Alexia Canestrari, her five-year-old son and four-year-old daughter were saved on New Years Day from Mount Livata, north-east of Rome, Rai News reported.
Canestrari’s husband, Emanuele Tornaboni, raised the alarm after returning from a day’s skiing to find the trio had still not returned from their walk.
A full-scale search operation was launched, involving mountain rescue, the police, fire brigade and civil protection authorities. Specialist rescue dogs were also brought in from Florence, Rai News said.
Canestrari was found at 4.00am, having left her daughter and son sheltering in a cave while she went to find help. The children were not found until 11.00am, 12 kilometres from where they started the family walk.
Speaking to reporters following the rescue, Tornaboni said it was “a miracle that they are living”.
“They were heroic the entire night, at 1,400 metres with a temperature of minus five,” he was quoted by Rai News as saying.
“Their general condition is excellent: laughing, joking, recounting [the night]."
Five-year-old Manuel slept on a rock while his four-year-old sister, Nicole, dozed against a tree. The children reportedly said they had heard New Year’s Eve fireworks from afar.