From the Dolomites to the Italian Alps, Mont Blanc to Mount Etna, Italy has an eclectic range of peaks to be conquered. Few mountain ranges rival the sheer beauty of the jagged rose-tinted Dolomites – peaks that dazzle poets and hikers alike. With several national parks and a stunning amount of wild places, alpine meadows and bucolic valleys dotted by wooden houses and vineyards, this is hiking heaven. And stunning for snowshoeing in winter too.
The best way to hike Mont Blanc is to take on the Tour de Mont Blanc which, being a tripartite triumph of nature, is shared between Italy, France and Switzerland. The highest peak in Western Europe, it has seven main valleys feeding off it inviting some of the world’s finest hiking. It’s covered in snow and ice all year round so, although ascent trips are available, most people hike the Tour de Mont Blanc, a 170km lower level circuit, the Italian gateway being Courmayeur. The rest of the Italian Alps are not to be ignored, however, for hiking, with cable cars taking you up to the high mountain regions in Orobie Bergamasche Park, overlooking the two Italian Alpine peaks of Monte Legnone and Pizzo Tre Signori. Trek down valleys such as Valbiandino, and along ridges leading to glacially gorgeous lakes.
For the hottest of peaks, head to Sicily for a truly ‘active’ Aeolian archipelago expedition, staying in a mountain hut on the slopes of Mt. Etna, hike around Lipari, to the crater of Vulcano. Or go wild and take on a night hike on Stromboli to see the sparks flying out. You can even snowshoe here in winter. Fire and ice. Very, very nice.