Lifestyle & Travel

Sep 1, 2016

BE INSPIRED BY THE MAGIC OF THE DOLOMITES

Considered to be one of the most astounding mountainous regions in the Planet, the Dolomites, in Italy, are a place of fascinating beauty, not very explored as a tourist destination, at least by the Portuguese. Your VIP Partner gives you the possible trails, the charms, and the nooks of this "natural paradise".

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It was in 1971 that the French geologist Deodat de Dolomieu discovered this geological structure of the Eastern Alps, in Northern Italy, today listed as UNESCO world heritage site, and that extends throughout the provinces of Belluno, Bolzano, Trento, Údine, and Podenone, near the border with Austria.

Marmolada is the highest mountain, with an altitude of 3342m (10964.57 ft.). During the Winter, it is very appreciated by the ski fans, who find here around 500km of ski tracks of various levels, connected by cable cars. In the Summer, the most common activities are rock climbing in ferratas, exploring galleries in the mountains, used during WWI, and steep Nature hikes. Besides all this, you have the opportunity to see several little inhabitants of the animal world, such as foxes, squirrels, marmots, the golden eagle, among others, that have adapted incredibly to the extreme cold and hot weather conditions.

If vacationing in the mountains is a pleasure for the body and soul, the lakes make them even more refreshing and fascinating. Cortina d'Ampezzo, a picturesque mountain city in the province of Belluno, with wooden constructions and Tyrolean influences, is an excellent starting point. Thanks to the immense refuges located at the top of the mountains and at the roads that split the valleys, it is possible to experience relaxing moments, and savour the richness of the Italian-Austrian cuisine.

Via ferrata of the Averau Mountain

Between the Falzarego Pass (2105m) and the Giau Pass (2236m), lies a very popular mountain range, known as the Nuvolau Group. It consists of a small group of the typical dolomite mountains, and thanks to its accessibility, it presents us with a unique panorama. Starting the hike from the Averau Refuge, it is possible to walk up to the Torrione Averau (at 2.649m). From the top, in Cinque Torri (at 2361m high), five independent mountains can be spotted, and these are very popular for climbing activities.

Beginning at the Nuvolau refuge, and hiking amidst the natural beauty of the Falzarego Pass (also known as "the pass of the grove"), through a strategic lookout point, one can marvel on the diversity of the flora that grows through the trails. To walk around the small city of Alleghe, by the lake, and admire the predominant dolomite architecture, at the North-west side of the Mountain Civetta, is another must see. There is a legend that says that "the church of Alleghe was partially destroyed, and the bell collapsed because of the wave that hit the place. The bells were submerged, and disappeared into the depths of the lake, but in the days when the waters are clear, it is possible to see the tip of a submerged bell".

Lago Di Fedaia

The Lago Di Fedaia is situated west of the Fedaia Pass, in the province of Trento. However, historians mention the existence of two "Fedaia Lakes", separated by a thin strip of land. The most well-know and spoken of is at the oriental side, having appeared after the construction of a dam, in 1955. The other, smaller in size, was apparently formed due to the Moraine Dam. Both extend down to the end of the Ciampié Valley, in the strait between Marmolada, in the south, and Bech da Mesdi, in the north. It is important to mention that Marmolada is historically referred to as a fundamental strategic point during the First World War. This is where a commander of the Austro-Hungarian Empire made use of his experience in engineering to solve the problem of provisioning the soldiers that were in advanced positions in this territory.

The artificial lake Di Fedaia extends for around 2 km east to west, until it reaches a dam with 63.9m in height. The trail begins at the Passo-Fedaia refuge, and ends at Pian dei Facconi, at 2,226m high. This is one of the most difficult trails, because of the climate conditions, as half of the way is hiked with knee-high snow.

Beauty and History

At the oriental dolomites, in front of the Falzarego pass and the massif of Tofane, which separates the valley of Cortina d'Ampezzo, sits the Mount Lagazuoi.

It is difficult to reach the top of the Mount Lagazuoi, but it is worth it, even if it's just to see the spectacle of natural beauty. As an alternative, you can take the cable car in Falzarego Pass, an in few minutes you travel 2,800m up, until the panoramic terrace of Lagazuoi, famous all over the world for the incredible landscape it displays. The descent through the Lagazuoi ferrata is not less exciting. The galleries transport us to the life at the mountains during World War I. Here, the Italian and Austrian troupes fought for the control of the Lagazuoi dome. Under the Austrian domain, the dome was disputed by the Italian soldiers that built (over the course of several months) labyrinthine tunnels, through the insides of the mountain, to defeat the Austrians. Through the trail, one finds storage rooms, headquarters, passages, and other artefacts, well preserved and still visible. The scenery is sort of a museum, fascinating not only for the landscape, but also for its historical aspect.

The most famous of trails

The most famous and frequented walk of the dolomites, and also an encounter with one of the most dramatic and monumental dolomite sceneries, begins in Auronzo, by the Lake Misurina. Famous for its microclimate, in this lake you find the ideal properties to ameliorate breathing problems. In a second stage, you can walk through the surroundings of Tre Cime di Lavaredo, whose grandiosity can only be compared to that of the White Mountain, the highest one of the Alps.

Underground wealth

To conclude the journey, let yourself be surprised by the Lake di Braies, the biggest one of the Dolomites. At 1,496 above sea level, and a diameter of 1.2km, with crystal-green waters, it is a place of rare beauty and harmony, perfect for meditating.

According to a legend "there are submerged treasures, that belonged to the native peoples that inhabited the Braies Mountains who, in an attempt to save the treasures during World War I, excavated underground fountains that submerged the entire place where Braies currently sits".

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