Criteria under which the property is nominated

Criterion vii (contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance)

The Dolomites are generally recognised to be amongst the most attractive mountain landscapes in the world. Their topography presents a remarkable concentration of spectacular mountain systems, each with its own characteristics. Similarly the quantity of extremely varied limestone formations (peaks, towers, pinnacles and vertical walls amongst the highest in the world) is extraordinary in a global context. The particular drama and magnificence of their scenic values have made the Dolomites a crucial reference for the aesthetic of the sublime in western culture, so much so that they are considered to be a universal standard of natural beauty. The Dolomites also became famous throughout the world for the phenomenon of intense colouring assumed by the rock faces at sunrise and sunset (the colour range of orange-red-purple) and their scenic luminosity at dusk or by moonlight.

Criterion viii (to be outstanding examples representing major stages of earth’s history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic feature)

geology: The Dolomites are the world´s only area with easy access where large scale Triassic carbonate platforms and their adjoining basinal areas can be observed in natural transects. They show a practically continuous sequence of Upper Palaeozoic and Mesozoic rocks and therefore documents 200 Ma of Earth history in a small and easily accessible area. In particular, the continental successions of the Permian and above all the marine successions of the Triassic make the Dolomites a reference area at a worldwide level for researchers and specialists of these periods. Significant parts of the Triassic have been historically defined in these areas: for example, the Ladinian (term deriving from Ladinia), the Fassanian (from the Val di Fassa) and the Cordevolian (from the Cordevole Valley).

geomorphology: The Dolomites are a unitary system of morphostructural and morphoclimatic landforms, of outstanding universal value. They are a sort of geoheritage high-altitude field laboratory, ideal for research, education and the development of geomorphological theories and understanding. Furthermore, they are a particularly representative case of geo(morpho)diversity, in every extrinsic or intrinsic meaning, at different scales. Finally, they show their geomorphological particularities in the midst of a landscape which is among the most spectacular
in the world.