The Dolomites are a group of limestone Mountains in northeast Italy that provide big wall routes up to 800m long. There is an abundance of classic routes at all grades many of which can be reached with fairly short walks from the road. In terms of length of route relative to approach time this makes the Dolomites some of the best value rock climbing worldwide. There are also many single pitch sports routes crags in the area as well as the classic Via Ferrata routes.
The Italian Alps offer a great range of climbing styles, in fantastic locations. The Tellina Valley (Valtellina) has 1000’s of routes from single pitch sport routes to long alpine multi-pitch routes on clean and solid granite rock. This is particularly true of the rock climbing found in Mello, which is also famous for its excellent bouldering. The Orco Valley (Valle dell' Orco) is famous for its multi-pitch granite crack climbing, which is said to be the best in the Western European Alps. The style of climbing involves plenty of splitter cracks, delicate slabs and some excellent face climbs across a wide range of grades, which can accessed with minimal walk-ins.
The Aosta Valley is situated in the North West corner of the Italian Alps at the entrance from the Mont Blanc Tunnel. Here there are many single pitch and multi-pitch rock routes around the towns of Courmayeur, Travagnasco, Morex, Aosta, Nus, Saint-Vincent, Point Saint Martin, and Verres.
Bouldering in northern Italy
There are many world-class bouldering areas, with the most famous being Val di Mello, where the annual Mello Blocco festival takes place. Cimaganda and the Daone Valley are also popular bouldering areas in northern Italy. The majority of the bouldering is on either excellent granite, gneiss or limestone rock, across a wide range of grades.
Rock climbing in Arco, near Lake Garda, is slightly further south than the Dolomites, lower lying, and therefore has a milder climate. Here there are around 80 limestone crags providing everything from single pitch sport routes to many multi-pitch routes. Many of these multi-pitch routes are around 200m to 600m long with some big walls up to 1,400m long.
Lake Como and Lecco
The limestone crags that rise out of Lake Como near Lecco offer a great range of rock climbing from single pitch sport routes to long multi-pitch routes up to 500m long that demand a mountaineering approach. In all there are 65 crags to choose from and 1000's of routes at all grades.
Around Genova and Finale Ligure
Finale Ligure has a reputation as "the" place to go rock climbing in Italy with over 2000 routes in the area. This is part due to the pleasant setting on the Mediterranean coast near France, easily accessible crags in beautiful locations where it is enjoyable to climb from the autumn right through to early summer. The rock climbing at Finale Ligure is mainly single pitch sport routes on good quality limestone, with some bolted multi-pitch routes up to 250m long.
The area around Genova offers many more rock climbing areas within the Luguria district of Italy. To the east of Genova there is the dramatic sea cliff climbing at Muzzerone. Here there are single pitch and multi-pitch routes across all grades from slabs to fierce overhangs. Further east is Bismantova, where a huge sandstone buttress provides bolted multi-pitch routes between 100m and 150m long.
To the west of Finale and slightly inland there is a series of valleys that have become known as the OltreFinale crags. Together this combined area has 80 climbing sectors and hundreds of routes across a wide range of grades on solid limestone rock.
This small village embedded in the Mediterranean Alps offers easy accessible sport climbing with over 200 routes at all grades. There is also another village called Vernante, which is close by that has two further crags and 140 sport climbing routes. This area is close to the rock climbing at Finale Ligure.
Pisa and Tuscany. Tuscany is well known for its beautiful landscapes, medieval villages and its rich artistic legacy. Within this beautiful landscape there are many fantastic crags that offer a wide range of rock climbing, from single pitch sport to multi-pitch bolted routes up to 550m long on limestone rock. The island of Elba is one of those magic places where it is possible to combine a climbing holiday with family and friends. The island offers everything from bolted sea cliff climbing to multi-pitch routes, with many mid-range climbs (F5’s through to low F7’s) on granite rock.
Rock Climbing in the Marches Region
The Marches region of Italy is a popular holiday destination. Behind the towns of Ancona, Urbino, Pesaro, and Ascoli Piceno are the Umbria-Marches Apennines. Here there are over 40 sport climbing crags with routes to suit all styles and across a wide range of grades.
Rock Climbing around Trieste
Napoleonica located just outside of Trieste, and Val Rosandra located close to the Slovenian border offer a good range of single pitch and multi-pitch sports routes at all grades. There is also some excellent rock climbing just across the border in Slovenia at Osp and within an hour's drive there is the excellent Istria region in northern Croatia. The combination of these three areas offers plenty of rock climbing, at all grades, for at least a couple of weeks. It is also possible to climb at many of the crags throughout the majority of the year.