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There are 28,138 named mountains in Italy. The highest and the most prominent mountain is Mont Blanc / Monte Bianco depending on what side you are looking from. It is located on the border between Italy and France. One third of Italy are mountainous areas. Mountains are at the core of the Italian culture. Hiking, scaling to the summits and cycling mountain passes are among the most popular activities.

Italian Alpine Club (Italian: CAI) was founded in 1863 in Turin. Nowadays it is an important alpine organization which operates numerous mountain huts all over the country and promotes healthy alpine lifestyle.

There are two major mountain ranges in Italy:

  • The Alps constitute the northern border and go from the very west in Lugirua to the very east in Friuli-Venezia Giulia.
  • The Apennines form the backbone of the country running down the full length of the Italian peninsula.

Also, there are major mountains on two biggest Italian islands: Sicily and Sardinia. In total, Italy boasts of 22 Ultra prominent mountains. While being debatable, some tend to agree that the most beautiful mountains in the world are located in Italy, usually the mountain connoisseurs refer to the Dolomites.

The Dolomites

Mountain huts all over the country provide convenient accommodation and authentic dining experience with local delicacies. Many popular mountain resorts operate all year long and offer vacation opportunities for every kind of budget and interest.

Italian Regions High Points


Hiking in Italy

There are several types of hiking trail marks in Italy:

  • A trail sign consisting of two horizontal red stripes with a white stripe in the middle. Usually, one can find the path number on the white stripe. Along the paths you can sometimes see a simple red or red and white signs drawn on stones or tree trunks.
  • Less common is a painted triangle with a high altitude trail number inside.
  • Wooden signs on fixed poles


You might sometimes notice not only an elevation and an estimated travel time to a destination but also an encoded trail difficulty on the trail signs. Here is the meaning of the trail difficulty indicators:

  • T - a tourist path. An easy and not very long path or road with an evident direction.
  • E - a hiking trail without technical difficulties on variable ground. It could be rough and steep sometimes. It can include traverses which do not require any special equipment.
  • EE - for expert hikers. A marked trail over more treacherous ground, at higher altitudes, with exposed sections.
  • EEA - for equipped expert hikers. The routes of this category have a lot of exposure. They are usually very difficult due to long distances and significant elevation gain at high altitudes. They require some safety equipment: helmet, ropes, carabiners, etc.

Finally, here are some useful facts about hiking in Italy:

  • Rescue phone is 118
  • The water is usually drinking quality unless explicitly mentioned otherwise as “non potabile”. Due to the elevation and summer heat you might need more water than expected.
  • Sunscreen is advised
  • There are many exposed trails and via ferrata ways, assess your skills and capabilities carefully
  • Don’t deviate from the trails even if the risk of getting lost is extremely low, even the locals sometimes get lost.
  • Start earlier in the morning in order to avoid crowds
  • Take some food with you. In case you miss the lunch time in a mountain hut or it’s closed.
  • Leave nothing but footprints. Take nothing but memories.

Flora and Fauna

[Coming Soon]

On hikes in Italy the most common encounters are:

  • Ibex
  • Chamois
  • Deers
  • Marmots
  • Hares
  • Foxes


Italian Mountaineering Achievements

Italian contribution in the history of mountaineering is enormous. Here are just a few interesting achievements.

  • First K2 ascend by CAI expedition (1954). It was led by Walter Bonatti. He was the great mountaineer and popularizer of climbing.
  • Reinhold Messner alpine style Everest ascend. He was the first man to climb all 14 peaks over 8,000 metres
  • The SOIUSA is the Alps classification by Sergio Marazzi
  • Italy can boast of the longest trekking route so far (the Trans Canada Trail is yet to be covered, it is 18,000km long). Grand Italian Trail (Sentiero Italia) runs cross the Italian Alps and through the country. It is 6166km long and weaves across the top of the boot-shaped country, across the imposing Alps before making its way down to the point and over to Sicily and Sardinia. You're sure to see a huge variety of scenery – and no doubt some amazing, carb-heavy food to keep you going.
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