|Gruppo del Sassolungo da Passo Sella (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
By Tony Maniscalco
Introducing the Dolomites
The Dolomites, an area rightly popular for walking holidays in Italy's north-east province of Belluno, is named after a French scientist called Dolomieu. It was Dolomieu who first studied the local limestone rock that forms the distinctive scenery you'll find in this region of Italy. Hiking between these limestone giants you'll find Eden-like, green valleys, lined with rolling meadows and wild, alpine flowers. But it will be the dramatic triangular peaks that make you appreciate the awesome power of the glaciers that shaped these mountains.
Top of the World
Marmolada, the highest of the Dolomite Mountains, makes for a dramatic view from the trails that pass nearby. It is so high that it has a glacier inset in its northern face. Indeed, all of the twenty major peaks in the Dolomite range reach higher than 3000 metres, making them all more than twice the size of the UK's Ben Nevis or Scafell Pike. These mountains play host to base jumpers and to skiing in the winter. In the first week in July, there's a single-day bicycle road-race the called the "Maratona dles Dolomites," which covers seven mountain passes of the Dolomites. But it's the rewarding walking in Italy that makes the Dolomites so well-known.
A Little Help
Because of their altitude, even in the middle of summer a flurry of snow is not unusual on higher trails. But this should not stop the average walker. Some of the loose scree slopes can be hazardous, but luckily the dolomite limestone provides many natural paths and passes suitable for walking. Italy has generously provided facilities such as the mountain huts to make hikers more comfortable, too. The huts, which are called "Rifugi" are usually basic, but make up for it with the view they make possible when you rise in the morning. Often they are situated on a trail between 2000 and 2800 metres and allow longer walking holidays in Italy to spread over several days, joining several routes and trails together.
Further assistance to the enthusiastic hiker comes in the form of the Via Ferrata. These veritable stairways to heaven allow access for people on walking holidays in Italy to routes that would otherwise be unreachable without climbing skills. They are named after the Italian for "iron road" because they are metal additions fixed to a mountain, such as ladders, cables and bridges. Although they are designed for everyone to use, some of the climbs are not for the faint-hearted, so check the details of your planned walk in Italy to see what you have in store.
Whichever route and difficulty of hike you choose, I'm sure that when you walk Italy's Dolomite Mountains, you'll find it a magical and memorable experience.
Tony Maniscalco is the Sales and Marketing Manager for Ramblers Worldwide Holidays, a long-established and highly respected company. They have expertise in more than 70 different countries, offering over 250 holidays, including many related to [http://www.ramblersholidays.co.uk/Holiday_Search.aspx?Search=2&utm_campaign=MAP_Italy&utm_source=ramblers&utm_medium=web]walking in Italy, making them a superb choice for the discerning traveller.
Article Source:  Walking in Italy's Dolomite Region