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Issogne Castle: art treasures and immaculate meadows
One of the most remarkable monuments of the Lower Aosta Valley is the Castle of Issogne surrounded by lush meadows, mountains and natural oases.
For centuries, it was the sumptuous residence of the Challant family who transformed the existing building into a treasure trove of art, including paintings, frescoes and precious decorations.
A place out of time, where you can relive the splendour of the Renaissance.
In the sumptuous manor
From being the property of the bishops of Aosta, the castle became the home of Giorgio di Challant, who between 1490 and 1510 transformed it into a refined residence for his cousin Margaret de La Chambre and her son Filiberto.
After a series of restorations, the manor house now presents itself in its Gothic-Renaissance appearance.
The structure is horseshoe-shaped and overlooks a large courtyard and a beautiful Italian garden.
It is the main attraction of the village of Issogne, which has developed around it.
Take a close look at the portico on the ground floor and a good look at the frescoed lunettes, where you can admire scenes of daily life in the village: the guardhouse, the baker, the apothecary and the pizzeria, the fruit and vegetable market, the tailor's shop: vivid images of great realism.
Centrally located in the courtyard is the Fontana del Melograno, surmounted by a finely wrought iron sculpture representing the tree that symbolises good fortune and prosperity, as well as the Challant family.
The contrast between the austere exterior and the riot of decoration inside is striking, with paintings on the wooden ceiling beams and frescoes depicting hunting scenes in the dining room and baronial hall.
Some details will intrigue you
With the graffiti, inscriptions and drawings left by the manor's guests over the course of four centuries: fanciful mottos and learned quotations, Euclidean theorems, news of historical events and amorous messages, some of them rather spicy.
In 1872, Issogne Castle was purchased by the Turin painter Vittorio Avondo, who restored it to its former glory with philological care after years of neglect.
It is thanks to him that the setting is so evocative, rich in details, furnishings and household objects that take the visitor back in time, between the end of the 15th century and the 16th century. A new exhibition inside the manor house is dedicated to the artist, in a multimedia installation.
In nearby Verrès
After visiting Issogne Castle, you could move on to Verrès Castle. Right in front, dividing them is only the Dora Baltea river crossed by the Roman bridges, one of the Aosta Valley region's great assets.
Relaxation in the open air
You are a handful of kilometres from the Mont Avic Natural Parkwhere you will find a very well organised network of trails and viewpoints equipped with information panels.
Even closer is the Villa Lake Nature Reserveless than four kilometres from Issogne.
Here, a beautiful lakeopens up where between June and July you will be surprised to see the white water lilies. It is a very relaxing place, alternating between marshy and dry areas, suitable for everyone and also accessible to people with disabilities.
If you take path number 11you will find yourself on a true artistic route with 14 works created using only natural materials: earth, leaves and wood. An experience also suitable for children.
Find out more
Access to the Issogne castle is by means of a paid ticket with guided tour in the inner rooms. Information on timetables and tickets can be found at eitherwww.guideturistiche.vda.it or www.lovevda.it. For the Mont Avic Natural Park, www.montavic.it
Explore the surroundings