Dolomites legends 

The spirits of the Dolomites

"Over the centuries, there have been many stories and fairy tales shared among those inhabiting the Dolomites, sometimes changing and evolving but always routed in the beautiful land and mountainous terrain surrounding them. The stories paint intriguing pictures and attempt to describe everyday life in an exciting, romantic and extraordinary way. 

For thousands of years, the Dolomites have been home to a unique people, the Ladins, whose culture is steeped in deep routed history and tradition. As with any ancient society, there have been plenty of stories and legends that have been told and retold, passed on from generation to generation. These legends now lend themselves to the magical and somewhat mystifying atmosphere visitors to this region experience.

(The huffington Post)


The Legend of Dolasilla

Of mountains, dwarfs and the corageous princess

Dolasilla, the war eroine of the Fanes people, was the Fanes king's daughter. Her father was a powerful man and he was constantly pursuing wealth. When her father was looking for gold around Canazei, he imprisoned a group of dwarfs and he stole them some precious objects. Dolasilla was afraid of the dwarfs'revenge and she gave them the stolen goods back, without her father knowing it. To thank her, the dwarfs forged her a white suit of armour, that should have protected her from arrows. The dwarfs foretold Dolasilla a future as a great war heroine, and told her in secrecy that soon something would have grown in the Silver Lake, but they warned her at the same time: if the suit of armour would have turned dark, she shouldn't have fought, if not she would die.

Dolasilla decided to remain a war heroine until her marriage. When Dolasilla went back to her father, he was angry at the beginning, because she gave the dwarfs the stolen objects back. But the perspective that his daughter would have become a war heroine lifted his mood up. He let himself to be foretold, what would have happened at the Silver Lake, and his people found a silver cane brake from which invincible arrow points could be produced. From that moment onwards, the Fanes people didn't lose any war, and to thank Dolasilla, she was crowned with a precious stone, the "Rajëta", on the Plan de Corones.

One night Dolasilla dreamt of a dead war enemy and he foretold her that the victories obtained thanks to magic wouldn't have lasted long. Dolasilla and her mother were scared of it, but her father let her go on fighting anyway. At the same time, the wizard Spina de Mul organized a great alliance against the Fanes people, because he was interested in Dolasilla's precious stone.

Spina de Mul had the hero Ey de Net on his side, but he was fascinated by the princess with the white suit of armour on her battle horse. So Spina de Mul had to think by himself what to do. He shot an arrow on Dolasilla and he wounded her seriously. Ey de Net felt himself betrayed by Spina de Mul and he changed side. The dwarfs' suit of armour could protect from normal arrows, so the dwarfs forged her a shield against the magic arrows, brought by Ey de Net on the battlefield.

Ey de Net obtained after a while Dolasilla's hand. Her father knew the prophecy that Dolasilla would have lost her battle force as soon she would marry. The king betrayed his country and sold it to the enemy because of his greed. He promised that Dolasilla wouldn't have fought, so he banished Ey de Net from his kingdom. He sheltered on the mountains and waited for the events. Dolasilla was very sad about the Ey de Net's ban from her kingdom. She rode her horse for woods and prairies, where she met some dirty and abandoned children. They begged her for so long, that Dolasilla gave them her last invincible arrows. But she didn't know that Spina de Mul had sent those children and he obtained the arrows. On the great battle day, caused by the king, Dolasilla's suit of armours turned black, but she went to war anyway, begged by the Fanes people.

The enemies were irritated, because the expected Dolasilla in the while suit of armour. They understood the situation straightaway and the shoot the arrows against her. The king, who was waiting on the Lagazuoi, had no idea of the enemy great losses and of her daughter's death on the battlefield. As he didn't received the enemy reward and he knew about Dolasilla's death, the traitor king "false king" (falza rego) turned into stone. Still nowadays the king of stone can be seen on the Lagazuoi, on the Falzarego Pass.

​(From Karl Felix Wolff)


© 2020 Stefano Favaretto photographer