by Martin Collins
Situated towards the eastern end of the Alps’ great curve from the Mediterranean coast through central Europe to the Balkans, the Dolomites region occupies an area of northern Italy as large as Wales. Although the Dolomites’ reputation as a playground for ‘hard men’ is fully justified, these mountains are by no means the domain of the rock climber alone. A dense network of footpaths offers endless scope for exhilarating high-level walks; the renowned ‘vie ferrate‘ (rock routes aided by fixed metal ladders and cables) lead up into many sensational situations, while in winter the region becomes a premier skiing destination for thousands of Europeans. The authors hope that these treks through the Dolomites will yield rewarding experiences and enduring memories for readers able to visit this most extraordinary region.