'Via Ferrata' is Italian for 'Iron Way'. In the WW1 the Dolomite mountains formed the frontier between Austria and Italy. The italian army used the mountains as observation posts, and installed fixed cables and iron rung ladders to enable their troops to move safely. They provide an excellent way to cover ground not normally accessible without being a competent rock climber and provide great views and exposure without most of the risks of rock climbing.
Via Ferrata are now created throughout the Alps, Spain and Sweden for the enjoyment of tourists. Most traverse or ascend large limestone cliffs and gorges using suspension bridges, metal ladders and rungs cemented into the rock. Steel cables are provided for you to clip into for safety.
The following links go to other peoples homepages and areas where Via Ferrata are to be found. We tried some in the French Alps and Brenta Dolomites last summer, which was a pretty amazing experience!
Paul's excellent Dolomites Via Ferrata page
Colletts Mountain Holidays
Topos and other useful info for french Via Ferrata
İMark Page 2001