The Dolomites are a section of the Alps located in north-eastern Italy. Marmolada is the highest mountain in the Dolomites (3344 metres). During the First World War the line between the Italian and Austro-Hungarian forces ran through the Dolomites. There are open air war museums at Cinque Torri (Five Towers) and Mount Lagazuoi. Many people visit the Dolomites to climb the Vie ferrate (which means iron roads). These protected paths were first built in the Dolomites during the First World War to aid the movement of troops through the mountains. Although there are many
A Via Ferrata is a steel cable which runs along the route at regular intervals (approx every 3–10 m) fixed to the rock. With the use of a via ferrata kit, the climber can secure themselves to the cable and this limits the risk of falling. As well as the cable you can also find iron rungs, pegs, carved steps and even ladders and bridges on these mountains. There is a grading system for the via ferrata on level of difficulty and the hardest passage. Various grading systems exist for via ferrata. Most focus on the level of difficulty or the hardest passage. Even though there are routes that even the less experienced climber can manage, always ensure you have the correct climbing gear, check weather reports and be realistic in what you think your body is capable of. Remember that a lot of upper body work is required.
A number of long distance footpaths run across the Dolomites, which are called “Alte vie” (high paths). Such long trails, which are numbered from 1 to 8, require at least a week to be walked through and are served by numerous “Rifugi” (mountain huts, some of which you can get a bite to eat).
The Dolomites are also famous for skiing , mountain climbing, base jumping, as well as paragliding and hand-gliding . Free climbing is also popular in the Dolomites; the main centres include: Rocca Pietore alongside the Marmolada glacier.
Driving from Como to Bolzano in the Dolomites takes approximately 3 hours (depending on traffic). You can also travel by train although this means a couple of changes during the journey which can then get you to Bolzano in around 4.5 hours (www.trenord.it)