Mountain Tranquility - Borca di Cadore, Dolomites, Italy

I have long had the Dolomites on my bucket list and finally was able to check them off the list last month. Over the years, I had often heard that the Dolomites were also known as the Italian Alps and that is technically true. Ask the locals whether they are one and the same, you might get a different answer. So a little research was in order to determine the difference in terms.

The Alps are the most extensive mountain ranges in all of Europe, encompassing eight different countries including Italy. The Alps are so massive and cover such a large area that trying to classify them into sections have gotten no further that the broad names of Eastern Alps and the Western Alps with the center being in Switzerland. Northern Italy is where the Alps are and the Italians have used a similar naming scheme that divides the “Italian Alps” into the Northeastern and Northwestern sections. The Northeastern section of the “Italian Alps” are known as the Dolomites. The Northwestern section is simply known as the Alps.

We spent all of our trip in the Dolomites. No matter what the name, the Dolomites are simply gorgeous. There are towering mountains with many small villages that can be found mostly in the valleys but, in some cases, well up on the mountains. On our way to our first hotel, we passed the small town of Borca di Cadore (population 809). As soon as we saw it, we had to stop and I took this photo. The town is dwarfed by Monte Antelao, which is the highest mountain in the Dolomites (aka King of the Dolomites), measuring a little over 10,000 feet. To illustrate how massive the overall Alps are, Antelao only ranks as the 282nd highest mountain of the 537 peaks over 3,000 meters (9,843 feet) in the Alps.