Also unique is the contrast between the harsh and towering rock formations and the lush alpine meadows and valleys that characterise the landscapes of the Dolomites, the so-called “Pale Mountains”, which emerged as coral reefs around 270 million years ago. Exuberant vegetation adds to this geological wealth: the mild climate, influenced by the Mediterranean, permits an enormous variety of flora, with over 2,400 species. No wonder the uniqueness of this region was recognised by UNESCO, which declared the Dolomites a World Heritage Site in June 2009.