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17 April

A mollusc by the name of "Cow’s Hoof"

Like an island of quiet and relaxation, the ADLER Mountain Lodge lies in a sea of rolling upland meadows set against a bizarre backcloth of jagged mountain peaks. And indeed, where holiday feelings now flow free, all was once water.
An unimaginable 280 million years ago, the ancient Tethys Sea rose up and inundated Alpe di Siusi. The new seabed became the home of algae, sponges, molluscs and coral, which over the millennia left enough limestone deposits to create huge reefs some 2,000 metres high – today’s Dolomites.

One particular mollusc – known as the Cow’s Hoof in the vernacular and Megalodon to the experts – is the typical fossil of the Dolomites. The earliest mountain dwellers believed that the fossils were the footprints of “wild women”. They collected them to place outside their huts to ward off evil spirits.
In 2009 the fascinating limestone mountains of the Dolomites were given UNESCO World Heritage status: a paradise for walkers and climbers, who usually do not realise they are holding on to a branch of coral or standing on an ancient mollusc or the footprint of a dinosaur. So on your next walk, be sure to keep your eyes open!