Surprising Diversity in the Dolomites
An outdoor vacation in the Dolomites—whether you’re hiking, skiing, or just basking in the stunning natural beauty of the area—will immerse you in layers of history, culture, language, and tradition. In fact, notwithstanding the region’s natural wonders, it’s often the human history and distinctive language and culture that most surprise and delight visitors on their first trip to the Dolomites with Alpenwild.
The Dolomites are in the autonomous province of South Tirol (known by the names Alto Adige in Italian and Südtirol in German and the local Ladin language). German is the predominant language in this region of northern Italy, spoken by 62% of the population. Other languages include Italian and Ladin, the local Rhaeto-Romance language.
The oldest findings of human activity in the Dolomites are in the Val Gardena and date to the Bronze Age, about 6000 BC. Other Bronze Age settlements have also been found in Alta Badia and in the Ampezzo Valley.
When Romans conquered the area in 15 BC, there were well-established communities of Celts, Noricans, and Venetians living in the valleys. During the 500 years of Roman occupation these indigenous peoples adopted vulgar Latin while still maintaining elements of their Celtic, Rhaetian, and Noric languages.