Explore Italy Regions with this map
Perennially whitewashed by the snow and set like a pearl between France and Switzerland, the Aosta Valley can be reached on the Italian territory from the South East, through Piedmont.
Modeled by ancient glaciers and surrounded by some of the highest mountains in Europe, it is known for its peaks over 4000 meters high: Matterhorn, Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa and Gran Paradiso. Courmayeur and Cervinia are among the most important ski resorts where you can ski even in summer or play golf at 2000 meters. Do not miss the ascension to the rooftop of Europe, thanks to the ultra-modern Skyway Monte Bianco cable car. This attraction starts at 1,300 meters at Courmayeur (Pontal d’Entrèves) and rises up to 3,466 meters at Punta Helbronner: a 360 ° fascinating journey to the rooftop of Europe.
Even today, traveling along the Valle, the function of bulwark and defense preserved for centuries can be clearly seen: a dense geographical quilted map of numerous medieval manors and mighty fortified castles. Scattered in just over 3000 square km, they almost appear to be one with the nature that surrounds them, making the landscape even more suggestive.
Ancient roads lead to the discovery of the primitive and defensive manors of the 11th-12th centuries or those with increasingly residential features built from 1300 onwards. They can be reached by car, bicycle, horseback, or even aboard nice carriages. These are the castles of Arnad, Bard, Issogne, Pont-Saint-Martin, Verrès in the Lower Valley. Those of Chatillon, Fénis, Nus, Quart, Saint-Denis, Saint-Marcel lie in the Central Valley. Aymavilles, Introd, La Salle, Morgex, Saint-Pierre, Sarriod de la Tour, Sarre, Savoy Castle can be found in the Upper Valley.
In the deep north and in the heart of the valley, we find the unmissable Aosta, the ancient Augusta Praetoria founded in the first century BC by the Romans, who in 500 years of domination left traces still striking and evocative today for those who cross the mighty Roman Bridge and reach the square dominated by the Arch of Augustus. They can be evidenced for those who come across the Porta Praetoria to reach the Roman Theater with its surviving south facade 22 meters high, or for those visiting the Forum and its singular and fascinating Cryptoporticus.
Walking through time, you can admire the evocatively marked testimonies of almost five millennia of history, from the final moments of the Neolithic to the present day. Inside the megalithic area, one of the most interesting archaeological sites in Europe found in 1969. An outdoor sanctuary intended for the cult of the living, took on funeral functions in the last centuries of the third millennium BC. Hosting at least 24 wooden totem poles oriented from North East to South West was then replaced by more than 46 imposing anthropomorphic steles, the first true manifestation of megalithism in this area, refined masterpieces of prehistoric statuary.
Excursions, well being and relaxation
The colorful excursions between castles and archaeological city walks in the Valley alternate with breaks of well-being and relaxation. Ancient roots characterize the devotion to health and body care. Among enchanted scenarios in every season of the year, in the Valley there are the Saint-Vincent spas, with a curative vocation since the eighteenth century, flanked by a modern wellness center. The Pré-Saint-Didier spas, already known in Roman times, where even under a heavy snowfall, you can relax outdoors in the natural setting of great beauty of the garden. It is blessed with three outdoor thermal pools and saunas in wooden huts with panoramic views of the Mont Blanc chain. For an alternative evening, the fun is at the Casino de la Vallée in Saint Vincent, one of the largest and most prestigious casinos in Europe. It’s privileged position in the heart of the Aosta Valley offers its guests many games in environments of great design and refinement.
Ski and off-trail hiking
Those who love the to hit the slopes have the opportunity to explore 23 ski resorts, 800 kilometers of slopes, ten snow parks and exciting off-trail itineraries that can be reached with the ski lifts or by helicopter from the heli-ski bases. As a bonus the slopes at the foot of the Matterhorn you can even ski in summer!
The extreme thrill seekers will appreciate the natural and artificial rock gyms and via ferratas.
Demanding guests will also find various circuits to practice golf and practice fields for training, which allow you to play in unique alpine environments, such as the Gressoney Monte Rosa Golf Club or the Ayas Golf practice course, just a few minutes in the famous tourist resort. Champoluc and the Matterhorn Golf Club.
Landascapes, flora and fauna of the protected areas
In Valle d’Aosta, the Gran Paradiso National Park (the oldest in Italy) has three visitor centers: Cogne, Valsavarenche and Rhêmes-Notre-Dame. In every season it is possible to admire the various naturalistic aspects of the area protected through a network for road excursions thanks to specific programs for the protection of fauna, in particular the ibex, the golden eagle and the bearded vulture – a large vulture that disappeared in 1912 and returned to the Alps thanks to an international project.
A small but very rich cashet full of decisive and unforgettable aromas and flavors!
This evocative land is difficult to work due to its morphological and climatic characteristics, but thanks to the industriousness and tenacity that distinguishes its inhabitants, the Valle d’Aosta today boasts an enviable list of white and red wines, a delicious range of cheeses and cold cuts and rare and ancient dishes.
Among the CURED MEATS (Salamis), in addition to the DOP Lardo d’Arnad, aged in chestnut or oak oils with spices and mountain herbs, we find the Vallée d’Aoste Jambon de Bosses Dop, a raw ham spiced with mountain herbs, produced at 1600 meters above sea level in the homonymous town of Saint-Rhémy-en-Bosses, in the Gran San Bernardo Valley which hosts the festival dedicated to this typical product on the second Sunday of July.
Unique are the boudin, great classics of the Aosta Valley tradition that are still prepared according to ancient recipes with a mixture of boiled potatoes, lard cubes, red beets, spices, natural flavors and wine.
Among the wines a particular charm distinguishes the Blanc de Morgex et de la Salle DOC, made from grapes harvested in the highest vineyards in Europe, at the foot of the imposing Mont Blanc massif, but also the Aosta Valley wine produced today in greater quantity, Vallée d’Aoste Torrette DOC, a harmonious red, with a dry flavor, ideal with local savory meats, roasts and game, but also with original salami and aged cheeses.
Vallée d’Aoste Nus Rouge DOC has very ancient origins, according to legend as far back as Pontius Pilate. It goes perfect with meat, motsetta or the well-known Fontina cheese accompanied by black bread.