Exploring Monte Rosa the Italian Alps


monte rosa alps

Monte Rosa is Italy's second highest mountain and is located about 10 kilometres south-east of the Matterhorn in the Alps of north-west Italy. Although the summit of Monte Rosa itself, at 4634 metres above sea-level, is in Switzerland most of the Monte Rosa Massif is within Italy's Aosta Valley Region.

It is a great mass of a mountain at the head of the Valsesia, Gressoney and Ayas valleys. You can see Monte Rosa from many places in north-western Italy and from near the western Lombardy lakes such as Lake Maggiore. The name of the mountain means glacier mountain not pink mountains, as you might have guessed. The word 'Rosa' comes from the word 'rouése' which is a local word for glacier.

Guide to Exploring Monte Rosa

As with the other important mountains in the region, a popular way for 'non-mountaineers' to explore is to follow one of the marked routes.  One of the most popular routes is one that contours the base of Monte Rosa, a trek that usually takes around ten days. Although you avoid climbing to the summit on this route it is still reasonably challenging with several mountain passes to be crossed.

For those who don't want to spend 10 days trekking there are plenty of opportunities to get good views of the mountain from the valleys below.


Dufourspitze 4,634 metres (15,203 ft), Ostspitze 4,632 metres (15,197 ft), Grenzgipfel 4,618 metres (15,151 ft), Nordend  4,618 metres (15,151 ft), Zumsteinspitze  4,563 metres (14,970 ft), Signalkuppe 4,554 metres (14,941 ft), Lyskamm  4,527 metres (14,852 ft), Silbersattel 4,515 metres (14,813 ft), Grenzsattel 4,453 metres (14,610 ft), Parrotspitze  4,432 metres (14,541 ft), Ludwigshöhe 4,341 metres (14,242 ft), Corno Nero 4,322 metres (14,180 ft), Vincent-Pyramide 4,215 metres (13,829 ft), Balmenhorn 4,167 metres (13,671 ft), Punta Giordani 4,046 metres (13,274 ft), Jägerhorn 3,970 metres (13,025 ft), Cima di Jazzi 3,803 metres (12,477 ft)


Alagna is the most popular place to stay among hikers and outdoor enthusiasts who visit the region. Of course many of the walks are challenging and need proper equipment and experience. Alagna is a major Freeride resort during the winter months.

The village standing at the bottom of the sheer cliff to the east of Monte Rosa is Macugnana.

The villages in the valleys below Monte Rosa are more Germanic than Italian in character, and occupied by the Walsers.  The people have a fascinating history within the valley, that you can learn about at the museum in Pedemonte, a short walk from Alagna. Wherever you travel in the region around the mountain you will see the unusual wooden houses that the Walsers occupy, much unchanged since their arrival in the 13th century.

A couple of cable cars in the vicinity allow access to the high mountains, for example the cable car that operates from Champoluc to Testa Grigia (more than 3300 metres above sea level) or another from Alagna to Punta Indren (3260 metres above sea level).

Other popular villages and resorts in the Monte Rosa region include those at Champoluc, Brusson, Gressoney-St-Jean (which also has a small museum about the wildlife you might encounter), Issime and Riva Valdobbia, with its church having a very colourful frescoed facade from the 16th century.


Four Thousand Meter Peaks in the Italian Alps


Cervino Italian Alps

Primary Mountain Summitsare noted in BOLDfont- all other points listed are recognized high points and peaks on a primary mountain or along various routes. 

Location Mountain Peak Height (Meters
  Mont Blanc 4807
  Mont Blanc de Courmayeur 4748
  Dufourspitze 4634
  Mont Rosa Grenzgipfel 4618
  Nordend 4609
  Dufourspitze-western fore-sommeit 4600
  Mont Blanc Freney Gr. Chandelle 4600
  Zumsteinspitze 4556
  Signalkuppe - east ridge gendarme 4550
  Mont Blanc Petite Bosse 4547
  Dom 4545
  Nordend - top of south ridge 4542
  Liskamm 4527
  Mont Blanc Grand Bosse 4513
  Weisshorn 4505
  Dufourspitze higer west ridge summit 4469
  Taschhorn 4490
  Dom - western fore- summit  4499
  Liskamm west summit 4479
  Matterhorn 4478
  Matterhorn west summit 4476
  Mont Blanc southwest ridge, Pic Luigi Amadeo 4469
  Dom northeast ridge summit 4468
  Mont Maudit 4465
  Zumsteinspitze -southwest ridge 4463
  Liskamm west summit 4450
  Parrotspitze 4436
  Taschhorn north ridge summit 4404
  Dufourspitze - lower west ridge 4385
  Weisshorn higher north ridge 4362
  Dent Blanche 4356
  Mont Maudit northeast summit 4336
  Kuskamm east shoulder (Cima Scoperta) 4335
  Weisshorn northe ridge 4331
  Nadelhorn  4327
  Schwarzhorn 4322
  Grand Combin 4311
  Ludwigshohe 4311
  Mont Blanc, Dome du Gouter 4304
  Dufourspitze, lower west ridge summit 4280
  Lenzspitze  4294
  Liskamm, Naso 4273
  Finsteraarhorn 4273
  Aiguille du Croissant 4250
  Mont Blanc du Tacul 4248
  Mont Blanc du Tacul east summit 4247
  Mont Blanc south ridge Gr Pilierd'Angle 4243
  Stecknadelhorn 4241
  Pic Tyndall  (Matterhorn) 4241
  Castor 4228
  Zinalrothorn 4221
  Hohberghorn 4219
  Vicent Piramide 4215
  Grandes Jorasses 4208
  Alphubel 4206
  Castor north summit 4205
  Weisshorn, smaller north ridge gendarme 4205
  Weisshorn, lover north ridge summit 4203
  Liskamm southwest ridge  4201
  Zinalrothorn Kanzei 4200
  Rimpfischhorn 4199
  Aletschhorn 4195
  Strahlhorn 4190
  Taschhorn southeast ridge shoulder summit 4175
  Felikhorn  4174
  Dent d'Herens 4171
  Balmenhorn 4167
  Finsteraarhorn - southeast fore-summit 4167
  Breithorn 4464
  Breithorn, central summit 4159
  Jungrau 4158
  Bishorn 4153
  Zinalrothorn Bosse (north ridge) 4150
  Grand COmbin de Tsessetta 4141
  Western Breithornzwilling 4139
  Pointe Burnaby 4135
  Alguille Verte 4122
  Zinalrothorn Gabeltrm 4120
  Isolee (P. Bianchard) 4114
  Aigulle Bianche (P. Gussfeldt) 4112
  Mont Blanc du Tacul Pointe Carmen 4109
  Weisshorn lowest north ridge 4109
  Rimpfischhorn north ridge gendarme 4108
  P. Androsace 4107
  P. Seymour King 4107
  Eastern Brethornzwilling 4106
  P. Jones 4104
  Grande Rocheuse 4102
  Barre des Ecrins 4101
  Pointe Croz 4101
  Zinalrothron Sphinx 4100
  Tour Roughe 4100
  Monch 4099
  Dent Blanche Grand Gendarme 4098
  Pointe Mediane 4097
  Felikjoch top 4093
  Pollux  4092
  Wengener Jungfrau 4089
  Finsteraarhorn northwest ridge 4088
  Pic Lory 4086
  Aletschhorn northeast ridge 4086
  Schreckhorn 4078
  Schwarzfluh Rocca Nera 4075
  P. Chaubert 4074
  Aletschhorn west northwest ridge 4071
  Mont Blanc du Tacul east face 4067
  Pointe Marguerite 4066
  Corne du Diable 4064
  Obergabelhorn 4063
  Gran Paradiso 4061
  Gran Paradiso Madonna sumit 4058
  Mont Brouillard 4053
  Aigulle de Bionassay 4052
  Piz Bernina 4049
  Gross-Fiescherhorn 4049
  Punta Giordani 4046
  Pointe Helene 4045
  Gross-Grunhorn 4044
  Lauteraarhorn 4042
  Pic Eccles 4041
  Dent d'Herens Epaule 4039
  Aigulle du Jardin 4035
  Durrenhorn 4035
  Allalinhorn 4027
  Mont Blanc du Tacul east slope 4027
  Il Roc 4026
  Pointe Eveline 4026
  Dufourspitze lowest west ridge tower 4026
  Hinter-Fiescherhorn 4025
  Weissmies 4023
  Pointe Croux 4023
  Bernina Spalla 4020
  Zinalrothorn Epaule 4017
  Dome de Rochefort 4015
  Dent du Geant 4013
  Punta Baretti 4013
  Lauteraarhorn northwest ridge summit 4011
  Lagginhorn 4010
  Rimpfischhorn west summit 4009
  Aigulle de Rochefort 4001
  Les Droites 4000

The Julian Alps in Italy


julian alps italy

The Julian Alps are a mountain range of the Southern Limestone Alps that stretch from northeastern Italy to Slovenia, where they rise to 2,864 m at Mount Triglav, the highest peak in Slovenia and of the former Yugoslavia. They are named after Julius Caesar, who founded the municipal of Cividale del Friuli at the foot of the mountains. A large part of the Julian Alps is included in Triglav National Park. The second highest peak of the range, the 2,775m high Jôf di Montasio, lies in Friuli Venezia Region of Italy. The Julian Alps cover an estimated 4,400 km² (of which 1,542 km² lies in Slovenia). They are located between Sava valley and Kanalska Dolina. They are divided into the Eastern and Western Julian Alps.

Eastern Julian Alps

The Eastern Julian Alps are located in Slovenia. There are many peaks in the Eastern Julian Alps over 2,000m high, and they are mainly parts of ridges. The most important peaks are visible by height and massiveness. There are high plains on the eastern border like Pokljuka, Mežakla and Jelovic.

Western Julian Alps

The Western Julian Alps cover a much smaller area, and are located mainly in Italy. Only the Kanin group lies in Slovenia. The main peaks by height are:

  • Jôf di Montasio
  • Jof Fuart
  • Kanin

Important passes of the Julian Alps are:

  • The Vršič Pass, 1,611 m (5,826 feet), links the Sava and Soča valleys. It is the highest mountain road pass in Slovenia.
  • The Predil Pass (links Villach via Tarvisio and Bovec to Gorizia), paved road 1,156 m (3,792 feet)
  • The Hrušica Plateau at the Postojna Gate: (links Ljubljana to Gorizia), paved road 883 m (2,897 feet)
  • The Pontebba Pass (links Villach via Tarvisio and Pontebba to Udine), railway, paved road, 797 m (2,615 feet)