The three peaks of Lavaredo, or the “Tre Cime di Lavaredo” in Italian, are three distinctive battlement-like peaks, in the Sexten Dolomites of northeastern Italy. They are probably one of the best-known mountain groups in the Alps, and one of the most photographed in Italy. The three peaks are named, from east to west, "little peak" (Cima Piccola), "big peak" (Cima Grande) and "western peak" (Cima Ovest). The Cima Grande has an elevation of 2,999 metres (9,839 ft). It stands between the Cima Piccola, at 2,857 metres (9,373 ft), and the Cima Ovest, at 2,973 metres (9,754 ft).
Until 1919 the peaks formed part of the border between Italy and Austria. Now they lie on the border between the Italian provinces of South Tyrol and Belluno and still are a part of the linguistic boundary between German-speaking and Italian-speaking majorities. Both communities still battle today about the exact border line.
The surrounding around Tre Cime di Lavaredo and the path leading to the Three Peaks is popular among hikers. There are numerous routes leading from the surrounding communities to and around the peaks. The road that leads to the southern side of the Three Peaks was built during World War I as a transport road by pioneers to support the front troops in that war. Because of this there are a number of fortifications, man-made caves, and commemorative plaques in the area.
The hiking trails wind through numerous lakes surrounded by wild rhododendron, and a malga, and an alpine dairy farm, which may be serving cool glasses of fresh milk. Along the way you will find wildflowers, especially the yellow alpine poppies growing impossibly in the rugged rocky terrain.
The peaks are also great for climbing. The first ascent of the Cima Grande was made in the early 1869. The Cima Ovest was first climbed exactly ten years later, in 1879. The Cima Piccola was conquered two years later on 1881. The partly overhanging northern face of the Cima Grande is considered by climbers to be one of the great north faces of the Alps, and was first climbed in 1933 after an ascent time of 3 days and 2 nights.