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.
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.