The Dolomites: Latemar Massif
The Latemar group derives it’s name from an old Ladin (no, not Latin) description “cresta de Lac-te-mara” which roughly means “mountain ridge over the lake in a cirque”. Ladin is an old romance language actually still spoken today by some 18,000 people as their first language.
The cirque is a lake that lies beneath Latemar is Lago di Carezza and comes with a story of it’s own (from the wooden sign by the lake):
THE MERMAID OF LAKE CAREZZA
Many years ago, the lake Carezza was the home of a beautiful mermaid. One day, the wizard of Masare listened to her singing and, immediately, fell in love with her. He used all his power to win the mermaid’s heart but she would not relent. Therefore, the wizard asked the witch Langwerda for help. Langwerda advised him to dress as a jeweler and to create a rainbow running from the Catinaccio to the Latemar.
Then, he should go back to Lake Carezza, entice the mermaid and kidnap her. The wizard followed the witch’s advice but forgot to disguise himself. The mermaid admired the colourful rainbow and the glittering gems but realized very quickly that the wizard was near and dived into Lake Carezza. Since then, she has never been seen again. Being lovesick, the wizard destroyed the rainbow, shattered it into pieces and threw all its parts into the lake, together with the gemstones. For this reason, Lake Carezza still shimmers to this day in all the wonderful colors of the rainbow.
Lago di Carezza was very full the day I arrived, with most of its surrounding path underwater. I made my way around the lake and headed up towards the base of Latemar. The path I took was through an area called “Labarinto” (labyrinth) that runs below the North face. Agatha Christie once visited this area, and set the end of her thriller The Big Four on this route. I found a great place to have a little picnic and admire the spires and rockslides. This is a great place for a relatively easy day of hiking – not to be missed!
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