Tree rings from temperature-limited environments are highly sensitive climate proxies, widely used to reconstruct past climate parameters for periods prior to the availability of instrumental data and to analyse the effect of recent global warming on tree growth. An analysis of the climatic signal in five high-elevation tree-ring width chronologies of European larch (Larix decidua Mill.) from the tops of five different glacial valleys in the Italian Central Alps revealed that they contain a strong summer-temperature signal and that tree-ring growth is especially influenced by June temperatures. However, a moving correlation function analysis revealed a recent loss of the June temperature signal in the tree-ring chronologies. This signal reduction primarily involves the two lowest-altitude chronologies. It is probable that the observed increasing importance of late-summer temperature for tree-ring growth over the past 50 yr is an effect of the lengthening growing season and of the variations in the climate/tree-ring relationship over time. All the chronologies considered, especially those at the highest altitudes, show an increasing negative influence of June precipitation on tree-ring growth. The climatic signal recorded in tree-ring chronologies from the Italian Central Alps varies over time and is also differentially influenced by climatic parameters according to site elevation.