In this region there is just one province. The former inhabitants where the Salassi (2900 b.C.), population of Celtic - Ligurian origin. The chief town has been grounded around the year 25 b.C, by Emperor Augustus and named Augusta Pretoria. The city walls are today still in good conditions. The Porta Pretoria (town door) and 20 towers are still standing. Among them the Torre del Lebbroso (built in the Middle Age on the Roman town walls) and la Tour du Fromage are still in use today and are dedicated to art shows.
After the fall of the Carolingian Empire in the tenth century, Aosta was part of the Kingdom of Bourgogne and starting from the year 1032 Umberto di Biancamano of the Savoia Family took the power and remained for the coming nine century. Starting already from the year 1295, the Valle D’Aosta, had a substantial politic autonomy and this condition has been confirmed also by the Italian Republic after the year 1948 with the Statuto Speciale act.
The geographic position has developed a certain linguistic isolation and still the most part of the livings speaks a French dialect (franco-provenzale), Italian is officially recognized also in public acts. As already mentioned, many roman founds deserve a visit: from the above mentioned walls to the Theatre and Roman Amphitheatre , from the Forum (founded near the Cathedral) to the Thermal Baths, from the bridge on the Buthier river to the Augustus Arch (out of the walls); these archaeological founds are located in a ideal way without private traffic from the Augustus Arch to the Archaeological Museum where founds from the Neolithic to the Roman Empire fall are collected.
The Collegiata of Saints Peter and Orso, Saint Mary Cathedral (with the Treasure Museum) are of Middle Age.
The region territory is crossed by the Dora Baltea river which rises on Monte Bianco and through the Piemonte plains, joins with the Po river. The Gran Paradiso National Park extends on the sides of Gran Paradiso massif (high 4061 mtrs) while in the North zone of the river basin you can find wonderful and very well-known tourist spots for the skifans: Courmayer, La Thuile, Cervinia, Chanpoluc Saint-Vincent, Gressoney.
Among the tourist attractions you can find several castles dominating from the stately mountains: Castle of Fenis, Castle of Savoia, Castle of Saint Pierre.
Among the typical products of the gastronomy do not miss Valle d’Aosta Jambon, ham aromatised with thyme, juniper, and other aromatic herbs, produced and seasoned in a small Village Saint Rhemy en Bosses, the Fontina, cheese with a special taste (used to prepare the Fonduta: delicious cream to dress pasta, polenta or meats.
Notwithstanding the impervious territory and the rigorous climate, are produced valuable wines (although not in big quantities: about a million bottle each vintage): Chardonny Mueller Thurgau, Petite Arvine, Pinot Gris, Fumin, Gamay, Petit Rouge, Pinot Noir and Premetta. The tradition of gastronomy and wine includes also spirits: Genepy (distilled of mountains herbs) and brandy of dregs of pressed grapes. Traditions and folklore survive in this Italian corner: as for instance the grolla (cup of friendship) carved in wood with some small beaks whom people drink in turn Valdostana coffee (a mixture of coffee, lemon, brandy, sugar and a typical Artemisia liqueur). According a local saying : drinking alone makes you choking!
We thank AIAT Monte Cervino for use of images