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Located at the northern tip of Italy is Valle d’Aosta (Aosta Valley). It is a mountainous semi-autonomous region bordered by Rhône-Alpes, France to the west, Switzerland to the north and the region of Piedmont to the south and east. Aosta Valley has the highest peaks in the Alps: Cervino, Monte Rosa, Gran Paradiso and the king of them all, Mont Blanc, which at 15,781 feet is the highest mountain in Europe. Not only is Aosta Valley the smallest region in Italy, but with a population of about 126,933 people, it is also the least populous. Additionally, it is the only region without provinces.

As the coldest region in Italy, with a bitter continental climate, the summers are cool, with an average temperature of 64-68 degrees, and very cold winters, averaging around 30 degrees, though slightly lower overall nearest the French border. Though Aosta Valley is known for its ski slopes of Cervinia, Courmayeur, and Pila, this region also offers plenty of cultural and traditional treasures.

Despite being such a tiny region, Aosta Valley is bursting with opportunities to explore the off-the-beaten-path part of Italy. Here you’ll find something for everyone, including a hundred castles, an array of Gothic sculptures, panoramic views, glamorous ski resorts, secluded hiking trails, sophisticated and rustic food, abundant wildlife, Baroque village churches, and Europe’s largest casino.

Aosta Valley


Downhill and Cross-Country Skiing: If you’re looking to ski some of the best slopes in the world, Aosta Valley is the place to do it. If you relish the thrill of downhill skiing, the best resort to visit is Monterosa Ski, which includes Ayas-Champoluc and Gressoney-La-Trinité. There are also many areas for cross-country skiing, including Brusson and Cogne, where the variety of slopes and varying lengths of the tracks offer something for every level of cross-country skier.

Ice Activities: Known for their winter sports, Aosta Valley freezes over to become a winter wonderland. With over 150 waterfalls to choose from, ice climbing is a popular activity. Other activities include curling, ice skating, hockey, and short track.

Heliskiing: If you’re looking for a more adrenaline packed skiing experience, Aosta Valley is one of the best destinations in the world for Heliskiing.

Air Sports: Parachuting, paragliding, hang-gliding, and spectacular, colorful air balloons are some of the many things to enjoyed in the air. And if you’re looking to learn to fly, the Aosta air club is located at the Aosta Valley airport.

Spa and wellbeing: Building a civilization in the mountains has many advantages. One major advantage is the access to thermal spas. Aosta Valley has amazing thermal spas that are sure to soothe your aching muscles after a long day on the slopes. The most famous thermal spas are in Pré-Saint-Didier and Saint-Vincent.


Aosta: Known as ‘Rome of the Alps’ Aosta has plenty of historical sites from Roman and medieval times, including: the Porta Praetoria, the amphitheatre, theater and Arco di Augusto. Medieval remains include the Lebbroso and Bramafam towers, as well as the Collegiate church of Sant’Orso.
The cathedral and Palazzo del Municipio (Town Hall) has a neoclassical façade.

Courmayeur: One of the most frequented resort towns in Italy, Courmayeur has been considered the capital of mountaineering and mountain touring since the 1800’s. It is a modern town with ancient roots. Here, visit Casa delle Guide, the location of the Duca degli Abruzzi Museum, with a collection of documents, relics and materials used by mountaineers whose undertakings have gone down in the history of mountaineering, and Via Roma, the beating heart of the city and shopping area.

Parco Nazionale del Gran Paradiso: The first established national park in Italy, Gran Paradiso has a large territory of high mountains. Larch and fir woods, wide alpine grasslands, rocks, and glaciers are the perfect ingredients to make an area rich in various flora and fauna.

Saint-Vincent: Home to the largest casino, Casino de la Vallée, in Europe, Saint Vincent is the most famous city in Aosta Valley. Known as the ‘Alps Riviera,’ Saint Vincent enjoys a milder microclimate, aiding in its year-round appeal.  Aside from the casino, Saint Vincent also boasts a number of archaeological findings from pre-Roman times. The Romanesque church of San Vincenzo is worth mentioning. Built by Benedictine monks in the 11th century, it has a museum that showcases rare, sacred art.


Fontina: A cow’s milk cheese, Fontina has a mild, somewhat nutty flavor, while rich, herbaceous and fruity. It melts well for fondue, especially young Fontina, with its similar texture to French Brie.

Vallée d’Aoste Jambon de Bosses: Bosses Ham is a spicy cured pork product from Saint-Rhémy-en-Bosses. It is dark red and compact, and it has an aromatic, slightly salty taste with a hint of sweetness.

Teutenne: Also known as Teuteun, it is an exclusive specialty of Aosta Valley, obtained by corning cow udders, combined with simple spices, and then dried.

Tegole: The typical sweet biscuits of Aosta Valley are the Tegole (roof tiles), small round crumbly biscuits made with hazelnuts, sugar, eggs, flour, almonds, and vanilla. Since 1930, Tegole have been the sweet specialty of Aosta Valley, and are often perfect for breakfast!


Festival of the Vallée d’Aoste Jambon de Bosses: In July in Gran San Bernardo Valley visitors can enjoy four days of celebrations, in honor of the famed Bosses Ham. From good music to cabaret shows, and dinners of grilled meats and local produce, this is another fun Italian food festival that should be experienced.

Batailles de Reines: From the last Sunday in March until the finals in October, Batailles de Reines (Battles of the Queens) is an intense turf battle for the cows of the region.  Held every year in Saint Vincent, cows from all over the region come together, are numbered, and finally brought together in the ring to instinctively face off over grazing rights. They scrape the turf, bay, and snort. Eventually butting heads and locking horns, the battle begins. The first cow to give up and turn away is deemed the loser.

Sant’Orso Fair: The end of January in Aosta marks the time of the Sant’Orso Fair. A traditional fair from a time long ago, the Sant’Orso Fair brings together over 1,000 artists and craftsmen to showcase their talents. The stalls and stands stretch right through the historical center of Aosta and along the old town walls. Traditional craft exhibits include: wood carving and sculpting, processing of soapstone, wrought iron and leather work, drap weaving, lacework, wicker, household items, wooden ladders, and casks. Of course, no event would be complete without food or wine. Attendees can enjoy food and local wine while enjoying light entertainment.

Grolle d’Oro Film Festival: If you’re a foreign film buff, this is the event for you. Held annually in October in Saint Vincent, Grolle d’Oro Film Festival is a time to celebrate and award Italian films and the creative minds behind them.

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