The Dolomites vs. the Pale Mountains
For many years, the Pale Mountains in the South Tyrol and in the Veneto Region that today comprise the UNESCO World Heritage Site remained unexplored by outsiders. Only the few inhabitants of the valleys carved out within the mountains had some knowledge of their environs. Up until the 18th century the range didn’t even have a name. The name “Dolomites” is in fact relatively new. This is probably why the local population today still uses the names of individual peaks that they have walked or climbed up instead of using the name “Dolomites”.
Igor Tavella, a known sportsman and hotel entrepreneur in Badia, remembers:
“When we were young, we went to school in San Leonardo and a little way up we could see the majestic Sasso della Croce with the peaks Cima Nove and Cima Dieci to the left and the peaks of Lavarella and Conturines to the right. On the other side of the town is the Gardenaccia plateau and, if you look towards Corvara, you can see the Sassongher. To learn the four cardinal directions, we were taught at school to look at how the sun moved through these mountains – from dawn to dusk and according to the seasons. For example, if the sun rises behind the Conturines massif in January, as spring nears you can see the sun rise behind the Lavarella, on the peak of Val Medesc, above the “Ciaval” – that’s the Ladin name for Sasso della Croce’s main peak – until it finally rises behind Cima Nove (Peak Nine). That’s where the sun is at 9 in the morning on the day of the Summer Solstice if you look at the sun from the village of La Valle. That’s how the peak got its name. In the same vein, the sun sets behind the Gardenaccia plateau in winter and sets behind the Putia in summer.”