Aosta - Porta Pretoria
Aosta is the only province of the Valle d’Aosta, and it is located amidst the highest peaks of the Alps.
It is also called the “Rome of the Alps”, and the whole province is full of unexpected views and peaceful landscapes. In the city centre it is possible to take a “walk into the past”, going back over the salient stages of the ancient Roman presence, traces of which remain. Outside the city it is even possible to walk along stretches of the Roman road between Donnas and Bard, until reaching a rocky tract running alongside the the Dora, where the Romans built the road from a solid piece of rock
The old name of Aosta, “Augusta Pretoria”, reveals that it was founded by Romans (in 25 B.C.) and the Arch of Augustus, the Porta Praetoria, the theatre, and the town walls are the main monuments of that Roman city that have survived .
There are also remarkable medieval ruins, such as the Collegiata di Sant’Orso, a monumental structure that characterises the city with its decorated Romanesque cloister. Another remarkable monument is the city’s Cathedral, dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta: it embraces sixteen centuries of history and art that you can visit thanks to the archaeological site below the floor.
Another charming tract is the Pierre Taillée stretch, beyond Runaz, in the direction of the Little St. Bernard pass. Here the stone has been cut in order to create a passage in the narrow gully, and there are many rather reckless structures spanning the gorge. In Italian this is often referred to as the “North-west Passage”, and indicates that the province of Aosta has been one of the most important transit points in Europe for centuries. The Via Francigena path branched off from the Great St Bernard Pass path, and was even used by Napoleon’s army in May 1800. It was also the route for pilgrims to reach Rome.
The path to the pass starting from the small village of Saint-Rhemy, on foot, by mountain bike, or on horseback -following the Napoleonic road- is charming and is an enchanting excursion, a real trip back in time.. The Little St Bernard Pass has also been used since ancient times, as the cromlech demonstrates. The cromlechis a ring of stones -nowadays crossed by a road- that probably had an astronomical function. There are also some Roman buildings including a way station and a temple. The old hospice -abandoned after the Second World War- has recently been renovated and opened to the public.
Also on the pass and open to the public are the Chanousia botanical gardens.
On the way to Aosta, it is well worth visiting the various manieri valdostani (country houses), which make the landscape even more evocative.
Gressonay has impressive ski resorts from where the visitor, suitably equipped with skis, can cross the three valleys of the Monte Rosa, St Vincent, Courmayeur and Cogne resorts.
Plus, it is possible to book skiing excursions in all the parks of the Province of Aosta, to enjoy the magnificence of the glacial areas and the beauty of the mountain tops. The Gran Paradiso National Park -inhabited by ibex, chamois and golden eagles- is the perfect place for hiking, mountain biking and horse riding. For the more adventurous there are hiking routes along the mountain paths of the Aosta Valley, while less expert enthusiasts can wander in woods and flatter areas, with snowshoes.
Aosta is considered a heaven for winter sports, with 28 ski resorts which can satisfy any and every demand. For those who want to go up in the air, there are the annual international balloon rallies.
Fair enthusiasts will find satisfaction at the Fiera di Sant’Orso in Aosta, a must see international event dedicated to the creativity, refined talent and ingenuity of the “people of the mountains”. This is an area full of events, such as music festivals, stalls full of local crafts and food and wine specialities of the area.
The chesse fontina is the delicacy of this province, as are chops alla valdostana and polenta “concia”. By virtue of being a mountainous area the local game also offers authentic flavours: chamois in salmì -or ‘civet’-, ‘“mocetta” -dried chamois meat- and ”carbonade”. As for wines, they all have the Valle d’Aosta/Vallée d’Aoste label. Each winegrowing area produces a special wine: the Valdigne with its Blanc de Morgex et de la Salle, the central valley has its Chambave Moscato (white wine) and Chambave Moscato passito (straw wine); the low valley has its Arnad-Montjovet superiore, and Donnas (red wines). The main regional liqueurs are Genepì and Herbelet.
The Province of Potenza , one of the two provinces of the Basilicata Region, comprises 100 municipalities, among which the city of Potenza, Italy's highest-altitude Regional Capital (2,687 ft). Just a few miles of the ...
An aura of history permeates the ancient land of the Samnites , named Beneventum by the Romans, who first colonized it. It is a Province filled with history, ...
Varese , at the base of the Alpine Foothills, is a Province marked by water, valleys and castles: it is an exemplar of harmony between man and nature. The history of local human settlement has not threatened the landscape; if ever, it has worked to enrich ...
The Province of Ogliastra is located in east-central Sardinia , facing eastward on the Tyrrhenian Sea, and bordering in the northwest with the Province of
The River But flows into the Tagliamento near Tolmezzo, dominated by the pyramidal mass of Monte Amariana. The bottom of the Friuli valleys is occupied by the enormous gravel beds of the rivers, formed of whitish stones gathered during the floods. A wild and inhospitable environment that sometimes ...
Surrounded by the unspoilt nature of the Alps, Courmayeur nestles in a basin at the foot of Mont Blanc. The skilifts and the hotels make it one of the most popular mountain resorts in Italy, both in summer and in winter.
The Valtellina is the valley of the River Adda, a valley with an ancient history and extraordinary landscapes, safeguarded by the Stelvio National Park and the Orobie Valtellinesi Park. The area offers plenty of opportunities for skiing, alpinism, excursions and rock climbing. In the summer this ...
Founded in the era of Augustus with the name of 'Augusta Praetoria' along the River Dora, where the valley widens, Aosta is the capital of the smallest Italian region, declared Autonomous Region with Special Statute in 1948. Aosta preserves important traces of the Roman era, including the ...