The area recognized by UNESCO covers 142.000 hectares of land, among which there are also the two natural parks of Val Badia, the Fanes-Senes-Braies and the Puez-Odle.
The name 'Dolomites' dates back to 1789, when a French scientist named Déodat Dolomieu, visiting the Tyrol, noted a particular rock. After some accurate researches this rock resulted to be a mineral unique in the world: the Dolomite. Since then, the Dolomites have become the destination of many researchers, alpinists and tourists.
The mountain scenery is characterized by attributes unique in the world, just like the articulated topography, the variety of vertical forms which seem to defy the gravity force, the contrast with the soft features of the bottom of the valley, the dizzying vertical development of the peaks, and the presence of prisms, cones and parallelepipeds; observing them, we could think about structures created by a human mind. In this regard, the famous architect Le Corbusier defined the Dolomites “the most beautiful natural architecture of the world”.
A lot of peaks over 3000 m, the presence of eternal glaciers and snowfields, the flow of limpid water that passed through the valleys surrounded by vertical walls; water that now settles into magic alpine lakes. The charm of the Dolomites is due to numerous aspects, even if it's surely the variety of colors that makes them really wonderful. The natural phenomenon of the Enrosadira allows to the dolomite rocks to turn into colors which at dawn and at sunset vary from orange, to red and purple, and that at midday become a light yellow. The moonlight gives to the Dolomites a pale and white color, that creates a unique contrast: this is best described by the appellative “Monti Pallidi” (“Pale Mountains”).
Beyond the extraordinary morphologic formations, which are there thanks to an exceptional geological history, the Dolomites offer a big variety of natural habitats, that permit the preservation of biodiversity. The flora represents an extremely rich world, with plants present only in the Dolomites; also the fauna has big varieties of species.
Visiting the Dolomites you enter in a landscape of inestimable value, which is able to transmit the most intense emotions. A natural oasis that for centuries inspired ladin culture, which has been able to preserve a strong identity till the present day thanks to the Monti Pallidi.
The secrets of the world's most beautiful natural heritage
A very important date for the Dolomites (and not only) is surely 26th june 2009 when, with an unanimous agreement of the 21 member nations of the UNESCO commission, nine regions of the Dolomites have been designated Natural World Heritage. Among the motivations of this important appointment we can read: “for their sublime beauty and uniqueness in its landscapes and for their geological and geomorphological features which are unequalled in the world”.