There are places that even if far away, both geographically and in the cultural sense, belong to us. It takes a strange mechanism, to feel at home in landscapes where the snow lasts a long time turning everything into a white paradise, despite our place of birth is only seven kilometers from the sea on the other side of Italy. It happened to Courmayeur, Cogne, Cervinia. It happened in Valle d’Aosta, between its majestic mountains, sparkling high peaks of Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn and Monterosa, where we took all the time to discover the treasures between the white snow and the clear air heated by the sun mountain.
Located at the center of the region on the road to the ancient Gaul, there is Aosta, founded in 25 BC by the Romans and today provincial and cosmopolitan at the same time. The historic center of Saint Orso is a poignant spiritual place while walking along the via Sant’Anselmo, the Porta Pretoria, Piazza Chanoux, via De Tillier, reserve delicious lard visions, mocette, black bread, tiles (the typical local cookies) and wines. impressive signs of Roman civilization are still the Arch of Augustus and the Porta Pretoria, but also the walls, one of the best preserved reached us from all over the Roman world. And even if the grand theater remains only the colossal south face it is still a great show.
After the stop in Aosta obligatory the tour of the castles, the most famous historical symbol of the region. Perched on rocky crags and visually connected to each other, they constituted an effective observation and warning system extended throughout the Valley. Well 82 manors that still dominate the territory but the symbol of the Middle Ages is the Fénis castle surrounded by two walls that make it austere and imposing on the outside, while inside the appearance is made graceful by elegant courtyard balconies and frescoes, authentic masterpieces of international Gothic. The Verres castle stands on a rocky outcrop at the entrance of the Val d’Ayas and looks like a huge stone cube. From the Middle Ages to the Renaissance you pass in front of the castle of Issogne, which looks like a building with inside the beautiful garden courtyard embellished by the pomegranate wrought-iron fountain, the lodges, the frescoes, coffered ceilings, the rooms with antique furniture. And with paintings depicting the life of the time. As a turreted crown soars the Aymavilles castle, which was transformed in 1728 into a rococo palace. The itinerary can not miss the ancient castle of Sarre who became the favorite haunt of Vittorio Emanuele II during his “royal hunts.” As witnesses of the king’s hunter passion were the trophies of chamois and ibex horns (996 pairs well!) in the rooms and the high central tower that served as observatory. Fairytale that of Saint-Pierre rebuilt in the late nineteenth century on a previous building on the basis of those builted by Ludwig II of Bavaria.
Val d’Aosta has been able to preserve its traditions, maintaining an authentic spirit and an extraordinary architecture, that of the Walser people of Germanic language that builds its wooden houses on a base of dry stone. The miracle is that stand without mortar or nails due to sophisticated interlocking systems.
Another charm is the Chamois village nestled in absolute silence: here you can arrive only on foot or by cable car, with no cars and walk serenely between the houses with wooden galleries and tunnels that were once used for drying hay and as a passage from the one home to the other when the snow was high on the streets.
Ending with the molten gold of the Vallée, the emblem of the Valle d’Aosta gastronomy, the Fontina that gives life to the fondue in which the cheese is mixed with eggs, milk, butter and flour accompanied by croutons. To buy and take home with wooden objects such as grolle and friendship cups (Institut de l’Valdôtain Tipyque Artisanat: the largest of the four regional headquarters, serving a selection of objects made by the best craftsmen in the area is located in Courmayeur in rue de l’Eglise).