The Colorful Hues of the Dolomites and the Popular Dolomite Dishes

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The rock gives the Dolomites their unique character. But why is it so different from other types of rock and mountainous area found in the Alps? The answer lies in its color. It is white and let’s not just dwell n its white color, it also changes colors. Now didn’t that get your attention? The changing hues of the various stages of daylight affect the way the Dolomites are viewed. In a way, it is almost chameleon like.

Dawn brings with the power of the rising sun and Dolomites can be painted a vivid orange when the sunlight hits the mountain range. But come the dusk, you’ll see the mountains tinged purple and finally pink as it bids farewell to the setting sun. The Dolomites prove to be equally colorful in other weather too. Stormy skies can see the Dolomites illuminated in shafts of sunlight as if blessed by a divine power and the moonlight can render them pale gold as if the mountains are illuminated gently from within.

This surreal color palette displayed at the mountains has a unique name given by the people of Ladinia which is the heartland of the region. The word is in the Ladin language, still spoken by the people there and it is ‘enrosadira’ which has no Italian nor German equivalent and simply means ‘becoming pink’.

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Dishes

Food is a staple no matter where you go and each area will have its own specialty or twist to a popular Italian meal. Remember you are in Italy, in the land of passionate people who are passionate about the food they make and being nearly on the Austrian borders gives rise to new dishes which are very popular in this region. You are in Italy, and the food here is like an extension of the beautiful landscape, rich in taste and flavors.

With that being said, an integral part of any tour should be sampling the local dishes and cuisine. This is one way of really getting to know a region and appreciating all aspects of its identity. The ‘casunzei’ is a big favorite in the Dolomites region and it is a pasta dish that is reminiscent of ravioli. It is small folded pasta with a choice of either white filing that is made of potatoes and herbs or a red beetroot as the filling with melted butter and sprinkled poppy seeds on the top. This sounds mouthwatering as it is when you read about it, but when you are travelling in the high reaches of the Dolomites, this hot dish will feel like a slice of heaven.

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Another staple which has different variants depending where you have this dish in the Dolomites are the ‘canederli’ in Trentino which is also known as ‘Knödel’ in South Tyrol which is basically dumplings. These dumplings of bread are big and round in size and have a lot of Speck in them which is a local dried ham which is smoked, with a few herbs accompanied with a broth.

If you are hiking in the mountains, you may find this food in a mountain hut which will feel like the perfect reward for your strenuous activity and help fuel your hunger. It is a hearty meal that is found in eastern Cadore and in the Dolomiti Friulane and it is the ‘frico’. Feast on a rich omelet with ham or mushrooms and cheese whipped up with polenta and you’ll find you have renewed vigor to tackle the next trail.

There are many local delicacies that are too numerous to mention, but the cheeses and the dry cured meats are a specialty of the whole region even though there are variants, so you can buy some samples along the way to chomp as you journey through the Dolomites.

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The Dolomites: Fun in Summer and Winter

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The Dolomites can be imposing winter Gods in the cold season but the now can invitingly beckon with her sirens call, attracting the skiers and snowboarders – people who love winter sports – and they respond to the call with a vengeance. You may think that you, as a tourist can only visit the Dolomites within a small time window of a month or two, but if you are willing to move off the beaten path, you may find that there are many things to do and see no matter which time of the year you decide to plan your holiday.

 

Let’s start with summer. The locals know this place inside out. The highest peaks, the best trails offering the most scenic views if you are open to the idea of not sticking with the conventional tour groups that cater to people who are strapped for time and no creativity in making their own itineraries. Summer is a great time to visit because there will be life anew in the Dolomites and everything will be bursting with color. Summer brings pure magic with it and Mother Nature rules like the queen that she is.

These mountains are not only one of the most spectacular sights in the world; they are also a UNESCO Heritage site! This means perfect outdoor moments sprinkled with starry lights in the night sky. With no light pollution or very minimal, the Dolomites will transport you to a magical place both at day and night. Get your hiking boots on and try out some of the following activities. Hiking is a popular activity with majority of the visitors trying out some trails, whether easy or hard, to experience the Dolomite pathways.

 

You can get those muscles working with mountain biking that will take you to breathtaking scenic vistas as well as trail running, road bicycling, rock climbing and tackling the famous via ferrata. Throw in a few authentic charming towns into the mix and you’ve got one heady summer vacation that will feel like you’ve left the city life far behind you. Stay in some luxurious mountain inns to get the whole mountain experience and partake in the mountain cuisine to have the perfect summer holiday.

Now winter is a whole new ballgame. Many of the mountain inns may be closed for the season as it can get quite snowed up. However, this is when the ski resorts come to life. It was host to the winter Olympics of 1956 which should tell you just how enticing the slopes are over here. Winter enthusiasts can find their slice of snowy heaven and the incredible peaks coupled with long valleys make good terrain for a number of winter sports.

The beauty of the Dolomites in winter is radically different from the summer splendor. The white snows blanket the landscape as far as the eyes can see and this makes it one of the most popular areas for winter sports enthusiasts in the world. There are miles of backcountry trails to allow you to see sights that are not marred with tourist traffic and also 800 miles of groomed cross country tracks – so you know that there is always a route made for you.

From the towering peaks of the Val di Fassa to the Alta Badia valley in the Sella mountain group to the charming Italian ambience of the Cortina d’Ampezzo, there is something for everyone n matter if you are a beginner or an expert. Where else would you want to get down and sporty with the snow than at the Dolomites where the winter wonderland is as enchanting as the history it holds.

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Things You Must Absolutely Do When In Italy’s Dolomites

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The Dolomites will give you a breath of fresh air and if you want to take a holiday off the beaten track, you may want to read this list of things to do or not to do when in the Dolomites. Perhaps you’re on a time constraint and you want to pack in as much as you can in your limited holiday schedule or you want to know the best places and also the best unknown places to see within the Dolomites. Being a true tourist is great, you get to see the world famous sites and attractions, but there are great attractions within these spectacular mountains which should be seen (along with the rest of the tourists) and also some locations that are not as well known.

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  • Alpine Highways

How can you visit the Dolomites and not walk around the region in the 8 long distance trails? The highest sections of the Alpine Highways are known as ‘Alte Vie’ in Italian which are loosely translated as Alpine Highways. Although majority of these trails are easily accessible by hikers and travelers, there are certain areas that may require special equipment, especially in the vie ferrate which means iron ways. This is because you may be required to strap yourself to iron ropes to the mountain walls for safety. It goes without saying that you will need to have a background and history in climbing and mountaineering before you venture into these paths.

Interested and experienced hikers can try the Tofane itinerary which offers a splendid vista of multicolored rocks. Even though this is not technically a vie ferrata as there is rope suspended to help hikers across, it is not for novices or people faint of heart. Even the ‘Astaldi Geological Trail’ warrants extreme caution. An easier option for new hikers is the circuit around the Tre Cime di Lavaredo/ Drei Zinnen. It just needs a bit of effort and training to do it but should not be attempted on a visitor’s first day there. The long walk from Calalzo to the Pile Waterfall is an absolutely easy option that gives a spectacular view of the impressive Dolomite rock formations.

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  • Go Visit Towns

There are many towns that are located within the Dolomite Range and you can be spoilt for choice depending upon your preferences. You could visit the winter resorts like Arabba, Cortina, Corvara, Ortisei or Canazei. However those are the types of resorts you may see elsewhere in the world even though they offer spectacular views and all the amenities and attractions a ski resort would hold. If you are on the lookout for something more authentic, you may want to visit some of the many little villages that are scattered high up in the altitudes where you will be witness to inventive and unique forms of transportation as well be far from the tourist madding crowd. If you are looking for the altitude experience without having the tourist rush around you, towns like Colle Santa Lucia, Coomelico, Livinallongo, Selva di Cadore and Zoppé di Cadore should be on your visit list.

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  • Sightseeing

Although the above options are part of the sightseeing agenda, there are beautiful sights that cannot be missed in the Dolomites. Visit the Lakes of Braies and Misurina, preferably out of season if you want to miss out on the mad tourist rush. August being a main holiday season, every place is more or less packed in this month and even though Tre Cime di Lavaredo/ Drei Zinnen is a must-see, be prepared for the crowds. The ‘Conca di Cortina’ is another great view that can be best viewed out of season to eliminate the tourists.

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