Val d’Aosta is a mainly mountainous region of northern Italy. It is bordered by France to the West, Switzerland to the North and the region of Piedmont to the South and East. The regional capital is Aosta.
Valle d’Aosta / The Aosta Valley , is a mountainous region in north-western Italy. It is bordered by France to the west, Switzerland to the north and the region of Piedmont to the south and east, it is the smallest, least populous, and least densely populated region of Italy and is the only Italian region which has no provinces. The native population speak Valdôtain, a form of Franco-Provençal (Arpitan), as their first language, while in the Lys Valley there is a Walser German speaking minority. The regional capital is Aosta. The Aosta Valley is an Alpine valley that with its side valleys includes the Italian slopes of Monte Bianco, Monte Rosa and the Matterhorn; its highest peak is Monte Bianco (the Mont Blanc).
The Aosta Valley remained agricultural and pastoral until the construction of dams to harness the potential of its hydroelectric power brought metal-working industry to the region. Agriculture has become increasingly specialised, retaining only a marginal interest in cereals, potatoes and fruit. Wines of high – and rising – quality are produced in small quantities. All are entitled to the Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC). Animal feed crops supply the region’s dairy herds which are pastured in the high Alps during the summer period. The region’s cheeses are renowned throughout Italy.
Tourism is one of the strongest points of the region’s economy. The valley’s natural beauty, its peaceful atmosphere in summer and snow in winter have allowed the development of a flourishing tourist industry and especially winter sports, most famously at Courmayeur and Cervinia.The upper Aosta Valley is the traditional southern starting-point for the tracks, then roads, which divided here to lead over the Alpine passes. The road through the Great St Bernard Pass (or today the Great St Bernard Tunnel) leads to Martigny, Valais, and the one through the Little St Bernard Pass to Bourg-Saint-Maurice, Savoie. Today Aosta is joined to Chamonix in France by the Mont Blanc Tunnel, a road tunnel on European route E25 running underneath the Alps.
Thermal Baths A great year-round activity in Valle d’Aosta is a visit to the Thermes de Pre Sant-Didier. Incredibly relaxing in a beautiful setting overlooking Monte Bianco. See website for current prices and hours. Open late on Friday and Saturday evenings for nights under the stars. Website.
Rock climbing:- There are crags bolted for sport climbing all over the area between them offering climbs at all grades, and at lengths from 10m to over 350m.
Punta Helbronner – Funivie Monte Bianco.At the Pointe Helbronner station, at an altitude of 3500 meters above sea level, a circular scenic terrace of 14 meters in diameter will be constructed, so as to offer tourists a unique 360 degree view of the Mont Blanc summit (4810 m), the Dent du Géant, Grandes Jorasses and the stunning Vallée Blanche.
Fenis Castle/Castello di Fenis is an Italian medieval castle located in the town of Fénis, not far from Aosta. It is one of the most famous castles in Aosta Valley, and for its architecture and its many towers and battlemented walls has become one of the major tourist attractions of the region.
Welcome to planet snow, a paradise for skiers and nature lovers, blue skies and a 360° panorama overlooking Europe’s highest peaks from Mont Blanc to Gran Paradiso and as far as Monte Rosa! Pila is a modern ski resort, always up to date with innovation and in continual evolution. It is also easy to reach – an 18 minute cable car ride away from Aosta for a holiday blending sport, history, culture, local traditions, entertainment and gastronomy.
The Paradisia Alpine Botanical Garden is located in Valnontey, a hamlet in the municipality of Cogne, in the heart of the Park, at 1700 m of altitude, on an area of approx. 10,000 sq m, rich in basins and natural valleys that offer the best conditions for the cultivation of mountain and Alpine species. The garden is surrounded by the magnificent scenario of the Gran Paradiso massif.
The cuisine of the Aosta Valley is characterized by simplicity and revolves around “robust” ingredients such as potatoes, polenta and rice; cheese and meat; and rye bread. Many of the dishes involve Fontina, a cheese with PDO status, made from cow’s milk that originates from the valley. It is found in dishes such as a soup a la valpellinentse. Other cheeses made in the region are Toma and Robiola. Valle d’Aosta Fromadzo is produced locally since the 15th century and also has PDO status.
Regional specialties, besides Fontina, are mochetta (dried chamois meat, prepared like prosciutto), Vallée d’Aoste Lard d’Arnad (a cured and brined fatback product with PDO designation), Vallée d’Aoste Jambon de Bosses (a kind of ham, likewise with PDO designation), and a black bread. Notable wines include a white wine from Morgex, a red wine blend from Arvier (Enfer d’Arvier), and a Gamay.
Notable dishes include Carbonada, consisting of salt-cured beef cooked with onions and red wine served with polenta; breaded veal cutlets called costolette; tetouns, salt-cured cow’s udder that is cooked and sliced; and bistecca a la valdostana, a steak with croutons and melted cheese.
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