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The name of the mountain range comes from a shortened form of "cresta de Lac-te-mara" in the local Ladin language, which means something like "mountain ridge over the lake in the Kar (hence Karersee, or Kar lake)". Kar here refers to a semicircular shape. Lactemara developed into Latemar, the modern name first documented in the 12th century.

The Latemar massif is situated in the Dolomites to the south of the Rosengarten. A characteristic of this mountain range is the abrupt change from gently undulating Alpine pastures to sheer peaks of limestone that rise high into the sky.

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