An Introduction to Aosta ValleyItaly

The Aosta Valley is a region in North Italy and shares its borders with France and Switzerland.

The Aosta Valley is a true winter wonderland, as the region is overlooked by some of Europe’s highest peaks and has the best ski facilities in Italy. However, Aosta Valley is perfect for visiting every time of the year, thanks to the fantastic hikes during which you can admire breathtaking views and landscapes.

With a special culture that blends French Provençal and northern Italian nuances, the Valdostan influence (as it is called) can be seen everywhere in the region, from the local architecture to the delicacies on the dining table.

Things to See & Do in Aosta Valley

Aosta is Aosta Valley’s capital city. The Ancient Roman influence is evident all around it, thanks to the beautiful Roman Theater, Roman Bridge, and Forum Cryptoporticus. You will love strolling around Aosta’s center if you love history!

The region is also home to many enchanting castles, making this corner of Italy incredible for a road trip! Drive through the valley and marvel at the views of hilltop castles, the majority of which are open to the public. Fénis Castle, Sarre Castle, Bard Fortress, and the Savoy Castle are among the must-see castles! 

Besides the fairy-tale castles, the region has wonderful green valleys and blue lakes that are perfect spots for outdoorsy activities. Hike to the d’Arpy Lake, the Blue Lake, or the Misérin Lake for a fantastic day!

Aosta Valley shares with Piedmont Italy’s first national park, the Gran Paradiso National Park. If you are in for never-ending emotions, this is the place for you! Located at the namesake mountain chain, the Gran Paradiso National Park offers plenty of trekking and cycling opportunities to enjoy during the summer, and snowshoeing and cross-country skiing for the winter.

Charming villages are everywhere in Aosta Valley. La Salle is one of those. Stroll around the village to discover the true essence of Valdostan culture while passing by the medieval Châtelard Castle and admiring the imposing Mont Blanc, the Alps’ highest mountain, tinged by the colors of the sunset.

Standing at the feet of Mont Blanc, Courmayeur is one of the most popular winter destinations. The ancient town is perfect for feeling the authentic Alpine vibe and hospitality while experiencing extreme luxury. Renowned for its upscale hotels, boutiques, and restaurants, Courmayeur is beloved by the members of the jet set! The area’s snow-capped mountains make Courmayeur a sensational ski zone with over 100 km of slopes.

The Aosta Valley has another incredible mountain massif, Monte Rosa, with the second-highest mountain in the Alps and western Europe. The Italian section of Monte Rosa, between Aosta Valley and Piedmont, boasts a myriad of ski facilities and trekking trails.

Secret Gems of Aosta Valley

Aosta Valley is famous for skiing and hiking, but it is also a wonderful wellness destination thanks to its several thermal establishments.

The natural springs of Pré-Saint-Didier were already known in Roman times, but they began to be used as a thermal spot in the middle of the 1600s.

Housed in the Ancien Casinò building, the Pré-Saint-Didier spa has everything from whirlpool baths to toning cascades to wooden chalet saunas with views over the Mont Blanc chain. Relaxing with such a view will be an unforgettable experience!

Food & Drink of Aosta Valley

The mountainous terrain and cold winter climate make the food of the Aosta Valley mainly based on hearty and filling dishes.

One of the region’s top dishes is the fondue made from Fontina cheese, one of the many kinds of cheese produced in the area. Fontina cheese is also used to make Gnocchi alla Bava, where the rich sauce is made from cheese, butter, and nutmeg.

On every foodie’s to-eat list should be the Polenta concia, a traditional dish of Valdostan cuisine. This yellow flour polenta is cooked in the oven with slices of fontina and melted butter on top, for the most luxurious meal! Polenta is the component of another dish, Suede Civet, made from bite-sized pieces of chamois meat enriched by many fragrant herbs.

Deer, pork, and beef are other meats used to make delicious main courses, like Valdostana ribs or the Carbonade, a beef-based stew slowly cooked in sweet spices, such as cloves and cinnamon, and red wine.

Accompany the meal with locally produced wines with the characteristic mineral flavor, like the Syrah Valle d’Aosta Coteau Latour Les Cretes.

End your lunch or dinner in typical Valdostan fashion by drinking a Valdostan coffee (coffee with sugar and orange and lemon peels) and a bite of Valdostan sweet tegole, a classic regional dessert made with hazelnuts, almonds and vanilla.