Enrosadira, a Disco Inferno in the Italian Dolomites

Why the Dolomites turn pink

The magic of the Enrosadira (Alpenglow)

The magical and spectacular phenomenon of the Enrosadira can be experienced to great effect in the beautiful Italian Dolomites. Enrosadira is derived from the Ladin term “rosadüra”, literally meaning “turning pink”, which is commonly known as the Alpenglow elsewhere in the Alps. What is Ladin? Find more information on the Ladin language in our other blog here

Enrosadira can be witnessed at sunset and sunrise, when the Dolomite mountain tops are illuminated in magnificent shades of red, from pale yellow to delicate pink and eventually wistful violet, until the mountains disappear in the dark of night. Although this phenomenon can manifest itself all over the Dolomites, I have spent many an evening in awe looking up at the commanding Santa Croce peak (‘Sas dla Crusc’ in Ladin) in the Val Badia. This sheer cliff is especially renowned for its blaze and colour on summer nights, as can be seen below. Its West facing rock rises more than 1700m meters above the valley floor and catches the last of the evening sun.

Italian Dolomites turn pink. Enrosadira
An incredible panorama of the Italian Dolomites during the twilight hours. This is called the Enrosadira or Alpenglow effect. Photo credit: Charlie Andrews

Possible explanations

There have been many theories as to why this technicolour transformation occurs. Geologists maintain it is the magnesium-rich calcium carbonate minerals found in dolomite rock that we must thank for the Enrosadira. The quality of the illumination varies depending on the time of year and from one day to the next. This is due to the different position of the sun throughout the year and to different atmospheric conditions and meteorological phenomena. The glow is particularly visible on summer evenings when the air is exceptionally clear, and twilight is longer.

What the legends say

However, legend tells of a different story: of the dwarf king Laurino, his daughter the princess Ladina and their gorgeous garden of roses. 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 their beautiful garden of roses at Catinaccio (‘Rosengarten’ in German, which literally means the rose garden). One day, the Prince of Latemar was intrigued by the rose garden. As he approached the garden, he saw Ladina amongst the roses, and was so struck by her beauty, he kidnapped the princess to marry her.

King Laurino, heartbroken, cursed the flowers that had brought Latemar to his kingdom and vowed that his roses would never flourish again, so that no man could admire the garden by day or night. In his despair, however, Laurino forgot about dawn and dusk – when the world is in neither day nor night. Since then, this is when the roses show their colour.

Enrosadira pink Italian Dolomites
Photo credit: Charlie Andrews

During your Dolomite hiking holiday with us, hopefully you will be lucky enough to witness the magic of the Enrosadira. Once you have seen the Dolomite rocks change in the light of the setting sun or the rising of a new day, you might find yourself quietly thanking the Prince of Latemar for whisking Ladina away and the consequential mistakes made by king Laurino in his anguish.

Italian Dolomites at sunrise
The Italian Dolomites reflect a brilliant yellow gold hue at sunrise. Photo credit: Charlie Andrews
Charlie Andrews

About Charlie Andrews

Growing up in Shrewsbury, UK, Charlie was surrounded by the rolling Shropshire Hills, which was the perfect setting for a childhood of mountain biking, orienteering and enjoyment of the great outdoors. His growing love for the mountains continued in Snowdonia; trekking, wild camping and climbing with his friends in the best and worst of British weather. He then had his first taste of alpine climbing in Switzerland, where experiencing the more demanding mountain conditions of the alpine environment he has since striven to develop the techniques for safe travel through the mountains. Graduating from the University of Sheffield in 2014 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, Charlie has since spent his time between the Italian Dolomites, French and Austrian Alps. During these years he has guided treks and road cycle rides in the summer, lead ski days and snowshoe walks in the winter. His favorite past time is ski mountaineering; combining the exercise and climbing skills on the way up with the enjoyment and thrill of the ski down. With a great interest in alpine flora and fauna, geography and geology, Charlie is keen to share his knowledge and enthusiasm with others.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign Up for Our Email Newsletter

Stay up to date on the latest Alpenwild news. You're free to opt out at any time.

Interests: