King Laurin’s Rose Garden

This is why the Dolomites turn pink at dawn and dusk

Have you ever heard about enrosadira (aplenglow)? It’s a kind of magic that is repeated every day, at sunrise and sunset, when the sun rays caress the Dolomite peaks and tinge them in various shades of red. It’s a unique phenomenon, which has inspired many lovely stories over the years.

The most famous is that of King Laurin and his magnificent roses. We’ll tell you the story now!

Many, many years ago, on the Catinaccio mountain chain lived King Laurin, the cunning king of dwarves, who spent his time digging deep down into the earth to find precious stones. Among his various treasures, the king owned a magic belt, which allowed him to become invisible.

One day, the King of Adige held a great feast and invited all the aristocrats in the area, except King Laurin. Nevertheless, the king of dwarves went to the feast anyway, wearing his belt so that he wouldn’t be seen by anybody. Similde, the king’s beautiful daughter, was also at the feast. Laurin fell in love with her at first sight and, exploiting the fact that he was invisible, he kidnapped her and took her to his kingdom on the Catinaccio mountain range.

Legends of the Dolomites: King Laurin and enrosadira

"With a spell Laurin covered the mountain with a beautiful mantle of red roses"

He was so in love with the young girl that, by casting a spell, he covered the mountain with a very beautiful layer of red roses (not by coincidence, in German, the Catinaccio is called “Rosengarten” [Rose Garden]). King Adige, however, did not sit on his hands and, together with his army, he marched towards King Laurin’s kingdom to free his daughter.

The king of dwarves was convinced that no-one would track him down because, thanks to his belt, he could become invisible, but he hadn’t considered one thing: every time he moved on that garden of roses, he trampled some of them. Therefore, the soldiers just had to follow the path of the trampled roses to reach and catch him and tear the magic belt off him

Legends of the Dolomites: King Laurin and enrosadira

"King Laurin, however, had not taken into account the time of sunset, which is neither day nor night"

The poor king of dwarves had no option, but to surrender and give beautiful Similde back to her father. Before doing so though he put a terrible curse on the rose garden that had betrayed him. He said, “No human eye will be able to admire you, neither during the day nor at night.” Therefore, where there were once beautiful roses, only bare rocks remained.

King Laurin though had not considered sunset, which was neither day nor night. That is why, still today, when the sun sinks behind the mountains, we can still admire the garden of red roses that tinges the Dolomite peaks.

Published on 06/06/2023