Celtic tradition baptized the town belo-dunum, or resplendent city, referring to its position in the heart of the valley and its aura of a magic and special place which it guards.
A place redolent of mystery and fascination, which the druids' word goes some way to capturing. It is certain that to those people the town must have seemed a magic passageway through the surrounding plains and mountains of the Dolomites, two opposing forces which here coincide.
And this is in fact what Belluno is to this day: the gateway between two different worlds, or rather two faces of the same world: the Veneto. The old city is a romantic dream, dropped from the heavens onto a rocky spur between the Piave and Ardo, and adorned with late-Gothic and Renaissance buildings. The ancient squares of Piazza del Martiri and Piazza della Erbe also function as guardians of haunting art and emotion which bodies forth from the fountains and monuments, and which appears to have been lifted out of a tale of Dino Buzzati, a native son of Belluno.