Valle d'Aosta

Located in the far northwest corner of Italy, Valle d’Aosta shares borders with France and Switzerland and the Piemonte Region. The main city in this region is Aosta. Valle d’Aosta is a mountainous region at the foot of Mont Blanc and amid and around The Alps (think majestic, think glaciers, think beyond your imagination…..). It is the smallest and least populated region in Italy…… a region that speaks both Italian and French. This beautiful pristine area is without a real major industrial city and the landscape is magnificent. From the mountains to the valleys to the forests….from castle to castle (there are so many here) to small country towns….this is a region well worth exploring.

Obviously, skiing and winter sports are a very big deal during the season….but, hiking, exploring and touring are popular here year round (weather is fantastic in spring and summer). The cuisine in the area is made up of game, a dish called carbonade (roast pork), chamois (goat cooked in red wine), polenta, salami, potatoes and pasta (of course!). I particularly like the fondue restaurants in the area — cheese anyone? The food is heartier in Valle d’Aosta than in the lower part of the country because of the cold climate — you have to be fortified here! Some of the wines in this area are Gamay and Chambove….but don’t forget to try "glacier wine" or Vin de Morgax, a white wine that is called the "highest wine in Europe" as it is grown at the foot of Mont Blanc (people are amazed it can grow here….it tastes great!). I particularly love the hot spiced wine in winter too — what a memory: sitting in front of a roaring fire, a view of the Alps, fondue and hot spiced wine….that’s reason enough to make a visit here! Some of the arts/crafts of this area are: wood sculptures, wrought iron, wool and hemp weaving, linen, lace and items made with potstone (a green stone) used in ovens, bakeware and decorative items….there’s something for everyone.

Do take time to visit the castles of Valle d’Aosta. You can visit several in a day from most of the towns below (check your map first). The main castles are in: Fenis, Issogne, Chatillon and Verres. FYI: there are plenty of others — as you drive through the region make stops along your way…..serendipity is the rule of the day.

 


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