When we were young, we went to school in San Leonardo. A little higher was the majestic Sas dla Crusc (Sasso della Croce), with the Piza da les Nü (Peak 9) and the Piza dales Diesc (Peak 10) peaks on the left and the Lavarella and Conturines peaks on the right. On the other side of the town is the Gardenacia (Gardenaccia) plateau and, if you look towards Corvara, you can see the Sassongher.
To learn the four cardinal directions, we were taught at school to look at how the sun moved through these mountains – from dawn to dusk and according to the seasons. For example, if the sun rises behind the Conturines massif in January, as spring nears you can see the sun rise behind the Lavarella, on the peak of Val Medesc, above the Ciaval – that's the Ladin name for Sas dla Crusc 's main peak – until it finally rises behind Piza da les Nü (Peak 9). That's where the sun is at 9 in the morning on the day of the Summer Solstice if you look at the sun from the village of La Valle. That's how the peak got its name. In the same vein, the sun sets behind the Gardenaccia plateau in winter and sets behind the Pütia in summer.
We had to grow up and become adults to realize how lucky we are to be living in the midst of this paradise. Hearing tourists marvel with wonder and exclaim "The Dolomites are so beautiful!" has opened our eyes to the surrounding beauty and made us appreciate it even more.
There is much information out there on these magnificent mountains that have recently been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. To learn more, we suggest visiting these pages: