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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. 


Aosta, the treasured city with a breathtaking backdrop of natural beauty, history and art. Aosta, the only capital of the Aosta Valley, is also known as the Rome of the Alps: its history is linked to that of Rome and traces of its domination can still be seen today, alongside the city’s medieval treasures. Surrounded by the Alps, this destination offers incredible beauty and a truly unique atmosphere.

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Val ferret

Val Ferret

The Aosta Valley: in Val Ferret, one step away from heaven At the foot of Mont Blanc, north of the Courmayeur basin, lies Val Ferret, which together with Val Vény forms the geographical limit of the massif on the Italian side. High-altitude excitement As you enjoy a walk along the Val Ferret, on the left you can admire some of the highest and most majestic peaks in the Alps: the Dent du Géant, the Grandes Jorasses, the Aiguille de Triolet and Mont Dolent, while on the right, the slopes of Mont de La Saxe are decidedly gentler. In summer season in Courmayeur, mountain enthusiasts can enjoy a wide choice of itineraries, with everything from walks, suitable for everyone, to mountain biking and horse riding, through to mountaineering routes, including an tempting trail at the Dent du Géant. Its unmistakable profile attracts anyone visiting this area to admire the spectacular scenery offered by the towering mountains. A series of fixed ropes facilitates the ascent to the Dent du Géant. However, this is an alpine route for experts and it is advisable to be accompanied by an alpine guide to ensure a safe ascent. You can reach the Torino hut with the first run of the Skyway cable car, and if you are not sure whether you will be able to climb back down the same day, you can stay overnight. A trekker's paradise Val Ferret is also the ideal destination for anyone who loves trekking: an easy and well-signposted trail crosses the entire valley from Entrèves to the Col du Petit Ferret. After crossing Entrèves, you will leave your car and take the dirt track, passing the Dora di Val Ferret and, shortly afterwards, entering the forest. Once you have made your way through the forest, you will be rewarded with spectacular views of Val Ferret, Val Vény and Mont Blanc. This 15-kilometre route can be divided into stages, thanks to the three shelters found along the way: the first is Bertone Refuge, the second is Bonatti Refuge, which offers splendid views of the Dent du Géant, and the last is Elena Refuge, after Arnouva. Cross-country skiing and snow biking in winter Val Ferret is an unmissable winter holiday destination. If you love snow-covered landscapes and activities in the snow, you are sure to be spoiled for choice, with opportunities to try out cross-country skiing, fat biking, snow biking or simply stroll along the beaten snow path reserved for pedestrians. In addition to Nordic skiing in Val Ferret, in Courmayeur you have two slopes perfect for downhill skiing or snowboard adventures, that of Chécrouit and that of Val Veny, and two ski schools, the ideal solution if you are a beginner. The richness of Val Ferret, from fauna to flora Val Ferret is also a Special Protection Area, located on a migration route and established with the aim of protecting birdlife. The protected area starts from the village of La Palud and extends to Col Ferret: 81 bird species have been identified, including some increasingly rare ones, such as the golden eagle, bearded vulture, red-crowned owl, ptarmigan, chough, black grouse, black woodpecker and red-backed shrike. It is also home to the highest ibex colony in Europe, and you are very likely to spot chamois, roe deer, deer, hares and marmots: there is even a small group of albinos. The flora is equally spectacular. Adding to all the flowers and plants you will find along the trails of Val Ferret or Val Veny, be sure to visit the Saussurea Alpine Botanical Garden, among the highest in Europe, which can be reached by the Skyway cable car (first station at Pavillon du Mont Fréty). Set up in 1984 by the Donzelli-Gilberti Foundation to protect the Mont Blanc flora, it also hosts species from the Eastern Alps, Asia and North America.
Museums and monuments
Verrès castle

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.
Museums and monuments
Castello di Aymavilles

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.

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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. 

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