The Dolomites - Italian Alps

The UNESCO site of the Dolomites comprises a mountain range in the northern Italian Alps, numbering 18 peaks which rise to above 3,000 metres and cover 141,903 ha.

It features some of the most beautiful mountain landscapes anywhere, with vertical walls, sheer cliffs and a high density of narrow, deep and long valleys.

A serial property of nine areas that present a diversity of spectacular landscapes of international significance for geomorphology marked by steeples, pinnacles and rock walls, the site also contains glacial landforms and karst systems.

The Dolomites are widely regarded as being among the most attractive mountain landscapes in the world. Their intrinsic beauty derives from a variety of spectacular vertical forms such as pinnacles, spires and towers, with contrasting horizontal surfaces including ledges, crags and plateaux, all of which rise abruptly above extensive talus deposits and more gentle foothills

The reason behind the changing colors is due to the calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate of the dolomite, the mineral found in large quantities in the rocky walls of the Dolomites. At sunrise and sunset, the rocky cliffs take on hues that vary from light yellow to bright red, to different shades of pink and violet, until the mountains disappear in the dark of night.

The nine components of The Dolomites World Heritage property protect a series of highly distinctive mountain landscapes that are of exceptional natural beauty. Their dramatic vertical and pale coloured peaks in a variety of distinctive sculptural forms is extraordinary in a global context

A great diversity of colours is provided by the contrasts between the bare pale-coloured rock surfaces and the forests and meadows below. The mountains rise as peaks with intervening ravines, in some places standing isolated but in others forming sweeping panoramas. Some of the rock cliffs here rise more than 1,500 m and are among the highest limestone walls found anywhere in the world.

The sublime, monumental and colourful landscapes of the Dolomites have also long attracted hosts of travellers and a history of scientific and artistic interpretations of its values.

Photography  © Dominic Verhulst 2019