Seven of the Most Amazing Hiking Destinations in Italy

4. Alta Via della Valmalenco, Lombardy

hiking valmalenco italy
Sweeping under the noses of some of the Alps’ most famed peaks (Piz Badile, Pizzo Bernina, Piz Cengalo) and passing through some of the most outrageously picturesque mountain scenery imaginable, the High Route (Alta Via) of Valmalenco is perhaps Italy’s most overlooked hiking trail. Fit snug against the Swiss border, the region of Sondrio in which the AV Valmalenco is situated offers some of the best of everything Italy has to offer – minus the crowds .


  • Not nearly as busy as other hiking destinations in Italy
  • Served by a fantastically friendly and convenient hut network
  • Stunning scenery includes close-up views of Pizzo Bernina, Piz Badile, the Scerscen and Palu glaciers
  • A playground for ibex, chamois and wild mountain goats
  • Takes in gorgeous alpine lakes, glacier views and high passes
  • Local dishes pizzocheri, sciatt and bresaola are delicious!
  • Easy and fun via ferrata on Torrione Porro (optional), just above Rifugio Porro-Gerli and Chiareggio.
  • The Marinelli mountain hut (Rifugio Marinelli) below the Scerscen glacier



  • Without a car, transportation to the trailhead from Milan is not the most convenient
  • The heartbreak entailed in leaving the place!
  • Very cold in winter months and routes require full mountaineering equipment

Congestion: Relatively low throughout the year

Ideal Time of Year to Hike: Mid-June to early October (huts open towards the end of June and close mid-September)

Total Distance and Duration: 68 miles, 7-9 days

Trail Uses: Hiking, running, via ferrata (optional)

Dogs Allowed: Yes.

Recommended Gear: Day pack, hiking boots, hat, water purification tablets, sleeping bag liner for huts, ice axe (Piolet style) , via ferrata kit (optional).

Elevation at Trailhead: Torre di Santa Maria, 795m/2,608ft

Max Elevation: 2,983m/9,787ft.

Total Height Gain: Around 6, 500m/21,325ft.

Costs: Around $45 per night for mountain huts (bed and breakfast) and none if wild camping or staying in unmanned mountain huts (bivacci).

Directions: From Milan, follow the directions for Lecco. From Lecco, take the SS36 in the direction of Sondrio/Bormio before joining the SS38 at Colico. Leave the SS38 in Sondrio and, on Via dello Stadio, take the left (first exit) at the roundabout and follow the road towards Torre di Santa Maria/Chiareggio/Lanzada. At Lanzada, turn left on the roundabout and follow the road until you see the red waymarking signs. At the far end of the town you’ll find the trailhead, where free parking is available.

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