The Dolomites (Ladin: Dolomites; Italian: Dolomiti; German: Dolomiten; Venetian: Dołomiti: Friulian: Dolomitis) are a mountain range located in north-eastern Italy. It is a part of Southern Limestone Alps and extends from the River Adige in the west to the Piave Valley (Pieve di Cadore) in the east. The northern and southern borders are defined by the Puster Valley and the Sugana Valley (Val Sugana). The Dolomites are nearly equally shared between the provinces of Belluno, South Tyrol and Trentino.
There are also mountain groups of similar geological structure that spread over the River Piave to the east – Dolomiti d'Oltrepiave; and far away over the Adige River to the west – Dolomiti di Brenta (Western Dolomites). There is also another smaller group called Piccole Dolomiti (Little Dolomites) located between the provinces of Trentino, Verona and Vicenza (see the map).
The Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Italian for "the three peaks of Lavaredo"), also called the Drei Zinnen (German, literally "three merlons"), are three distinctive battlement-like peaks, in the Sexten Dolomites of northeastern Italy. They are probably one of the best-known mountain groups in the Alps. The three peaks, from east to west, are:
The peaks are composed of well-layered dolostones of the Dolomia Principale (Hauptdolomit) formation, Carnian to Rhaetian in age, as are many other groups in the Dolomites (e.g., the Tofane, the Pelmo or the Cinque Torri).
Until 1919 the peaks formed part of the border between Italy and Austria. Now they lie on the border between the Italian provinces of South Tyrol and Belluno and still are a part of the linguistic boundary between German-speaking and Italian-speaking majorities. The Cima Grande has an elevation of 2,999 metres (9,839 ft). It stands between the Cima Piccola, at 2,857 metres (9,373 ft), and the Cima Ovest, at 2,973 metres (9,754 ft).