolomites have become part of the renowned World Heritage
List. The decision was taken during UNESCO’s World Heritage
Committee’s yearly session in Seville, Spain.
The incomparable beauty of the Dolomites
convinced UNESCO, as it also did the great poet Goethe
, extreme climber Reinhold Messner
and famous architect Le Corbusier
. Pinnacles, ridges and rock walls glow deeply red in the evening sun, and change from orange to violet until the dark of night has set upon the mountains. The unique composition of the Dolomite rock allows this socalled “enrosadira”
, a sheer wonder of nature.
The World Heritage request for the Dolomites covers areas in 5 provinces. In South Tyrol, they comprise the „Bletterbach“, the Natural Parks Fanes-Senes-Braies
, Trudner Horn, Puez-Odle
, Schlern-Rosengarten, Latemar, and the Dolomites of Sesto with the Three Peaks. Most of these areas are very spectacular with their vertical walls
, cliffs, extreme differences in altitude, significant geomorphology, large high-altitude areas and pastureland
Until now, only the Aeolian Islands have received this distinction in Italy.
Amongst myths and legends.A princess crowned on the Plan de Corones (Kronplatz) in the South Tyrol
“Once upon a time, in the middle of a forest …” How many fairy-tales start this way?
The so-called ‘Tales of the Dolomites’, a true literary genre, originates in these valleys where for centuries there has been a long tradition of stories of goblins and witches, knights and fairies.
Every time one walks on a path, or touches a rock wall, in the Fanes-Sennes-Braies nature Park, or the nearby Puez-Odle Park, images of fairy tales are bound to be conjured up: it is said that once a year, at dawn, two mysterious female figures appear on a boat on the waters of Lake Braies, a precious pearl surrounded by mountains. They are Dolasilla, the warrior Princess, and her twin sister Lujanta, the unfortunate daughters of the greedy King of the Fanes, who are still the custodians of the myth: the first, despite the magic weapons at her disposal, died in battle while trying to defend her people from the enemy’s invasion while the other one hid the people in caves dug out by marmots, their allies. The “The Marmots’ Parliament” is a natural amphitheatre located in the meadows close to the Lago Verde (The Green Lake): this is where hundreds of rodents met and discussed things together and now it is one of the favourite destinations for those hikers who choose the Pustertal Valley.
Many of these legends are still alive today: after all, as they say around here, the fact that no-one has ever seen an elf doesn’t mean that they don’t exist!
The natural scenery of the story harmonizes with the most classic imagery of fairy-tales, as well as everything one might expect from the picturesque mountain scenery: small streams that cross the high altitude pastures covered with green flowers bent by the wind, the silence of the mountains broken only by the chirping of birds and crickets. And then, further down, we find dense forests that cover everything, small, dreamy wooden cabins, deers, squirrels and foxes crossing the paths, as well as thousands of small lakes in which the majestic snow-capped mountains are reflected. And in the valley there is no shortage of castles, more or less enchanted, which you can visit.
The old folks of the valley are always ready to tell dozens of tales and the mountain guides will unveil the most beautiful places in this part of the Alps: in the Dolomite areas, recognised and granted status as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the Pustertal Valley is the only one to include as many as three natural parks and two mountain ranges.