Skip menu

For the latest information on COVID-19 travel restrictions in Italy. Click here.

The Aosta Valley is a paradise for visitors seeking outdoor experiences in nature while exploring history and traditions

The smallest region in Italy, dotted with the highest peaks in the Alps, it is the ideal destination for anyone who enjoys winter sports and high-altitude walks. Its green valleys and fairy-tale castles make the Aosta Valley an enchanting place to experience all year round. 

  • Mountain
  • Castles
Magazine

The Skyway Monte Bianco cableway at Courmayeur: feeling on top of the world

Reaching a height of 3,466 metres, this authentic masterpiece of engineering and architectural design takes you to the foot of the most beautiful mountain in the world. Everyone can admire it from exceptional viewpoints and carefully perceive the majestic character of the massif surrounded by otherwise unattainable panoramic views. We are at Courmayeur and the magical Skyway Monte Bianco cableway experience starts as one begins the journey. Formed by cabins that rotate through 360 degrees, the cableway offers a breathtaking view of the highest mountain in Europe, but also of the other peaks surrounding the Aosta Valley and the result is an emotionally intense journey within a journey. Using this fast and efficient facility, one will gently and smoothly ascend to a height two thousand metres above the point of departure in fifteen minutes. Conceived as a privileged route to the mountain peak, the Courmayeur Skyway cableway is perfectly integrated into the surrounding landscape. The history of the cableway is very closely linked to that of the man and also of those people who, together with him, believed that rendering the great mountain accessible to everyone would not be impossible. Along the route there are three stations where travellers may find refreshment at restaurants and bars. Other facilities include a museum and a cinema. Several conference rooms have been installed at one of the stations and a nearby botanical garden is well worth a visit. A play area is also available for children who will certainly be enchanted by a very pleasant atmosphere. On the external terraces the panoramic views are quite exceptional.
Art & Culture

Castello di Fénis

Fénis Castle: an iconic medieval manor house So perfectly preserved that still today it feels as though it is about to host ladies and knights, banquets and balls. Simply look around, then close your eyes for a moment. The marvellous Fénis Castle, in the middle of the Aosta Valley, with numerous towers and double-crenellated walls, is one of best-preserved medieval castles in Italy. On a green hill, surrounded by a meadow, all who visit are sure to feel immersed in a fairy-tale world. In the residence of an illustrious family You will immediately notice that Fénis Castle is substantially different from other castles in the Aosta Valley. While the other castles stand in defensive positions on inaccessible cliffs and promontories, Fénis Castle stands on a low hill, surrounded by a meadow. This is because Fénis, more than simply a defensive fortress, was the administrative seat and noble residence of the Challant family. This very ancient building that dates back to at least 1242 reached the height of its splendour in 1340, when it was owned by the Challant family, among the most illustrious families in Europe. In 1869, the manor became the hunting lodge of King of Italy Victor Emmanuel II. The power of art As soon as you arrive, you will be enchanted by the view of Fénis Castle in the beautiful clearing: a pentagon shape with circular turrets at each corner and a double wall decorated with battlements, structures commissioned by Aimone di Challant in the mid-14th century and added to the pre-existing fortified tower. The harmony of the architecture is truly striking, an iconic symbol of the Middle Ages in Valle d'Aosta. When you go inside, you will pass through a square tower before entering the ground floor, between the Hall of Arms, the Refectory and the kitchens. On the main floor are the Lords' chambers and reception rooms, as well as the chapel adorned with religious frescoes. The breathtaking, immense courtyard, the pièce de résistance, is the artistic heart of the manor. As you lift your gaze, you will see the wooden balconies adorned with a fresco that paints a detailed picture: portraits of sages and prophets, proverbs and sentences written in old French. Looming above the staircase is a fresco depicting Saint George, while on the eastern wall you will see the fresco of the Annunciation and St Christopher, dating from around 1425-1430. This triumph of art is a statement of power combined with a refined lifestyle. What to do after visiting Fénis Castle: six unmissable sites A stone’s throw from the manor house is a restful green space named Tzanté de Bouva. Children can have fun in the well-equipped playground, while you can relax and enjoy a bite to eat in the marked picnic area under the shade of a beautiful forest of oak, birch and ash trees. A scenic cycle route also starts from Tzanté de Bouva, accessible from the car park of the Fénis cemetery. This five-kilometre loop on a wide, flat track is suitable for the whole family. On the same circuit, you can also go jogging or simply stroll through meadows and cultivated fields, alongside the Dora Baltea river. More athletic visitors can enjoy a splendid trek through the Val Clavalité valley to the Bivacco Borroz mountain cabin. Nestled in this beautiful landscape, you will find farmhouses lost to nature, as well as the small church of Our Lady of the Snows and small chalets. If you’re visiting in winter, the Clavalité plateau is a splendid spot for snowshoeing, surrounded by silence and the belt of snow-capped mountains. Fancy horse riding? In Saint-Vincent, less than 15 kilometres from Fénis, you will find a centre that organises horse riding excursions through nature, as well as riding courses. We highly recommend touring the village of Fénis and stopping in particular to admire the 15th-century Church of San Maurizio and the ancient fortified houses known as “caseforti”. Find out more Fénis Castle is open all year round. For ticket prices and accessibility information: https://www.regione.vda.it/cultura/patrimonio/castelli/castello_fenis/informazioni_i.asp.
Art & Culture
aerial view of Castel Savoia Castle - Gressoney-Saint-Jean, Valle d'Aosta region, Italy.

Gressoney-Saint-Jean

Castel Savoia in the Aosta Valley: a noble landscape This noble residence stands in the eloquently named Belvedere ("beautiful sight"). Castel Savoia was built between the 19th and early 20th century, in the Aosta Valley close to the village of Gressoney-Saint-Jean. Commissioned by Queen Margherita of Savoy as a holiday residence, the castle offers magnificent views over Monte Rosa and the entire valley up to the Lyskamm glacier. The mountain-loving queen Margaret of Savoy, the charming and refined Queen of Italy, adored these mountains and was also a passionate mountaineer. She was the first woman to climb Monte Rosa, and the Margherita Hut, at an altitude of 4,556 metres, is named in her honour. She would return to Castel Savoia every summer. Visitors can still admire the building today, made of local grey stone with a neo-Gothic-style exterior. It is worth taking the time to admire the panorama and trace the majestic silhouette of Monte Rosa. Botanical enthusiasts will enjoy the beautiful alpine garden, nestled in the large park on the slope at the foot of Savoy Castle. The rocks that form the flower beds are home to ornamental species including gentians, irises and lilium, edelweiss and rhododendrons, in an enchanting mosaic of stones, flowers and fragrant mountain essences. Then it’s time to venture into the inner rooms, filled with the Queen's decorative touches: coffered ceilings, wood panelling, Art Nouveau details with a floral theme, in particular daisies in her honour, and a monumental carved oak staircase leading to the first floor, home to the royal flats. The most beautiful room is the Queen's bedroom, with a veranda overlooking Monte Rosa and perfectly preserved original furnishings, precious antiques. You will be fascinated by the bathroom, which is equipped with hot water thanks to state-of-the-art technology. Loop hike A cultural visit to Savoy Castle is the perfect starting point for exploring the magnificent natural surroundings. One of the best ways to do this is to retrace Queen Margaret of Savoy's favourite walk, a loop hike named after her. You start at the manor house, as she did, and walk about three kilometres. You will find yourself at an altitude of well over 1,000 metres, where the air is clear and the landscape is dotted with pine and fir trees, along a route suitable for everyone: green in summer, white in winter. You can take a break at Lake Gover, which is frozen over in the colder months. While you’re nearby, it’s well worth visiting the town of Gressoney-Saint-Jean, to admire this panoramic location and its fantastic mountain resort. The charm of winter Castel Savoia is open to visitors all year round, and in the winter season you can enjoy guided snowshoeing in the snow-covered park. The unique charm of the manor house, in the middle of the snow, will make you feel like you have stepped into a fairy-tale as you snowshoe among spruces and larches. The beautiful slopes of the Monte Rosa ski area also await you in winter. Meanwhile, experienced hikers can trek along the glacier, also a favourite spot of the Queen, who would be accompanied by her local friend, Baron Louis Beck Peccoz. Find out more You can access the Savoy Castle by purchasing a ticket that includes a guided tour of the inner rooms. For information on timetables, visiting and snowshoeing in the park, see www.guideturistiche.vda.it and www.lovevda.it.
Art & Culture
Sarriod (Aosta, Italy) - The medieval castle as farmhouse

Sarriod de la Tour Castle

Sarriod de la Tour Castle, surrounded by apple trees On one side is the rocky promontory overhanging the Dora Baltea river, on the other a flat area planted with apple trees. Here, nestled in an orchard, stands Sarriod de la Tour Castle, in Saint-Pierre. In spring, the explosion of blossoms gives the manor a romantic atmosphere, while in winter, the snow paints a picture of an ancient fairy tale. The complex consists of several buildings from different eras, all home to valuable works of art. It is surrounded by the magnificent natural setting of the nearby valleys and is located near to the Gran Paradiso National Park. A visit to the manor house The Sarriod de la Tour Castle has a composite structure. The oldest centre dates back to the 11th and 12th centuries, to which various elements have been added during successive extensions and architectural enhancements. As you arrive along the path, you will be struck by the towers, some rounded and others squared, the surrounding wall and the series of stone buildings at different heights. The manor house bears the name of the Sarriod de la Tour family, who lived there for centuries. As you ascend the spiral staircase, the so-called viret, you can admire the carved jambs above the circular steps. Be sure not to miss the chapel, adorned with a series of wall paintings from the 13th century, while the adjoining room features 15th-century frescoes. The Hall of Heads is well worth a visit. Located on the first floor, in the main hall of the castle, it features 171 finely carved figures in the ceiling brackets. Every 'head' is different: faces of people from the Middle Ages, fantastical and grotesque subjects, and monstrous beings - some of the most remarkable wooden sculptures in the Aosta Valley. If you are staying nearby, don't forget to catch a glimpse of the castle at night when it is lit up, offering a different, equally enchanting view. The comune of Saint-Pierre: outdoor sports, unforgettable experiences Sarriod de la Tour Castle is located in the comune of Saint-Pierre, the perfect place to immerse yourself in nature in the most traditional ways. Towards the hamlet of Vetan, at an altitude of 1,700 metres at the foot of Mont Fallère, you can enjoy paragliding in fine weather or snowkiting in winter. This is also the starting point of a peaceful walk suitable for all visitors, which leads from Vetan to the Fallère refuge in a couple of hours. It is not uncommon to come across ibexes and chamois along the route, as the grand panorama of peaks opens up before your eyes. Wooden sculptures also dot the landscape, created by the refuge's owner: a sly fisherman, shepherds and mountain animals. When it is snow-covered, you can take on the route wearing snowshoes. Once at the refuge, you can enjoy cured meats, cheeses and traditional dishes. Near the castle, there are several rock climbing walls ideal for both amateurs and experts. On horseback In and around Saint-Pierre, you will find agritourism, with stables and associations that organise guided horse-riding in nature. Moving on to Valnontey, a secondary valley in the Cogne Valley in the Gran Paradiso National Park, you will find horses and ponies for children, as well as carriage and winter sleigh rides. You will enter a landscape where silence reigns supreme, birds of prey fly overhead and chamois are close by. You will move from dense forests to sunny plateaus with breathtaking panoramas. Find out more Entrance to Sarriod de la Tour Castle is guided and subject to payment. For information on ticket costs and accessibility https://www.lovevda.it/en/database/8/castles-and-towers/saint-pierre/sarriod-de-la-tour-castle/901
Tourist destination
Aerial view of the castle of Aymavilles, Aosta, Italy

Castello di Aymavilles

Aymavilles Castle: a museum residence with history and natural beauty A single rectangular block with four mighty towers, embraced by a large park, Aymavilles Castle, in the comune of Aymavilles, stands on a hill sloping down towards the Dora Baltea river, along the road to Cogne. Dating back to 1200 but having been remodelled several times, today it presents a true stylistic patchwork, displaying its transition from a medieval fortress into a stately Rococo residence. A beautiful setting, green in fine weather, white in winter. The many lives of the manor Aymavilles Castle has passed through various hands over the centuries, meaning its architectural structure has been modified. The overlapping of styles is sure to pique your interest, in a setting that blends Gothic, Baroque and Rococo. Dating back to the 13th century, from the 14th century it became the manor of the illustrious Challant family, who immediately made alterations. In 1400, the four corner towers were added, then in 1700 came the stucco-decorated loggias and the interior renovation. The castle gradually lost its medieval defensive character to become a splendid mansion, completed by the terraced park. The exhibition route After years of sophisticated research and restoration undertaken by the Valle d'Aosta Region, today Aymavilles Castle offers guided tours along a fascinating multimedia exhibition route that focuses on history, art and architecture. You can access four different levels, each with its own theme. The first tells you all about the families who lived there, the second is dedicated to 19th-century collecting, the third houses the Collection of the Accademia di Sant'Anselmo, an authoritative Aosta Valley association of historical studies, as well as exhibits displaying 19th-century daily life at the manor. The fourth floor offers the opportunity to admire the Castle’s numerous architectural transformations, with the help of models and multimedia reconstructions. Lifting your gaze to the ceiling, you can appreciate a perfectly preserved masterpiece of 15th-century wooden carpentry. As you move through the halls, be sure to take in the lavish decorations and Baroque-style elements in a jumble of highly varied motifs. The art of winemaking After exploring inside Aymavilles Castle, it is worth stopping in the park to admire its intricate terraced structure, created after the demolition of the manor walls. The green area runs alongside the surrounding hills, where you can see vineyards stretch out. This area is deeply connected with wine, thanks to the Alpine microclimate at the foot of Mont Blanc, which promotes grapevine cultivation. The locals have dedicated themselves to agriculture for thousands of years, a tradition of hard work passed down to us through the famous Torrette wines, 17 reds typical of this area of the Aosta Valley. If you love a good wine, we highly recommend visiting a few wineries in the area. Be sure to stop at the "Cave des Onze Communes" wine cooperative near the castle, where you can taste and buy Torrette wines and other traditional products. Or you can ask for a glass at a local restaurant to pair with succulent game dishes, or the classic autumnal chestnut soup. 3 places to discover around the castle On the road from Aymavilles to Cogne, at Pont d'Ael, there is a majestic aqueduct bridge dating back to Roman times. It is well worth leaving the car behind and exploring on foot, following the well-thought-out tour route. Venturing along the Camino Balteo hiking route that passes through here, you will discover the Church of Saint-Léger, immersed in nature. Make sure to visit the village of Ozein, a tiny hamlet in Aymavilles, where you will also find the Tornalla, an ancient fortified house. Find out more The Castle of Aymavilles is open to the public for guided tours or during events and concerts in spring and summer. For information on ticket prices and the calendar of events: www.castelloaymavilles.it. For information on the "Cave des Onze Communes" Wine Cooperative: www.caveonzecommunes.it.
Art & Culture
Verrès Castle in the town of Verres Italy

Castello di Verrès

Verrès Castle: home of a noble leader An imposing monolith in a dominant position on a rock overlooking the ancient village and valley. This is Verrès Castle, a majestic monobloc manor built in the late 14th century by the Challant family, one of the most prestigious in the entire Aosta Valley. All around, the picturesque landscape and unspoilt nature of the lower Aosta Valley bathed by the Dora Baltea. The mule track leading to the manor house As soon as you arrive, you’ll feel projected into a dimension of yesteryear. This is because you must follow a steep mule track to reach Verrès Castle, perched on a rocky spur overlooking the Évançon stream: a ten-minute walk to forget civilisation and immerse yourself in another world. Even from the village of Verrès it’s a 20-minute walk, a recommendable alternative to driving, for intense contact with the landscape. Another famous Aosta Valley castle stands on the other side of the Dora Baltea River, that of Issogne with a very different structure, in an interesting architectural contrast. A revolutionary castle The nobleman Ibleto di Challant started from a pre-existing complex and gave the manor its current appearance, choosing an innovative path compared to the region’s other castles, characterised by several buildings enclosed in a defensive wall. Instead here it is a single compact block, which emphasises the military function and attracts for its power. The refined style of the interiors The interiors are less austere: admire the grand staircase in the courtyard that connects the three floors, the ornamental work on the windows, doors and fireplaces, and the ornate white and green stone details created by the skilled craftsmen of the time. Don’t miss the Hall of Arms and the Dining Room, where you can see the detail of the serving hatch to the master kitchen. The Middle Ages return here in May Verrès Castle hosts the Historical Carnival, a re-enactment of the epic deeds of Countess Catherine of Challant, in a combination of historical events and fascinating legends. Between May and June each year, you can enjoy medieval costume parades, knights' tournaments and dances; a sumptuous banquet is also organised at the castle. Strolling through the centre From the castle, return to the village of Verrès, a small stone jewel whose origins date back to Roman times. Wander through the narrow streets and stairways, reach the small Place René de Challand, then walk along the cobbled street to the Collegiate Church and the Parish Church of Saint-Gilles. Climbing enthusiasts can stop at the climbing gym near the village in Chopine, with diversified walls suitable for everyone, including children. Plunge into nature The Arboretum trail starts from Verrès and goes up towards the entrance of Ayas Valley. The easy nature hike also offers a view of Verrès Castle from afar, so you can fully grasp its strategic and panoramic position on the plain. The route is also called Borna di Laou in patois, meaning Den of the Wolf, because legend has it that the animals built their den here in the 19th century. You won’t encounter any ferocious beasts here today, only beautiful and varied vegetation that the educational signs will help you decipher. The native species include dogwood and hawthorn, followed by ash, chestnut and linden trees and a few rarities considering the area: medlar and laurel. Cycling along the Dora Baltea Verrès is one of the stops of the Via Francigena: a long bike route. Here you pedal between continuous ups and downs mainly on the left bank of the Dorea Baltea, even on short mule tracks, on a route that touches on some of the most beautiful castles in Aosta Valley, including the Fortress of Bard, as well as scenic spots with peaks outlining the mountain skyline. Find out more www.lovevda.it www.carnevaleverres.it
Art & Culture
Ruins of middle ages Cly Castle. Build in different times, starting from the ancient build dating 1027 a.c. Owned by the Challant family, from 1376 was owned by the Savoy family until the 1634.

Castello di Cly

Cly Castle, centre of feudal power On a promontory at an altitude of 780 metres, Cly Castle watched over a vast territory: Chambave, Nus, Quart, as far as the gates of Aosta, then from Colle San Pantaleone to Valtournenche, also controlling the village below and Strada delle Gallie. Once a centre of feudal power, today it offers a wonderful panorama and the opportunity to explore the surroundings, including small villages and nature. A natural defensive position The origins of Cly Castle date back to 1027 and it is therefore one of the oldest in Aosta Valley. Its strategic importance as a lookout over an immense feud is linked to the fate of the powerful Challant family of the Cly branch. Later, in 1376, it became the direct property of the Savoy family who governed the manor for two centuries. Today, you can especially appreciate the spectacular location of the bastion on a rocky spur covered in wild vegetation, in a defensive position offered by nature. The central tower and walls are also visible. The remains of a small Romanesque chapel once decorated with frescoes can be seen leaning against the keep. It is fascinating to walk among the ruins, with the snow-capped peaks in the background and the valley opening up below; the view reaches as far as Aosta on a clear day, with a panorama of the entire central part of the region. A perspective fun fact: Cly Castle is aligned with those of Montjovet and Ussel, at the three highest points in Ayas Valley. They will tell you of heroic, but also bloody deeds perpetrated by the lordship during the years of power. And you will certainly learn of one of the many horrible stories that marked the Middle Ages: that of Johanneta Cauda imprisoned in the very dungeon of Cly Castle and finally burnt at the stake in 1428 on witchcraft charges. Visit the Marseiller Village While the frescoes and decorative details of Cly Castle have been lost, another well-maintained place deserves a visit: the nearby Marseiller Village. In the Chapel of St Michael, you can admire the frescoes painted in 1441 by Giacomino d'Ivrea, a tale of the Epiphany and the arrival of the Three Kings, the Adoration of the Child and the Flight into Egypt. Ru Marseiller sets off from the village: a hike that runs between Verrayes, Saint Denis and Chambave and offers varied landscape views. You will also pass Cly Castle along the route. Eco-holidays in Saint-Denis Cly Castle is a hamlet of the municipality of Saint-Denis, an ancient village with a very modern ecological calling. Over the past few years, it has installed four state-of-the-art photovoltaic systems, one of them at the Lavesé Eco Centre used as a hostel with dining. The existing building was restored according to green building principles. You can plan to stay here or in one of the various accommodations in the village that use solar panels and other energy-saving systems. The main historical monuments worth seeing include the Church of San Dionigio. For information on Cly Castle www.comune.saintdenis.ao.it/turismo/territorio/il-castello-di-cly
Region

Medieval fortresses and ancient traditions on Europe's highest peaks

All kinds of facilities are available to suit every need, from exclusive resorts to small chalets, from Michelin star restaurants to mountain huts. Discover the soul of this region by strolling or cycling through Aosta, finding small but very precious pearls such as Cervinia and Courmayeur. Enjoy the magnificence of Mont Blanc and the nature of the Gran Paradiso Park, where ibexes, chamois and marmots will cross your path. 

Learn more
1600X1600_valle_d_aosta_approfondimento