Louise Atkinson, 55, had intended to take an easier route but soon realised she had taken a treacherous wrong turn so tried to retrace her steps, but lost her balance.
Her partner, John Dickinson, 58, called the Italian mountain rescue at 2.15pm on Sunday.
Her body was found by an air ambulance in the Catinaccio massif near the town of Bolzano and doctors say she tragically died after hitting her head on the rocks below.
The couple inadvertently ended up along a “Via Ferrata”, which translates as the iron way and is a way of traversing the mountains using iron cords, rungs and ladders.
Climbers should be fitted with a harness, two karabiners with one always attached to a rung and a helmet to protect their heads from falling rocks.
An alpine rescue official said the route is not particularly challenging but the couple may have been out of their depth after taking the wrong path.
“The couple had intended to take the easy hiking path, the normal route. But they took the wrong trail and ended on a high level via Ferrata,” the official said.
“That’s why she was not clipped onto an iron cable. She had none of the right equipment. They realised their mistake, turned round and at some point she fell.”
The Yorkshire couple had been holidaying in the village of Castelrotto and the route they accidentally took has an ascent and descent of 850 metres and an estimated completion time of five hours.
Dickinson and Atkinson have three children, Matthew, 26, Nicholas, 25, and Oliver, 21.
It is understood that at least two of their sons flew to Italy to retrieve their mother’s body on Monday.
This is the second British catastrophe in Italy in a week. The family of a missing British dad are fearing he is dead after he jumped into a lake to save his son. Aran Chada vanished after leaping into Lake Garda in Italy to rescue his 14-year-old son who got into difficulty while swimming off a hired boat on Friday afternoon, Chada then began to struggle for breath and slipped under the water.
A 55-year-old Italian man died on the same Via Ferrata route on July 16.