The mountain is located about 70 miles north-northeast of Venice, from which it can be seen on a clear day. It consists of a ridge running west to east. Towards the south it breaks suddenly into sheer cliffs, forming a rock face several kilometres long. On the north side there is a comparatively flat glacier, the only large glacier in the Dolomites (the Marmolada Glacier, Ghiacciaio della Marmolada).
The ridge is composed of several summits, decreasing in altitude from west to east: Punta Penia (3,343 m), Punta Rocca (3,309 m), Punta Ombretta (3,230 m), Monte Serauta (3,069 m), and Pizzo Serauta (3,035 m). An aerial tramway goes to the top of Punta Rocca.
Before World War I, the border between Austria and Italy ran over Marmolada, so it formed part of the front line. Austrian soldiers were quartered in deep tunnels bored into the northern face's glacier, and Italian soldiers were quartered on the south face's rocky precipices. As glaciers retreat, soldiers' remains and belongings are occasionally discovered.