The site of the Dolomites comprises a mountain range in the northern Italian Alps, numbering 18 peaks which rise to above 3,000 metres and cover 141,903 ha. It features some of the most beautiful mountain landscapes anywhere, with vertical walls, sheer cliffs and a high density of narrow, deep and long valleys. A serial property of nine areas that present a diversity of spectacular landscapes of international significance for geomorphology marked by steeples, pinnacles and rock walls. The property also features one of the best examples of the preservation of Mesozoic carbonate platform systems, with fossil records.
The nine components of The Dolomites World Heritage Property protect a series of highly distinctive mountain landscapes that are of exceptional natural beauty. Their dramatic vertical and pale coloured peaks in a variety of distinctive sculptural forms is extraordinary in a global context. This property also contains an internationally important combination of earth science values. The quantity and concentration of highly varied limestone formations are extraordinary in a global context, whilst the superbly exposed geology provides an insight into the recovery of marine life in the Triassic period, after the greatest extinction event recorded in the history of life on Earth. The sublime, monumental and colourful landscapes of the Dolomites have also long attracted hosts of travellers and a history of scientific and artistic interpretations of its values.
The distinctive scenery of the Dolomites has become the archetype of a “dolomitic landscape”. Geologist pioneers were the first to be captured by the beauty of the mountains, and their writing and subsequent painting and photography further underline the aesthetic appeal of the property. The geological values are also of international significance, notably the evidence of Mesozoic carbonate platforms, or “fossilized atolls”, particularly in terms of the evidence they provide of the evolution of the bio-constructors after the Permian/Triassic boundary, and the preservation of the relationships between the reefs they constructed and their surrounding basins.
A unique protected area, and a unique landscape that will enthral you. The unique rock formations of the Dolomites, magical alpine landscapes and the diverse valleys of this region, have captivated people throughout the ages. In 2009, UNESCO also recognised the region’s uniqueness, its geological significance and, last but not least, its beauty. Only regions with a special value for humanity are listed, and they deserve to be protected to preserve this inestimable value. The Dolomites, with their well-known peaks such as the Three Peaks, Rosengarten and Schlern, have therefore achieved the highest award in the world for a natural site.
Source(s): UNESCO, Dolomites & Valgardena