Courtly love and the rose. A mystery hidden in the Dolomites

The rose celebrates the love for our wonderful Dolomite peaks

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In the 12thcentury, the rose became a symbol of courtly love, a sentiment able to ennoble and elevate the man who influenced the poetry and literature of half of Europe. The fascination of the rose perhaps stems back to the Dolomites, as is recalled by many memories. Evocations of poets and writers from all eras celebrate the love for our wonderful Dolomite peaks. There are also countless sagas on the archaic legend of the spectacular Enrosadira phenomenon, being the alpenglow whose name refers to the symbol of the colour pink.

Wandering knights and poets tell of courtly love

Amor cortese, or courtly love, is the protagonist of the Dolce Stil Novo, the poetic trend that arose in Florence between the end of the 1200s and the beginning of the 1300s. The feeling of values, virtue, kindness and inner beauty is celebrated through the female figure that takes on angelic traits. The Provençal-style love poetry and the celebration of its grace – symbolised by the rose – became a source of inspiration for courtly life.

Poets and writers from all eras adhering to the knightly tradition have passed through the Dolomites.

These were the wandering knights, minstrels, troubadours, Minnesänger, the German-language amorcortese singers, and court poets. They celebrated amore in its highest form with recurring references to female figures combined with the symbol of the rose.

Amongst the most significant of those living around the year 1100, we can mention Chrétien de Troyes, famous for his series of novels on the Graal; Walther von der Vogelweide, considered the greatest love poet amongst the Minnesänger; Wolfram von Eschenbach, the knight who wrote the famous knightly poem on the Holy Grail, “Parzifal”.

The rose and the ideal of love

Poets and knights thus sought to celebrate the rose as an ideal of love, through the medieval love poem. Just as the “signs” of nature that can reflect this ideal were celebrated.In primis, the Enrosadira, with its red-pink colour, has undoubtedly influenced the ideal of purity of courtly love, particularly in the medieval German tradition.

Courtly love and the rose. A mystery hidden in the Dolomites
The Rosa, the symbol par excellence of courtly love – Time Project Ph.

The Dolce Stil Novo, of which Amor Cortese is the pure expression, becomes the movement that preluded the arrival of the Renaissance, one of the most beautiful periods in humanity.

Enrosadira in medieval German tradition

The German medieval tradition of the 13thcentury tells the story of the magical dimension of the enchanted garden where the roses lie, becoming the symbol par excellence of courtly love. Throughout this period, the first written testimonies were produced in a contemplative languageby those who admired the colour pink (or sometimes flaming red!) of the Dolomites that occasionally appears in the culminating moment upon passing from the light of the day and the dark of night. A feeling of enchantment. A thin line of light emerging from the peaks to announce the first rays of sunshine at dawn. The filo di seta aurea” – the “golden thread of silk” -announces the Enrosadira, being the presence of the rose garden hidden with the use of magical arts, according to legend, by King Laurin, the mythical ruler of dwarves.

                                    Read more about Enrosadira and the legend of King Laurin


The Rose of Remembrance

This tale – the “Roses of Rememberence” – recounts a legend handed down orally.
A girl takes the rose from her chest, gives it to a dwarf, and instructs him to plant it on the highest peak, where it would take root and a rose bush would grow. Upon seeing the magnificent rose, the little gardener’s face lit up with joy.
If I can plant this, in a few years the entire mountain will be covered with roses,” he exclaimed exultantly!
The girl, together with her sweetheart, resumes thejourney and, just below the summit, encounters the queen, the young man’s mother. The prince introduces his bride to her, saying that she possessed a golden belt and a rose of unparalleled beauty, but had donated both.
And what do you possess now?” the queen enquires.
The question embarrassed the prince, but not the bride, who answered calmly, “Now I have the memory.
“The memory of what?” asks the queen.
“The memory of the time long ago when there was no hatred, no crime, and everything was more beautiful and good”.
“You are the one I have been seeking,”
said the queen. And they embraced.

( an excerpt from the text, “L’anima delle Dolomiti” / “The Soul of the Dolomites”, by Karl Felix Wolff.)

The colour Rosa dell’Amor Cortese survives in the Dolomites

The teaching that emerges from the saga “Rose del Ricordo is subtle but profound. Knowing how to intensely savour the emotion of a moment in time, so as to be able to preserve it in your soul and over time. The time of beauty.
To pause and enjoy the moment of contemplation of the Enrosadira means to rediscover that feeling that the Minnesänger, the singers of love songs, contemplated over 800 years ago. This unique phenomenon occurs only in the Dolomites, a World Heritage Site and the last natural bulwark and inspiration of Amor Cortese.

Come and experience the phenomenon of Enrosadira.

Savour the charm of the Dolomites.


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Head Image Credits Knight of the Mountains: Renè Aigner

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