There are many excellent bouldering areas in the valleys and mountains of northern Italy. The majority of the bouldering in northern Italy is on either excellent granite, gneiss or limestone rock, across a wide range of grades. There is so much rock around there is enormous potential for setting new routes/problems. The map opposite shows some of the more popular areas.
The most famous bouldering areas in Italy are Val di Mello and Valmasino where thousands of boulders litter the valley floor. The boulders are situated in lush alpine meadows and shaded woodlands. These areas provide a good range of problems across all grades on beautiful granite rock. Val di Mello has quickly become a top European bouldering venue complete with its own annual festival, Mello Blocco, which is held every spring.
Situated in Valchiavenna close to the border with Switzerland are the bouldering areas of Cimaganda and Prestone. These bouldering areas are situated in alpine meadows, and are very accessible from the road. Again there is a good range of problems from easy to Font 8a on gneiss rock. The boulders along the riverbed are smooth and frictionless, whilst those in the meadows are course and have excellent friction.
The information on the map showing the different bouldering areas in northern Italy has been extracted from various bouldering guidebooks that can be bought from our shop.
The Daone Valley (ValDaone) offers high quality bouldering on granite rock, and is situated in the heart of the Alps, to the west of Arco and north of Bresica. Currently there are 10 developed areas with over 1,500 problems offering a great variety of bouldering, from roofs and overhangs to technical slabs. Approximately 14km separate the first and last bouldering area with a height difference of 700m. This means it is possible to climb from the spring through the summer to the late autumn in very different environments. For example it is possible to boulder in a sunny meadow or in a thick wood, on the edge of a silent lake or inside the labyrinth of boulders formed by a rock fall.
The bouldering at Varazze is very different due to its location near the sea, and is situated between Genova and Savona. The rock here is very different to the limestone crags in this area, as it is metamorphic rock (similar type to the Alps and almost granite like). There are numerous bouldering areas to the north of Varazze with the boulders varying in height from 2m to 10m high. The rock gives good friction with many different types of holds from slopers and notches with the occasional pocket. There are well over 1,100 documented problems with the majority of these in the Font 6a to Font 7b grade range though there are easier problems too. The altitude of the boulders varies from 200m to 1,000m, which means the best time of the year to boulder at Varazze is between September and May.
The choice as always is between dedicated comprehensive guidebooks or selective guidebooks covering a wider area. There are comprehensive guidebooks for Mello (Mello Boulder Guidebook), the Daone Valley (Daone Boulder Guidebook) and Varazze (BluBloc Guidebook). Alpen en Bloc 1is a selective guidebook covering the bouldering at Val di Mello, Daone, and Arco, along with other areas in Switzerland. Alpen en Bloc 2 covers 12 areas to the north and east of Bolzano in the Dolomites area of Italy.
All of these guidebooks can be bought from our shop.