With the development of mountaineering, the mountain became symbolically valuable as a place of the sublime. It became a place for moral elevation and exaltation of individuality.
The unique conformation of the Dolomites attracted the attention of excursionists. The sheer verticality and ease of arrival soon made them the favourite destination of mountaineers from all over Europe.
New professional roles emerged, such as porters and alpine guides. Some of the local guides have made history in the mountaineering world.
Luigi Rizzi from Campitello (1869-1948) was the first great modern guide in Fassa.
Tita Piaz from Pera (1879-1948) was nicknamed ‘the devil of the Dolomites’.
Luigi Micheluzzi from Canazei (1900-1976) brought mountaineering as close to technical perfection as was possible.
Designed in late ‘800, the Great Dolomite Road was opened at the Pordoi Pass in 1907. It was supposed to connect Bolzano with Cortina and Toblach, via Pordoi and Falzarego, to facilitate access to the Dolomite valleys for excursionists and mountaineers.
The first great hotels rose up along the main roads. Certain travel literature described the Dolomite populations as simple and primitive, ignorant of the world and its complexity.
Both the promising development of the tourist economy and the efforts of Ladin intellectuals to recover a conscious identity were thwarted by the outbreak of the Great War: the ‘Ladin rebirth’ would have to wait.