The Alps, Europe’s tallest mountain range, stretches across the border of north-western Italy to form the Aosta Valley. Three of the four tallest peaks in Europe cast their imposing shadows on this alpine basin: Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa. Formed of one central valley with the Dora Baltea River running through it, it also consists of 13 smaller valleys carved out of the mountain slopes by glaciers and torrents.
Italian and French are the official languages spoken here. It has only been a part of Italy since the late 19th century, and the influence of its French heritage can be seen in the area’s people, architecture and cuisine. It is also the smallest and least populated region in the whole of Italy, meaning a trip to Aosta Valley is a fantastic way to experience a raw, natural and relatively empty version of Italy. Almost an entire third of the region is made up of protected areas, including the national parks of Gran Paradiso and Mont Avic.
Very cold in winter (except in the Dora Baltea Valley), and mild in summer, Aosta Valley is an ideal destination for the outdoor adventurer. With hosts of beautiful holiday towns and scenic ski resorts, a trip to the region is best enjoyed while strapped into a pair of hiking boots or skis. But there is a lot more to explore than crannies and inclines. With a rich cultural heritage – from Bronze Age to Roman, ‘The crossroads of Europe’ has served as a throughway since the times of antiquity, as can be seen by turreted castles which used to guard this alpine passageway through the mountains. Today served by the Mont Blanc Tunnel connecting Italy with Chamonix in France, this title is just as deserving now as it was then.
Holiday in Aosta Valley
The main cities in the Aosta Valley region are Aosta, the capital, Saint-Vincent, Châtillon and Sarre. In the cities you can see ancient ruins such as Roman theatres and medieval city walls; and experience the simple, robust cuisine of the region with a glass of world-class wine grown here. The food is hearty, so expect lots of potatoes, polenta, cheeses and meat. One of the local delicacies that need to be tried is Carbonnade – salt-cured beef cooked with onions, red wine and polenta.
Littered with smaller communes, ski resorts and holiday towns; Aosta Valley is a stunningly beautiful area to retreat to and scout, reconnoitre and investigate your crisp, alpine surroundings.
Renting holiday accommodation in Aosta Valley
Being a region of snow-topped chalets, balconies overlooking the rugged mountainscape and city centre apartments that are comfortable and modern; a stay in the Aosta Valley region is certainly a whole new experience from within a holiday rental. Get your own little piece of authentic Italy and live like the locals do. After a day of skiing or trekking along mountain ravines, return home and make a hearty, warming platter for you and the family to enjoy; while overlooking the piazza from your balcony with a glass of DOC labelled Petite Rouge grown right here.