My Favorite Intermediate Via Ferratas In The Italian Dolomites

After completing many beginners via ferratas in the Italian Dolomites, it was only natural to challenge me a bit more with some harder routes. 

Today I will be sharing with you my favorite via ferratas, all of which I have personally done, that is good for intermediate-level adventurers. 

Before I get to it though just a quick reminder to you all. Plan well in advance and always carry proper equipment if you are going to tackle an iron path. If you’ve never done one before then jump to my beginner’s guide!

12 Intermediate Via Ferratas In The Dolomites For Adventure Seekers

Although undertaking a via ferrata doesn’t require any prior climbing experience, don’t underestimate the exposure you will face along these routes. 

Almost on every via ferrata there is always at least one memorial plaque, with the names of the victims, who have fallen to their deaths. Too often have I seen daredevils with nothing else but running shoes on their feet, no harness, and no helmet. Do not be one of them, please! 

1. Via ferrata Marino Bianchi

Via ferrata Marino Bianchi - an intermediate iron path in the Italian Dolomites

From the start, all the way to the summit, via ferrata Marino Bianchi is an extravaganza of jaw-dropping vistas. It’s actually one of my personal favorites!

The route takes you to the top of Monte Cristallo di Mezzo, one of the Dolomiti summits reaching over 3000 meters.

I had a pretty interesting experience along the via ferrata Marino Bianchi, as I decided to spend the night in the abandoned rifugio Lorenzi, built on the Staunies saddle, a few hundred meters below the summit. 

This used to be a very busy iron path thanks to the lift system that used to run all the way to the saddle. Since the lift closed in 2016, which significantly prolonged the approach time, the traffic lessened a lot. 

Located nearby (and slightly easier than via ferrata Marino Bianchi) is via ferrata Ivano Dibona. It’s certainly more popular than its bigger brother and they can both be done in conjunction with one another but believe me when I say this: Marino Bianchi should not be missed!

2. Via ferrata Ivano Dibona

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Speaking of via ferrata Ivano Dibona. If it wasn’t for the action-packed Hollywood flick “Cliffhanger” starring Sylvester Stalone, which by the way I still haven’t seen (and not sure if I want to), this route might have been a lot lesser known. 

Via ferrata Ivano Dibona shares the same approach with the previously mentioned Marino Bianchi. They split at Forcella Staunies which marks the location of the slowly decaying yet still incredibly photogenic Rifugio Lorenzi (now closed to the public). 

It’s not an easy undertaking. To complete the whole route you will need to reserve a full day. The distance is 25 kilometers in total and includes a lot of elevation change. There are a lot of World War I relics along the way, including a few small army bunkers worth exploring. 

The highlight of the route is the 30-meter-long suspension bridge (pictured above) perched at almost 3000 meters and hanging above a gully. Stepping onto it guarantees an adrenaline rush. 

3. Via ferrata Giro Del Sorapiss

Via ferrata Giro del Sorapiss - one of the best intermediate level via ferratas in the Italian Dolomites

Giro in Italian means loop and as the name suggests via ferrata Giro Del Sorapiss circuits around the Sorapiss mountain range. It’s a true endurance test, both physically and mentally. 

Proper preparation, some decent map-reading skills, and an adventurous spirit are must-have if you want to tackle this route. Expect a long day – 8 hours minimum (12 hours likely). The best is to plan an overnight stay in the Vandelli mountain refuge, from where the circuit begins, ideally before and after you complete the route. 

The whole loop actually consists of three separate via ferratas. If you are not up for the challenge, you can only choose to do the first one along the route – via ferrata Alfonso Vandelli (pictured above). 

For more details and photos from the via ferrata Giro del Sorapiss click the link. 

4. Via ferrata Delle Scalette (Torre di Toblin)

Summit of Torre di Toblin reached along the intermediate via ferrata Delle Scalette

My own ambition put me at the trailhead of this via ferrata within my first week in the Dolomites. Full of enthusiasm and a little bit too flippantly, I decided to put myself against the challenge and chose via ferrata Torre Di Toblin as my first ever via ferrata. 

I can tell you now that my enthusiasm quickly curbed even though you probably can’t tell from my happy look in the photo above. That victorious smile came after getting to the top in one piece.

For anyone who climbs, this wouldn’t have been scary but for me, who has never spent a day of her life in a climbing gym before, it was a real challenge. Even though the climbing experience isn’t required to scramble along via ferratas, in this case, it would have definitely come in handy. 

Funnily enough, I repeated this route the following year with my friend and found it a lot easier. I guess after gaining all the experience tackling a lot of other ferratas it was kind of expected. For my friend, however, it was her first and she panicked a few times the same way I did the year before. 

5. Via ferrata Merlone

The start of the via ferrata Merlone in the Italian Dolomites

Located on the border of the famous Tre Cime National Park, this via ferrata takes you to the summit of Cima Cadin NE from where you can get a glimpse of the southern faces of Tre Cime (Three Peaks). 

The route can be done as a day trip starting at a parking lot near Lake Antorno, or as an extension to the popular Alta Via 4 – A 6-day hut-to-hut traverse across the Italian Dolomites. 

You will need a good head for heights and ladder climbing experience. Perched on a rung of a ladder, mounted to a cliff face, a few hundred meters above a gully should sound to you as appealing as sitting in your pajamas watching Netflix. 

I have a whole article dedicated to via ferrata Merlone. If you are interested in tackling it, make sure to check it out! 

6. Via ferrata Degli Alpini Al Col Dei Bos

Via ferrata Degli Alpini al col dei Bos

This is great via ferrata if you want to get straight to business. The initial approach to the beginning of the cable section is very short (around 20 minutes). In comparison to the other via ferratas mentioned in this article, it’s nothing. 

Because of it, however, this via ferrata is probably one of the busiest ones in the Dolomites. A lot of guided tour companies take their clients here. 

There is however an easy way to avoid the crowds! Just start early, and by early I mean right after sunrise. You will be treated to some incredible views when the first rays of the sun hit the surrounding peaks! 

For more information and photos from my sunrise excursion along this via ferrata go to my other article. 

7. Via ferrata Oskar Schuster

Via ferrata Oskar Schuster - a fantastic intermediate iron path in the Italian Dolomites

Via ferrata Oskar Schuster takes you through the heart of Sassolungo and Sassopiato, two prominent peaks you can photograph from Alpi di Siusi – one of the most iconic photography spots in the Dolomites. 

This is a really fun and exciting route. The views along the way are adorned with copious spires that are typical for this entire range, very dramatic indeed. 

You can skip part of the initial approach by taking the Sassolungo gondola from the Sella mountain pass, where the route begins. Once you reach the summit of Sassopiato where the cable section ends and descend down the other side, you can pop into rifugio Sassopiato for some well-deserved beer! 

For more details check out my article dedicated to via ferrata Oskar Schuster. 

8. Via ferrata Sentiero Massimiliano

Via ferrata Sentiero Massimiliano in the Rosengarten Nature Park

If like me you’re a sucker for beautiful views, you will love this via ferrata! The majority of it traverses along the ridgeline between two peaks: Dente Grande di Terrarossa and Cima di Terrarossa. 

This is also one of the easier iron paths on this list. Its only downside is the long initial approach. The best way to tackle this via ferrata is to plan an overnight hut stay in the nearby rifugio Alpe di Tires.

Quite recently the hut went through renovations and today it’s one of the nicer-looking huts with the cleanest facilities.

I have a whole article dedicated to via ferrata Sentiero Massimiliano. Make sure to check it out along with the many photos I took. I guarantee that it will make you want to include this via ferrata in your Dolomiti itinerary! 

9. Via ferratas Masarè and Roda de Vaèl

Via ferratas Masarè and Roda de Vaèl

Those two separate via ferratas can easily be done together: via ferratas Masarè and Roda de Vaèl.

Just like the previously mentioned via ferrata Sentiero Massimiliano, these two routes are located in the lesser-known Rosengarten Nature Park in the western part of the Italian Dolomites, but whilst Sentiero Massimiliano is at the northern end, these two lie at its southern end. 

The path takes you to the summit of Roda de Vaèl, where you get an excellent view into the heart of the Rosengarten group to the North.

For the most part, these via ferratas stay at a beginner level, but there are a couple of sections, one including scaling a vertical wall equipped with stemples, that puts this route on par with other intermediate via ferratas on this list. Check out the link above for more photos and a detailed route description. 

10. Via Ferrata Michielli Strobel

The highest point of the via ferrata Michieli Strobel in the Italian Dolomites

Via ferrata Michielli Strobel takes you to one of the summits in the Pomagagnon ridgeline where you get an elevated view of Cortina D’ampezzo, right in the heart of the Dolomites. 

This is one of the easier via ferratas on this list, so if you think the beginner-level routes are too easy for you, but you are not sure whether you are just there yet to try something harder, then this route is your answer!

It’s also a good ferrata for hotter days as a lot of it stays in shade, providing you start early in the morning. With that said you should always plan your excursions for as early as possible to guarantee the best views. By mid-afternoon, the summits are often covered in clouds. 

11. Via ferrata delle Bocchette Centrali

Via ferrata Bocchette Centrali in the Brenta Group of the Italian Dolomites

This is the only ferrata on this list, which can be found in the lesser-known Adamello Brenta Group of the Italian Dolomites. 

I have completed this ferrata as part of the multiday traverse of the Brenta group and it quickly became one of my favorites. The steep ledges coupled with the low-rising clouds and early morning mist have added to the mystery of this place. 

The route runs between two mountain huts: Alimonta and Pedrotti and takes around 3 hours to complete. It’s best if done in conjunction with other ferratas in the Brenta group over a few days.

12. Via ferrata Brigata Tridentina

A climber along the via ferrata Brigata Tridentina in the Italian Dolomites

A true classic of the area, via ferrata Brigata Tridentina attracts a lot of adventurers on a daily basis.

The starting point of this route is just a few kilometers away from Passo Gardena – one of the most photogenic mountain passes in the Dolomites. 

The loop takes only 3 hours to complete, but the climbing is quite steep and exposed. 80% of the way up you will get to a very cool suspension bridge but the main objective is to reach rifugio Pisciadu, where you can stop for lunch before the descent back to the parking lot.  

For those craving more adventure you can extend the route and go to the top of Cima Pisciadu. This will add another 2 hours, but the views will more than makeup for the effort. 

Shop my via ferrata gear essentials

Black Diamond Helmet

Rockfall is a major concern on via ferrata routes. Unbeknownst to you, other climbing groups above you may accidentally dislodge a small rock and send it hurtling down the mountain. If it hits you on the head it could have serious consequences. A helmet placed on your head (not inside your backpack) is a must! 

Shop on: Amazon / Backcountry (US) / Bergfreunde (Europe)

71gKk4U+f2S. AC SL1500

Black Diamond Momentum Harness

Another must-have on a via ferrata route is a climbing harness. A harness works as an anchor point for your via ferrata lanyard. Make sure to try it on first before your trip to ensure it fits snugly without limiting your movements. Aim for a lightweight harness, that will be comfy to wear between the cable-protected sections when you are hiking.

Shop Women’s on Amazon / Backcountry (US) / Bergfreunde (Europe)

Shop Men’s on Amazon / Backcountry (US) / Bergfreunde (Europe)

edelrid basis cable kit special via ferrata set

Edelrid, Camp or Black Diamond Via Ferrata Lanyard

A via ferrata lanyard connects the climber and their harness to the cables along the route. Its two arms and a hidden extra coil work as an energy absorption system in case of a fall, by reducing the stress on the climber. The two carabiners at the end of the lanyard are used to clip into the cable. Make sure the carabiners are equipped with the palm squeeze mechanism. It’s the safest and most comfortable.

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91P0f6XnFML. AC SL1500

Black Diamond Crag Gloves

The gloves are meant to protect your hands from any cuts and scratches you may otherwise get if you haul yourself on the cable without them. Personally, I prefer full-fingered gloves for extra protection against blisters.

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salewa womens wildfire edge approach shoes detail 6

Salewa Wildfire Edge Approach Shoes

My go-to pair of hiking shoes for easier trails or via ferrata, where I don’t need extra ankle support. They provide excellent grip on the rock and are very durable.

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reeloq

Reeloq Smartphone Securing System

If you want to be able to take great photos on a via ferrata and not worry about losing your phone, Reeloq is the best tool for it. It’s a smartphone-securing system, that will allow you to use your phone on any of your adventures. This has been a great addition to my tool arsenal.

Shop on: REELOQ (Europe only)

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Marta
Marta

Hi! I am the photographer and creator of www.inafarawayland.com. I come from Poland, but I've been living, travelling and working around the globe since I turned 18. A few years ago, during one of my trips to Scotland, I bought my first DSLR and my adventure with photography began. When I am not stuck to my computer editing photos, you can find me hiking somewhere in the mountains.

6 Comments

  1. Thank you for an excellent overview of Dolomite’s Ferratas. Just wondered if there is a location you’d recommend to use as a base to cover all or most of your ferrata paths?? Many thanks Radka

    • Hi Radka. Thanks for visiting my site. Unfortunately it’s not possible to stay in just one location to cover all of the ferratas, but you can for example base yourself in Val Pusteria or somewhere near Tre Cime Park and cover the via ferratas there. Follow the links for my new articles which cover both areas and tell you what ferratas are doable in those areas. I hope that helps!

  2. Hi Marta,

    First of all: I really love your writings about the Dolomites. They inspired me to do the Alta Via 2 last year! It was such an amazing experience that I will go again in a couple of weeks. The first five days I will do the alta via 4 but then want to spend 3 days doing some via ferrata’s.

    I am really impressed by Marino Bianchi and Ivano Dibona and would love to do them back-to-back. However, I saw that rifugio Lorenzi is closed. In the description of via ferrata Marino Bianchi you said that you’ve spent the night there. Is it possible? Is it accessible or how did you manage to stay there?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Jan. Thanks for visiting and your lovely comment. Yes I carried my camping equipment and my plan was to camp on the Staunies Pass however when I made it up there we discovered a tiny winter room which was a part of the refuge. That was already 4 years ago! You have to bear in mind that with each passing season the refuge decays more and more. There is going to come a time when it will either have to be dismantled or it will be swept away. Already 4 years ago its terrace was quite sketchy in a few places. Whilst the winter room might still be ok you need to come prepared it won’t be.

      What you can do is stay in rifugio Son Forca the night before then head out to do via ferrata Marino Bianchi come down and head to the other side of Forcella Staunies to do a part of VF Ivano Dibna (most people go to the bridge and back) then head back down the same way you came. I will be honest with you. I thought Marino Bianchi ferrata was better than ID. Then was you are down you can stay another night in rifugio Son Forca or just take the chairlift down to the parking lot. Let me know if that helps and if you have more questions!

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