The fascination of this place
is not about what there is
but about what is missing.

This is not a cliché.

May 2013

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02
Thursday,
02 May 2013

Dolomiti Dolomia and Dolomieu

What is Dolomieu to the Dolomites?
A charming town in France. And Dolomia? … nothing.
We well know that each of these peaks today has its own name, but also an absolutely important and unmistakable personality. According to modern parameters, these mountains are not very high, and the challenge to overcome them has been achieved. Those with a bit of technique and strong legs are guaranteed to make it back in time for tea!
Among these first enthusiastic explorers, we find an interesting character who involuntarily paved the way for our current fame: Déodat de Dolomieu.
The name Dolomieu, that was the first appearance of the root “dolom”, refers to the place of origin of our Déodat, a splendid French town of a few thousand souls at the foot of the Graian Alps. Monsieur Dolomieu, following his burning passions, reached our parts in 1889; in fact Dèodat never actually got this far, but between Brennero and Trento collected various samples of pale, rebellious rock that didn't behave as he expected. This “apparent calcite” did not in fact effervesce greatly at the use of hydrochloric acid. Dear Déodat found himself with an unknown rock with a component of magnesium that made it harder than calcite. He immediately shared his discovery, sending it to another connoisseur of the time, his friend Nicolàs de Saussure and with a touch of courtesy described the newly discovered mineral as Saussurite. One courtesy leads to another, and Nicolàs spoke of Dolomite.
Criticism and opposition from scholars and geographers on the scientific correctness of the definition served little, in the common imagination the name had already stuck, its roots deep. Dolomia, Dolomite and Dolomieu blended to become a globally famous byword, the symbol of holidays in SüdTirol. Today we no longer complain of the scientific meanness of this term, we simply ignore the fact that some of our symbols, including our queen, contain no Dolomia at all.
Whatever: limestone or Dolomia, faced with such beauty, we can but thank.

Marco