The Dolomites are a Northern Italy mountain range part of the Oriental Alps which extend on the italian provinces of Belluno, Bozen, Pordenone, Trento and Udine.

The dolomitic group was named after the particular rock they are made of, the dolostone, discovered by the french scientist Déodat de Dolomieu at the end of the XVIII century. This stone contains a high level of mineral dolomite, which reflects lights and paints these natural architecture with shades from orange to purple, while during the day the rock is very pale and clear: for this reason, Dolomites are also known as the Pale Mountains.

The priceless natural heritage of the dolomitic region has been recognised by the Unesco Foundation in 2009. Moreover, the 200 km² Pale di San Martino area and the surrounding lands are preserved by the institution of the Parco Paneveggio – Pale di San Martino, a natural reserve which includes Val Canali, a part of the Val Venegia, the Paneveggio forest, and the eastern part of the large porphyry chain of Lagorai.

Just after the discovery of Dolomieu in 1789, the geological and morphological importance of these mountains became very clear, and Dolomites soon became a destination for scientists and students that here could observe, as they do still today, unique geological phenomena.

Here they can find important proofs on the evolutive periods of the Earth history, in particular the time interval in between Permian period and Triassic (between 270 and 200 million years ago). The fossil cliffs and tropical environment of the Mesozoic can be admired, together with the rebirth of life after the great extinction that took place about 251 million years ago and the great volcanic activity: a natural open book on the past history, which can be read both vertically, in order to learn the Earth history, and horizontally, to learn the old geography of the area.