by Maria E. Bellini

We recently covered the Dolomites in Our Introduction to the Dolomites article. This stunning landscape of pinnacles, steep ridges, jagged rock, vertical faces, deep gorges and plenty of scree, is visited by thousands every year. Always curious regarding this Unesco World Heritage Site, we couldn’t resist bringing you some lesser known facts…

#1 Marmolada – The Highest Peak

Not all the mountains in the Dolomites are composed of dolomite rock. Funnily enough the highest peak of the Dolomites: the Marmolada 3343 mt. is actually limestone.


The Marmolada 3343 mt.
The Marmolada 3343 mt.

#2  Goran Bregovic

Legendary Balkan musician Goran Bregovic composed the official theme for the 2013 Nordic World Ski Championships, held in Val di Fiemme, Trentino.


#4  Do You Speak Ladin?

Five dialects make up the ancient Ladin language, spoken today by around 30,000 people in the following five valleys: Val Badia, Val Gardena, Val di Fassa, Livinallongo and Ampezzo.

#5 Dolomites, from North to South of Italy

Travel more than 900km southwards and you’ll reach the fascinating Dolomiti Lucane – a small dolomite rock mountain range in Italy’s southern region of Basilicata, in the Gallipoli Cognato Piccole Dolomiti Lucane Regional Park.


IMG by Caterina Policaro – Castelmezzano in the Dolomiti Lucane

#6 Witches of The Sciliar

Legend has it that witches would meet up and to perform rites on the Sciliar massif. Known as the Sciliar WitchesSchlernhexen, in German, they were primarily considered responsible for the occurrence of thunderstorms. Rock formations in the shape of a bench are said to have been the witches chairs, where they’d rest between dancing and casting spells!



#7  The Red Lake

Up until 1964, the red waters of Tovel Lake in the Brenta Dolomites would beguile visitors and locals alike. Situated in the Adamello Brenta Nature Park Lake Tovel’s waters would turn red throughout the summer months due to a particular algae, however the occurrence ceased in the mid 1960’s, but the legend surrounding the lake, which you can read about here, lives on….


#8  James Bond Film Set Tragedy

Cortina, and the Dolomites were the set location for parts of the 1981 Bond movie For Your Eyes Only starring Roger Moore. Tragically the shooting ended in disaster as one of the stuntmen had a fatal accident whilst filming the famous bobsleigh scene.


#9 Giorgio Moroder

Electronica legend, producer, Disco Mogul, and Hollywood composer, Giorgio Moroder was born in Ortisei, Val Gardena in 1940.

#10 Chewing on a bit of Dolomite

And finally, the next time you’re brushing your teeth, consider that throughout time dolomite rock has commonly been used in:

  • antiacids
  • base for toothpaste
  • calcium supplements for animals and humans
  • animal feed
  • ceramic glazes

Maria E. BelliniMaria Elisabetta Bellini is’s founder, born in the U.K, she came to running whilst living in Italy, where she still lives and trains. Never ceasing to marvel at what’s at the summit of a hill, or around the bend along the trail, she loves using trail running as a means to explore nature, contemplation and Italy.