Dolomites are a living legacy

They offer us magnificent landscapes and unforgettable emotions

Rising a mighty 3220 metres above sea level, Monte Civetta stands in the heart of the Dolomites, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Rising a mighty 3220 metres above sea level, Monte Civetta stands in the heart of the Dolomites, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Dolomites, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009, cover an area of 142 thousand hectares of unparalleled beauty. The morphological and geological importance of these mountains dates back to when the Dolomites were merely a vast, immense plain lying under the waters of a prehistoric ocean. When the African and continental European tectonic plates collided, the ground was pushed up, creating these magnificent, awe-inspiring mountains.

The Dolomites are named after the French geologist Déodat de Dolomieu who was the first to discover their special geological features. These rocks are mainly made up of Dolomia, a sedimentary carbonate rock that is abundant in this part of the world.

The impressive northwest face of Monte Civetta towers over Alleghe and the Cordevole Valley from a height of 3,220 metres. Climbers refer to it as the “wall of walls”, the only one of its kind in the world with a vertical drop of over 1,000 metres and a length of 4 km. There are endless routes up it which have gone down in mountaineering history. Monte Civetta, Zuita as the people of Alleghe call it, is a highly coveted challenge among via ferrata and trekking enthusiasts all over the world.

The path at the foot of the magnificent massif is part of the Alta Via 1 walking trail, as well as being an important stretch of the Munich-Venice walk.

On the slopes of Monte Civetta, nestling between boulders and jagged rocks, is a small lake, Lake Coldai, which was formed in times gone by.

Legend has it that this lake was home to a dragon with large wings, a long black tongue and fiery red flashing eyes. It rarely ventured out of its lair at the foot of Monte Civetta and when it did, it flew all the way to Lake Fedaia. Seeing the dragon fly was a sign of bad luck for the people of the valley, however, as they believed it announced an imminent calamity or sad times.

People say the dragon was seen flying just before the Monte Piz landslide which created Lake Alleghe. Many years have passed since then and the dragon has not been spotted since … the inhabitants can rest easy!

Lake Coldai is a lovely glacial lake lying between the slopes of Monte Coldai and the awe-inspiring northwest face of Monte Civetta. Its crystal clear waters are easy to reach with a walk which is suitable for the whole family: just take the ski lifts from Alleghe and in little over an hour you get to the famous refuge Sonnino al Coldai lying at 2132 m and, from there, the lake. Once you have gone over the small pass above the refuge, you will be afforded a stunning view of Lake Coldai and the town of Alleghe down in the valley. A quick bite to eat on the shores of the lake is a must for visitors to Alleghe, then you can enjoy the magnificent views over the Marmolada and the northwest face of Monte Civetta, set off for the Tissi and Vazzoler refuges or even try one of the difficult climbs up Monte Civetta, “reign of the sixth grade”.

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