Monte Rosa is Italys second highest mountain and is located about 10 kilometres south-east of the Matterhorn - although note that the summit itself, at 4634 metres above sea-level, is in Switzerland.
It is a great mass of a mountain at the head of the Valsesia, Gressoney and Ayas valleys, and its size and bulk provides a stark contrast to the elegant simplicity of its near neighbour.
As with the other important mountains in the region, a popular way for 'non-mountaineers' to explore is to follow one of the organised trips that follows around the base of the Monte Rosa, a trek that usually takes around ten days. Although you avoid the need to climb to the summit on this route it is still reasonably challenging with several mountain passes to be crossed.
For those who don't want to spend 10 days trekking there are plenty of opportunities to get good views of the mountain from the valleys below.
The village standing at the bottom of the sheer cliff to the east of Monte Rosa is Macugnana.
The villages in the valleys below Monte Rosa are more Germanic than Italian in character, and occupied by the Walsers - these people have a fascinating history within the valley, that you can learn about at the museum in Pedemonte, a short walk from Alagna.
Wherever you travel in the region around the mountain you will see the unusual wooden houses that the Walsers occupy, much unchanged since their arrival in the 13th century.
Alagna is also a most popular place to stay among hikers and outdoor enthusiasts who visit the region. Of course many of the walks are challenging and need proper equipment and experience. A couple of cable cars in the vicinity allow the less adventurous among us to access the high mountains.
Other popular resorts in the Monte Rosa region include those at Champoluc, Brusson and Gressoney-St-Jean (which also has a small museum about the wildlife you might encounter)