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Alps by SOIUSA.

SOIUSA (an acronym for Suddivisione Orografica Internazionale Unificata del Sistema Alpino - English: International Standardized Mountain Subdivision of the Alps-ISMSA[1]) is a proposal for a new classification system of the Alps from the geographic and toponomastic point of view. It was designed by Sergio Marazzi, Italian researcher and author of the Orographic Atlas of the Alps SOIUSA. His book was presented with the patronage of the Italian Alpine Club on 23 Jan 2006,[2] but has yet to receive any formal acceptance.


The SOIUSA is an interpretation by Marazzi of the terrain of the Alps aiming to replace the traditional way the Alps were partitioned in Italy, the Partizione delle Alpi, which was adopted in 1926 by the Italian National Geographic Committee (Comitato Geografico Nazionale ) after the IX Italian Geographic Congress (Congresso Geografico Italiano).[3] SOIUSA takes into account the European geographic literature normalizing and standardizing the different national classification systems in use. It was publicly presented in a lecture organized by the Italian Alpine Club's Milan conference of 6 April 2006,[4] following the publication of Marazzi's book.


Pyramid by SOIUSA.

The SOIUSA introduces the bipartition of the Alpine System (Western Alps and Eastern Alps) replacing the old tripartite division (Western Alps, Central Alps and Eastern Alps) by a multilevel pyramidal hierarchy according to identical scales and rules.

Mountain groups higher level: fractionated with morphological and altimetric benchmark taking into account the historical and geographical regions in the Alps.

Mountain groups lower level: divided with a benchmark mountaineering.

  • 333 supergroups (SPG) (de:Supergruppen; fr:super-groupes; it:supergruppi; sl:nadskupina).
  • 870 groups (GR) (de:Gruppen; fr:groupes; it:gruppi; sl:skupine).
  • 1625 subgroups (STG) (de:Untergruppen; fr:sous-groupes; it:sottogruppi; sl:podskupine).

(With some relative sectors (SR) intermediate to groups above)

To any alpine mountain can be assigned a SOIUSA code, which shows to what part, sector, section, subsection, supergroup, group and subgroup the mountain belongs.


SOIUSA parametres for Pointe Sommeiller (Fr) / Punta Sommeiller (It) are:

Main part:Western Alps
 Major sector:Southwestern Alps
  Section:Cottian Alps
   Subsection:Northern Cottian Alps
    Supergroup:chaîne Bernaude-Pierre Menue-Ambin (Fr) /
               catena Bernauda-Pierre Menue-Ambin (It) 
     Group:groupe d'Ambin (Fr) /
           gruppo d'Ambin (It) 
      Subgroup:crête Sommeiller-Vallonetto (Fr) /
               sottogruppo Sommeiller-Vallonetto (It) 


Names of higher level groups are given in the four main languages spoken in the Alps (German, French, Italian, Slovene) and in English, while lower level groups are just named in the language/languages of the concerned country/countries.


Northern Cottian Alps subsection (STS.4.III ) is also called:

Nördliche Cottishche Alpen (De),
Alpes du Mont Cenis (Fr),
Alpi del Moncenisio (It),
Severne Kotijske Alpe (Sl).

Ambin group, located on the French-Italian border, is just referred as:

Groupe d'Ambin (Fr) and
Gruppo d'Ambin (It).

Western Alps[edit]

SOIUSA western Alps' sections.

From the line Savona - Bocchetta di Altare - Montezemolo - Mondovì to the line Rhine - Splügen Pass - Lake Como - Lake Lecco;[6] they are divided in 14 sections (in brackets their highest summit).

Southwestern Alps[edit]

Northwestern Alps[edit]

Eastern Alps[edit]

SOIUSA eastern Alps' sections.

From the line Rhine - Splügen Pass - Lake Como - Lake Lecco[6] to the line Vienna-Sopron-Köszeg-Graz-Maribor and Godovič Pass; they are divided in 22 sections (in brackets their highest summit).

Central-eastern Alps[edit]

Northeastern Alps[edit]

Southeastern Alps[edit]

See also[edit]

References and footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Marazzi (2005), p. 55
  2. ^ Milano: con il patrocinio del CAI presentato l'Atlante Origrafico delle Alpi, notice about the book presentation, Press Office of the Italian Alpine Club,, accessed in May 2012
  3. ^ Archivio veneto, VV.AA., Deputazione di storia patria per le Venezie, 1971
  4. ^ SOIUSA conference, Milan,, notice about the IAC conference including the SOIUSA lecture, accessed in May 2012
  5. ^ Marazzi (2012)
  6. ^ a b Lake Lecco is the name of the southeastern branch of Lake Como, ending with the city of Lecco


  • Marazzi, Sergio; Grimm, Peter; Mattmüller, Claus R; Zahn, Paul; Jurgalski, Eberhard (2004), Die Gebirgsgruppen der Alpen:Ansichten, Systematiken und Methoden zur Einteilung der Alpen. Die orographischen einteilungen der Alpen und die IVOEA, German and Austrian Alpine Clubs, (German/English) Munich, pp. 69–96 .
  • Marazzi, Sergio (1991). Atlante orografico del monte Bianco, Priuli & Verlucca.
  • Marazzi, Sergio (2005). Atlante Orografico delle Alpi. SOIUSA, Priuli & Verlucca, ISBN 978-88-8068-273-8.
  • Marazzi, Sergio (2012). SOIUSA - Suddivisione orografica internazionale unificata del Sistema Alpino , on-line article at, accessed on 7 Feb 2012