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Pozza di Fassa/Poza

The Dolomites World Heritage

The Dolomites were not always mountains. In the Triassic age (250 million years ago) they were islands that surfaced from the waters of a large tropical sea. Over time, they grew in size, forming an archipelago like the Caribbean. When the Atlantic Ocean developed, the entire area collapsed. Subsequently Africa, moving away from Pangea and rotating towards Europe, raised the Alps and the Dolomites. Ensuing erosion excavated valleys, revealing the ancient islands.

The stunning mountain scenery that we admire today in the Fassa valley is almost identical to that original landscape. In the unmistakable and familiar shapes of the Vajolet Towers, Rosengarten, Sassolungo or Sella, we recognise the atolls and coral reefs of millions of years ago, and the deep stretches of sea that once separated them are now Alpine passes and inhabited valleys. It is a unique feature in the world: that in which we are immersed every day is now a perfectly legible fossil landscape, a tropical archipelago transformed into an extraordinary mountain range.