The Dolomites have been listed a UNESCO heritage site since 2009 but their fame dates back to many many years ago: their incredible pink glow at dawn and sunset, their ski slopes and the jet set locations such as Cortina d'Ampezzo have made the Dolomites one of the places to be during winter season.
Why are the Dolomites pink?
This phenomenon commonly known as "Alpen glow" has a scientific name and explanation.
The correct name of this phenomenon is "enrosadira" (rosa is the Italian word for "pink").
The Dolomites are made of calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate rocks.
Both these components assume that typical glow ranging from yellow to pink and mauve when the sun rises or falls and the sun rays reflect on the surface.
The "enrosadira" effect is the scientific reason behind the Alpen glow but locals have different opinions and they whisper of princess, dwarves, knights and the Moon.
The Dolomites are pink and the roses are...
Once upon a time the king of the dwarves fell in love with the beautiful princess Similde.
The king Laurin left his kingdom in the Dolomites, kidnapped the young beauty and sought refuge in his rose garden back in the Dolomites.
Wearing his invisible belt, king Laurin could move through the rose bushes and the knights who were trying to arrest him could not at first locate him.
A smart knight stopped Laurin's love dream: the knight realized the movements of the rose branches showed the movements of the king of the dwarves.
In a moment, the knights ambushed the little Laurin and broke his dream of living with Similde.
Laurin cast a curse on its roses: "No one will ever see you, roses! The light of the day won't caress you and the moon light won't reflect on your petals".
But Laurin forgot to say what would happen to the roses at dawn and at sunset and its lack of memory or attention is at the the origin of the Alpen glow.
The Alpen glow is the only moment when the roses can show their colors at sunset and at dawn.
The Dolomites are the Pale Mountains
Just a few know the Dolomites are also called the "Pale Mountains" and it's once again a local legend to reveal the reason why of this name.
The prince of the Dolomites fell in love with the princess of the Moon and they wed.
But the princess suffered because of the shadowy woods she had to live in the Dolomites: though the woods were green and fresh, the Moon light could scarcely be seen and moreover his spouse seemed to avoid the Moon light.
The princess started to feel miserable and sad.
The prince was as sad and as unhappy as his spouse.
What could they do? Were they to abandon every dream of living together happily?
While walking in the woods, the prince met the king of the elves who was looking for a new land for his people.
As soon as the prince told the little elf his sad story, the elf smiled and asked the prince: "Are you willing to host my people in the Dolomites if we find a solution to your problem?"
In less than 24 h, the elves covered the Dolomites in a silver web reflecting the delicate moon light.
The Dolomites seem to glow in a silver light ever since.
Now you know what makes the Dolomites and its slopes so fascinating.