The Dolomites (Ladin:Dolomites; Italian: Dolomiti; German: Dolomiten; Venetian: Dołomiti: Friulian: Dolomitis) are a mountain range located in north-eastern Italy.
It is a part of Southern Limestone Alps and extends from the River Adige in the west to the Piave Valley (Pieve di Cadore) in the east. The northern and southern borders are defined by the Puster Valley and the Sugana Valley (Val Sugana). The Dolomites are nearly equally shared between the provinces of Belluno, Bolzano-Bozen and Trento. There are also mountain groups of similar geological structure that spread over the River Piave to the east - Dolomiti d'Oltrepiave; and far away over the Adige River to the west - Dolomiti di Brenta (Western Dolomites). There is also another smaller group called Piccole Dolomiti (Little Dolomites) located between the provinces of Trento, Verona and Vicenza (see the map). One national park and many other regional parks are located in the Dolomites.
In August 2009, the Dolomites were declared a natural heritage site by UNESCO.
A tourist mecca, the Dolomites are famous for skiing in the winter months and mountain climbing, hiking, climbing and Base Jumping, as well as paragliding and hang gliding in summer and late spring/early autumn. Free climbing has been a tradition in the Dolomites since 1887, when 17-year-old Georg Winkler soloed the first ascent of the pinnacle Die Vajolettürme.
The main centres include: Rocca Pietore alongside the Marmolada Glacier, which lies on the border of the Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol and Veneto regions, the small towns of Alleghe, Falcade, Auronzo, Cortina d'Ampezzo and the villages of Arabba, Urtijëi and San Martino di Castrozza, as well as the whole of the Fassa, Gardena and Badia valleys.
In the first week in July, the Maratona dles Dolomites, an annual single-day road bicycle racing race covering seven mountain passes of the Dolomites, is staged.
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