Via Ferrata is Italian for “iron road”, being literally a steel cable and bars attached to otherwise impassable face of a cliff, making it traversable for anybody above the age of 15, physically capable and in a sane state of mind (or insane, if you ask me). It’s considered safer than rock climbing, but with higher chances of injury in case of a fall. Whatever safety grading system that is.
Via ferrata became popular during the First World War, not for recreational purposes, but to aid troops move around the Dolomites. Nowadays there are over a 1000 via ferratas in the world, majority of them in the Alps, all of varying length, difficulty and the “scare factor”.