We compare lake and alluvial stratigraphy along a frame connecting the southern Alpine foothills and the Adriatic Sea, with the aim of matching the effects of Alpine glaciation and sea-level changes on sedimentation during the last glacial cycle. The palynostratigraphy of Lake Fimon provided proxies for regional vegetation and climate change and was coupled with sediment petrography, loss on ignition and magnetic susceptibility, disentangling alluvial phases from fluvioglacial activity related to culminations of the southeastern Alpine glaciers. The Fimon area was not reached by alluvial fans during the penultimate glacial maximum, nor by the sea transgression during the last interglacial, but a closed lake soon developed at the Eemian onset due to enhanced rainfall. Sea-level fall at glacial inception triggered the entrenchment of the drainage network in the plain reaching the outer Fimon Basin. Slow aggradation, but no sign of fluvioglacial activity, lasted to 38.2 ± 1.45 cal. ka BP, when a major forest withdrawal took place, coeval to the spread of alluvial fans. By 27.5 ± 0.5 cal. ka BP the Fimon Basin was dammed by the Brenta outwash system. The main step of of forest recovery commenced at around (15.8) cal. ka BP, when apex trenching of the outwash fans was triggered by the glacier's decay. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.