Situated in the Aosta Valley, the region has become a secluded getaway for lovers of all things alpine, providing some of the best skiing in Italy while simultaneously showcasing the unique culture of the area.
Discover – Italy’s Mountain Retreat
Situated on the border between France and Switzerland, Valle d’Aosta is within arm’s reach of some of Europe’s highest mountains, with the Matterhorn and the Mont Blanc beckoning the more intrepid mountaineers. The Aosta Valley is also home to numerous castles, with many beset by dramatic scenery.
Historically built within close proximity to each other, Valle d’Aosta’s castles provide a great cultural alternative for those looking to mix up their outdoor centric activities. The Fénis Castle, one of the regions most popular, provides a great day trip for those looking to take a break from the areas skiing or hiking. Dating back to 1242 and having been updated in the late 19th century, the castle offers great views of the surrounding valley and has numerous impressive tapestries.
The region’s principal city, Aosta, has become a showcase of area’s bilingualism and Valdostan culture. With many residents speaking Italian and French, the city retains much of the daily nuances embedded to it by the conquering French and Savoy armies that once called the city home. The Aosta Cathedral, the largest in the city, provides a great cultural showcase of Aosta’s past. Built in the 11th century and subsequently modified in the 16th century, the cathedral demonstrates both Romanesque and Neoclassical styles, each playing a key role in buildings final construction.
The ski resort of Courmayeur, the fashionable Italian cousin to Chamonix, acts as a great way to discover the essence of the Italian ski trip. Regarded as one of the most elegant ski destinations in Europe, the town of Courmayeur provides great skiing intertwined with fantastic people watching and even better après-ski. During the summer months, Courmayeur becomes a mecca for hikers, with the Tour du Mont Blanc and Alta Via trails both starting from the town.
Visit – Europe’s Highest Vineyards
Having some of the highest vineyards in Europe, Valle D’Aosta and its viniculture are largely shaped by the surrounding mountain and the diverse climate it creates. With dry and often quite warm summers, the region has been able to maintain a wine industry that is largely reliant on the resourcefulness of the producers, guaranteeing that the grapes are able to withstand the often-dramatic weather changes associated with the Alps.
Taste – Cure Meats and Alpine Cheese
With a culture intertwined with that of its rural past, Valle D’Aosta and its once agricultural population have relied heavily on the regions abundance of wild game and locally sourced dairy. This is widely reflected in many of the local specialties that have emerged from the region, reflecting not just the regions past but its cultural integration with that of its French neighbor.
Fontina cheese, widely regarded as one Valle D’Aosta most iconic dairy products, received a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) showcasing the importance the cheese has played among Valle D’Aosta cuisine and Northern Italian culture. Tracing its roots to the 12th century, Fontina follows a rigorous process before it receives its PDO designation. Utilizing specially selected cows and only fed certain varieties of grass, the whole milk helps provide the specific flavour associated with the cheese. This rigorous quality control has allowed Fontina to become one of Northern Italy’s most iconic dairy products.
The Valle D’Aosta Jambon de Bosses, a PDO product, represents the regions strong ties with cured meats. Originating from the town of Saint-Rhémy-en-Bosses, the cured ham is often spiced with herbs originating from the surrounding mountains. The ham derives its unique flavors in large part from the use of Thyme and Juniper, as well as the Alpine climate, providing the necessary environment for the meat to cure and deliver its unique taste. The curing process similarly imbues the ham its unique aroma.
Flagship wine grapes
- Petit Rouge
Flagship wine appellations
- Valle d’Aosta DOC
Wine-related activities in the region
- Wine and food pairing
- Discovery ride
Arnad :The Lard Festival: the town of Arnad celebrates the “Féhta dou lar”, a tradition that has been ongoing for nearly thirty years and attracts thousands of tourists (August).
Aymavilles: Châteaux Ouverts: Free guided tours, without reservation of some prestigious rooms of Aymavilles castle on the ground floor and on the main floor (August).
Gressoney-Saint-Jean, Issogne, Saint-Pierre, Sarre, Verrès: Châteaux en musique: The thirteenth edition of the travelling cultural exhibition “Châteaux en musique” features a series of concerts held in some of the most enchanting castles in the Aosta Valley (July – September).
Gran Paradiso Natural Park: The Tor des Géants: Race covering an entire region, running along its spectacular paths at the foot of the highest Four-Thousanders in the Alps (September).