At dawn and dusk, the mountains seem to pulsate with colour

The Dolomites are always beautiful. But never more so than during the Enrosadira

According to geologists we can thank the calcium and magnesium carbonate in the rocks for the gorgeous, technicolor transformation of the Dolomites at sunrise and sunset. But legend tells a different story: of the dwarf king Laurino, his daughter the beautiful princess Ladina, and their gorgeous garden of roses. 

Madonna di Campiglio - Dolomiti di Brenta - Enrosadira
Val di Fassa - Gruppo del Sella - Dolomites - Enrosadira
Pale San Martino di Castrozza - Enrosadira

The story goes that, long ago, a nation of dwarves lived in the mountains above the Val di Fassa - ruled over by the good king Laurino. Laurino and his daughter Ladina, tended a huge field of roses at Catinaccio (which in German is called the Rosengarten), and one day it attracted the attention of Prince Latemar, from the mountain of the same name. As he approached the garden, he saw Ladina tending her beloved plants, and was so struck by her beauty, he kidnapped her.

Laurino was thunderstruck. Heartbroken, hysterical with grief, and close to death, he cursed the flowers that had brought Latemar to his kingdom and – before he expired – vowed that his roses would never flourish again, either day or night. In his despair, however, he forgot about dawn and dusk. Ever since, that’s when the roses show their colour.

As legends go, it’s pretty florid. But once you’ve seen the Dolomites change, in the light of the setting sun, from pale yellow to bright red, and on to a delicate and wistful violet, you might find yourself wishing for cause more poignant than the one offered by the geologists.

Published on 06/06/2023