Visitor facilities and statistics

The Dolomites is putting forward its nomination to become a World Heritage Site under criteria VII and VIII. These criteria are closely connected with each otheand, in particular, criterion VII derives directly from VIII; this fact is historically documented via esthetic and travel literature (see par. 2a). Simple geological and photographic documentation is not enough to have full and complete knowledge, whether from a scientific or esthetic point of view, of the outstanding values of the nominated property. It is also necessary to have direct experience. Visiting candidate sites is the only way to understand the scenographic effects or feel the spaces defined by its towers, pinnacles and rockfaces.

The possibility of classifying the karst structures into recognisable geometric shapes and precise volumetric figures have led to an interpretation of the Dolomites as architectural structures. As for architectural knowledge, experiencing the spaces of the Dolomites, contained within its rocky landscape, is essential in order to completely capture the feeling and appreciate its incredible variety of forms.As with esthetic knowledge, scientific knowledge also requires practical on site reconnoitre, which will illustrate the history of the land and the evolution of the morphology of the Dolomites with incredible power and efficiency.

This “high-altitude museum”, this “city inhabited by Titans”, is nevertheless a high altitude territory that remains inaccessible for much of the year, from November to May, due to adverse weather conditions. The uneven character of its topography and differences in altitude in its network of paths show how the existing facilities (shelters and mountain cabins) are geared towards use exclusively by hikers, mountaineers and rockclimbers. These structures have always played a vital role in alpine rescue.

The opening period, with few exceptions, is limited to the summer months (max. June to September, i.e. 90 days) and the 2.850 sleeping spaces in the shelters generate some 60.000 overnight stays; i.e. 25% of the potential accomodation capacity (about 254.000). No further shelters are planned. Mountain cabins offer logistical support and a guarantee of safety for expert hikers; for this reason they are not a problem.

The management framework will be defining the limits of the area’s carrying capacity, beyond which degradation and loss of capital will occur not merely in terms of returns and propose alternative ways, along which the supply and the use of resources will be restored and perfected, applying principles of compatibility or sustainability.

The table below shows the capacity of shelters and mountain cabins for each system.

systems shelters mountain cabins
sleeping spaces dormitory dormitory total
1. Pelmo-Nuvolau 149 0 0 149
2. Marmolada 16 6 9 31
3. Pale di San Martino - San Lucano - Dolomiti Bellunesi -
Vette Feltrine
389 0 121 510
4. Dolomiti Friulane / Dolomitis Furlanis e d’Oltre Piave 125 0 58 183
5. Dolomiti Settentrionali / Nördliche Dolomiten 676 283 103 1062
6. Puez-Odle / Puez-Geisler / Pöz-Odles 216 0 0 216
7. Sciliar-Catinaccio / Schlern-Rosengarten - Latemar 336 179 0 515
8. Rio delle Foglie / Bletterbach 0 0 0 0
9. Dolomiti di Brenta 379 77 0 456
total 2286 545 291 3122
% 73,2% 17,5% 9,3% 100%

The only facilities within the nominated property are the cableways of Tofane (some149.000 transits/year) and of Marmolada (some 108.000 persons/year). It should be remembered that article 4 of the “Manifesto delle Alpi della Regione Europea Tirolo, Alto Adige, Trentino”, signed on the 26th January 2001 by the presidents of the Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano, the Provincia Autonoma di Trento and Land Tyrol, states that the characteristics of the alpine territory and the environmental impact and landscape must be considered in the future management of the tourist infrastructures and in particular “further exploitation of the glacier zones must be limited”. From this point of view the proposing parties have already undertaken the responsibility to do not increase the level of human interventions on the Marmolada, even in the reorganisation of the infrastructures. There are no other facilities within the nominated site to transport tourists (i.e. high-altitude landing point, roads or car parks, etc.). Outside the area, the built-up areas on the valley floor offer a wide choice of accommodation, parking, public and tourist transportation.