The Dolomites are called the Italian Alps, for good reason. The mountains themselves are not extremely tall, but they rise so abruptly from a low valley floor their tall jagged peaks are very impressive. The area is a mecca for skiers, hikers , mountain bike enthusiasts and para-sailing. Many inhabitants do not like that this region became part of Italy after World War I, so there continues to be a strong Austrian influence in the buildings, language and menus. We hiked most days here and learned about Italian rifugios.
The rifugios are mountain huts where hikers can find refuge for the night and get a breakfast in the morning. Used a bit more loosely, they are wonderful pastry and beer gardens at the top of ski areas and along hiking trails. It is an experience to be remembered, one of the very best views I have ever observed, while drinking a tall glass of cold draft beer and enjoying one of the most wonderful deserts I have eaten, thick chocolate with a layer of marmellata, a tart jam. An area does not get this green without a lot of rain, which was often followed by fog. The entire area seemed to be a 30-mile-long ski area, all linked by trams, chair lifts and gondolas.
The scenery was terrific everywhere we hiked. Here is a slide show of six photos.