Monterosa named after the Monterosa massif is of the highest massifs in the Alps and second only to Mont Blanc in Europe. It is located in a section of the Pennine Alps and straddles the border between Italy from the regional boundaries between Valle d’Aosta and Piedmont and Switzerland. It lies east of the Matterhorn and south-east of the Mischabel Massif. It is the largest massif in the Alps.
As mentioned Monterosa is only second in height after Mont Blanc. It has the highest average altitude in the Alps and in Monterosa there are 9 of the top 20 highest peaks in the Alps. As mentioned, it is located in the Pennine Alps and reaches mostly over Italian territory. The municipalities of Alagna Valsesia, Frachy, Champoluc, Gressoney-La-Trinité & Tache, Gressoney-Saint-Jean, Macugnaga and Valtournenche all reside on the massif between Valle d’Aosta and Piedmonte. The Monterosa massif also partly covers Switzerland in the Swiss municipalities of Saas-Almagell and Zermatt which lie east of Mount Cervino, more famously known as the Matterhorn by German speakers. It is particularly famous for the slope of Macugnaga on its eastern wall. The slope of Macugnaga has the highest prominence of the Alps and is the only one of Himalayan size. Another particularly striking boundary viewable from the ski area is the Valsesian wall, which lies south of the massif in Piemonte and overlooks the village of Alagna Valsesia . On the north side in Switzerland are impressive glaciers called Gornergletscher.
The Punta Dufour, with its 4,634 meters, is the highest peak of Monterosa. It is visible from all of the surrounding countries, and is named after the Swiss General and great cartographer Guillaume-Henri Dufour (1787 – 1875).
On Punta Gnifetti in Monterosa, is the highest mountainside refuge in Europe – the Capanna Regina Margherita which lies at an altitude of 4,554 meters. It is also home to a meteorological station and research centre which studies the effects of high altitude on the human body.
The Monterosa massif is highly visible from a large part of the Po Valley, which runs right across North Italy from Turin to the Adriatic.