The prograde sequence of rare earth minerals recorded in metapelites during regional metamorphism reveals a series of irreversible reactions among silicates and phosphates. In individual samples from the northern Lepontine (Central Alps), allanite is partly replaced by monazite at 560–580 °C. Relic allanite retains its characteristic growth zoning acquired at greenschist facies conditions (430–450 °C). Coexisting monazite and allanite were dated in situ to delimit in time successive stages of the Barrovian metamorphism. In situ sensitive high-resolution ion microprobe (SHRIMP) U-Th-Pb dating of allanite (31.5 ± 1.3 and 29.2 ± 1.0 Ma) and monazite (18.0 ± 0.3 and 19.1 ± 0.3 Ma) constrains the time elapsed between 430–450 °C and 560–580 °C, which implies an average heating rate of 8–15 °C/m.y. Combined with new fission track ages (zircon, 10–9 Ma; apatite, 7.5–6.5 Ma), metamorphic rates of the entire orogenic cycle, from prograde to final cooling, can be reconstructed.