Marmolada: 3343 metres
The Marmolada, known as the “Queen of the Dolomites”, is a mountain range in the Alps, the highest peak of which is Punta Penia (3343 m), straddling the Veneto and Trentino regions, bordered to the east by the Cordevole River and to the west by the Val di Fassa.
During the winter, the Marmolada offers visitors the chance to enjoy all sorts of winter sports, also thanks to the link with the Dolomiti Superski areas of Arabba, Civetta and Sellaronda. The main slope is “La Bellunese”, which stretches from Punta Rocca (3269 m) down to Malga Ciapela, (1446 m). Totalling 12 km, it is the longest run in the Dolomites, and can be reached using the cableway of the same name, divided up into three stretches: the first stops at Banc, the second at Serauta and the third at Punta Rocca. At the foot of the mountains is the Padon area, with runs suitable for everyone, from expert skiers to beginners, as well as areas dedicated to the whole family.
The Queen of the Dolomites is not only one of the best places in the world for alpine skiing: it also offers a number of routes for cross-country skiing aficionados, as well as telemark and snowboard runs and snowshoe trails through the woods of the Val Pettorina or freeride trails that can be tackled in the company of the Alpine Guides. It is also part of the Great War Ski Tour, which runs along the foot of famous peaks and mountain ranges such as the Civetta, Pelmo, Tofane, Lagazuoi, Conturines, Settsass, Sassongher, Sella and Marmolada.
Also interesting is the trail named “La volpe ti guarda”, offering the chance to discover the local traditions and find out about the traditional trades of Malga Ciapela.
We must also remember that the Marmolada is a paradise for mountaineering: the scene of some of the very first ascents, it is traditionally a popular destination with climbers from all over the world, who come here to tackle its internationally famous south wall, also known as the “silver wall”, where over 100 mountaineering routes have been opened up. The whole area is crossed by the Alta Via no. 2 delle Dolomiti high mountain trail, and offers plenty of other opportunities for hikes and walks, as well as vie ferrate equipped routes at altitude and a number of itineraries of historical and cultural interest, such as the caves and communication trenches carved out at Serauta by Italian soldiers during the First World War.
The Marmolada is also the ideal destination for cyclists, who can make their way along the most beautiful stages of the Giro d’Italia, tackling the formidable Fedaia Pass; also on offer are a number of routes for mountain bike and downhill fans.
The Marmolada is considered the highest range in the Dolomites, although it is not actually composed of dolomite rock, but of grey limestone originating from coral cliffs, known as Marmolada limestone, and volcanic material.
The name Marmolada may be derived from the Latin “marmor”, meaning marble, or from an Indo-European route that became “marmar” in Greek, meaning “shine”. The meaning of the name refers to the glacier whose origins have given rise to a legend that tells of an old lady who gathered hay on August 5th, the feast of the Madonna delle Nevi (Our Lady of the Snow), despite the opposition of her fellow villagers. The following night it snowed so hard that the glacier formed, burying beneath it the old lady together with her hay in the shed.