Many of the highest peaks of the Italian Alps are located in well-known mountain massifs such as the Mont Blanc or the Monte Rosa. Even though they aren’t the highest peaks of the massifs since the main summits are already situated across the border in Switzerland or France, they are only slightly smaller and reach impressive heights of over 4,000 metres. The highest peak in Italy would therefore be the 4,748-metre-high Monte Bianco di Courmayeur. In the following, however, we will not look at the highest peaks, but at the seven highest independent mountains or main summits located in Italy.
7. Königspitze (3,851 Metres)
The 3,851 metre high Königspitze, or Gran Zebrù in Italian, is the second highest peak in the Ortler Alps in Italy and the seventh highest overall. The mountain is located right on the border between South Tyrol and Lombardy. The Königspitze is particularly striking due to its characteristic shape. It consists of dolomite rock and is heavily glaciated.
Among alpinists it is famous because of its north face, but it was also of military importance during World War 1. In 2015, barracks were discovered just below the summit.
6. Piz Palü (3,900 Metres)
On the border between Italy and Switzerland the three even peaks of the elegant looking, glaciated Piz Palü rise up to a height of 3,900 metres. The mountain lies to the east of Piz Bernina and is also part of the Bernina Range in the Central Eastern Alps. The three pillars of Piz Palü and its imposing north face fascinate many alpinists. But not only alpine tours to the summit of Piz Palü are popular, the great view of the mountain from the Diavolezza ski resort attracts tourists alike. Many people also may have heard of the mountains name already without even visiting it, as it was the setting for the famous 1929 mountain film “The White Hell of Pitz Palu” by Arnold Fanck starring Leni Riefenstahl.
5. Ortler (3,905 Metres)
The 3,905 metre high Ortler is the highest mountain in South Tyrol and the main peak of the Ortler Alps. Due to its majestic appearance, it is also known as “King Ortler”. It was first climbed in 1804 and is probably one of the most important mountains in alpine history. The mountain is characterized by its three striking ridges. The ascent to the summit of the heavily glaciated mountain is a demanding high-altitude tour. The north face of Ortler is also well-known, as it has the longest ice route in the Eastern Alps and is considered very difficult to climb. On a clear day, the view from the summit reaches as far as to the Bernina Range and the Dolomites. The Ortler also played an important role during the World War I. The so-called Ortler Front was used as the highest gun emplacement in the Alps.
Get the Ortler as a print for your wall
4. Grivola (3,969 Metres)
The Grivola, an evenly shaped stone pyramid is with a height of 3,969 metres the second highest mountain in the Graian Alps and the fourth highest in Italy. Surrounded by glaciers, Grivola is part of the Gran Paradiso National Park in the Aosta Valley.
The Valsavarenche valley runs to the west and the Cogne valley to the northeast, making the distinctive peak of the Grivola visible from many sides. The Grivola got its name because of its beauty. It is derived from the Occitan language and means as much as young girl. The region around the mountain is popular for alpine tours. The north face of the mountain is particularly suitable for friction climbing due to it consisting of orthogneiss.
3. Gran Paradiso (4,061 Metres)
Eight kilometres south of the Grivola lies the highest mountain of the Graian Alps, the 4,061 metre high Gran Paradiso. Furthermore it is also the highest mountain that is entirely located on Italian soil. The summit of Gran Paradiso rises in the center of Gran Paradiso National Park, the second oldest national park in the Alps, which it also gives its name to. The mountain range is characterised by sharp peaks, narrow ridges and deep valleys, yet it is considered one of the easiest to climb four-thousanders in the Alps. The view from the summit is priceless. On a clear day, you can see as far as to Mont Blanc, Grand Combin or Monte Viso.
2. Dent d’Hérens (4,171 Metres)
With its narrow, snow-covered peak the 4,171 metres high Dent d’Hérens, lies remotely located in the shadow of the Matterhorn in the Valais Alps. The Italian-Swiss border runs right across its summit. The Dent d’Hérens, whose name derives from the Val d’Hérens, was probably once called Dent Blanche, but due to a confusion of names, the name was given to the present Dent Blanche. The Dent d’Hérens offers difficult ascent routes with rock climbing passages, but remains relatively unvisited because of its not so easy to access location. To the northern side of the mountain lies the Tiefmatten glacier, the south side is characterised by rocky ridges, with its east ridge being considered one of the longest in the Alps.
1. Castor (4,223 Metres)
With a height of 4,223 metres Castor in the Valais Alps is the highest mountain located in Italy. Its slightly lower twin peak, Pollux, lies adjacent to the west, but already on Swiss territory. The names are based on Greek mythology and refer to the twins and sons of Zeus. The two mountains are separated by the Zwillingsjoch pass. The snow-covered, triangular mountain is characterised by its long and narrow south-eastern ridge. Castor is also framed by the Breithorn to the west and the Lyskamm to the east.