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Cultural activities

Site seeing, cultural activities and events in Aosta Valley

The city of Aosta was fonded by the Romans in 25 AD in a strategically located position at the junction of the Grand Saint Bernard valley and the central valley of Aosta. During the Roman ages, Aosta established itself as one of the most important, wealthiest and most populated centers of northern Italy. Many of the Roman ruins are still in excellent condition today and open to visitors, which explains why Aosta is also known as the "Rome of the Alps". Particularly worth visiting are the Arco di Augusto, the impressive Porte Pretoriane, the Roman theater, which has been recently completely renovated, and the beautiful criptoportico forense. Aosta is one of the few Roman cities in which the city walls (including the towers) are still perfectly preserved and visible. In addition, worth noting are the fine examples of medieval architecture, for example, the church and la collegiate of Sant'Orso, with the charming Romanesque cloister from the XII century, and the Cathedral of Notre Dame. Finally, not to miss is a stroll through the city of Aosta, whose charming and attractive pedestrian only streets take you through the city center, linking the Arco di Augusto to the Piazza della Repubblica, passing by the Porta Pretoria and the Piazza Chanoux, the heart of the city.

Another attractive of the valley are undoubtedly it's 95 medieval castles, which follow along the central valley and have been built between the last century and 1500 AD. Particularly noteworthy are the Castle of Fenis, with its suggestive architecture and magnificent towers, the massive Castle of Verres, built on the rocks that dominate the town below, the castle of Issogne, with its splendid interior and fresco's, and the castles of Saint Pierre and Aymavilles (Link to castles). Worth mentioning separately, the majestic Forte di Bard, built by the House of Savoy, at the entry to Aosta Valley from Piedmont. The fort has been recently reopened in 2006 after an important renovation and now houses the Museum of the Alps and numerous temporary exhibitions (to the fort). Another internet site with extensive information on Italian castles:

Festivals, Fairs, Artists and Craftmanship

The most important event for the people of Aosta Valley is certainly la Foire de Saint Ours, which takes place the 30 and 31 of Janaury of each year, for the past millennium along the streets of the city of Aosta. Traditionally, the fair's beginning dates back to the year 1000 and is considered the most important artisan fair in the Alps. Each year, tens of thousands of visitors coming from France, Switzerland and Italy fill the streets of Aosta to admire the products of the artisans and the tools used in traditional work. But, the Fair and the Veilla, which takes place the evening between the 30th and 31st, are events "not to miss" for the people of Aosta Valley ( In my opinion, the fair is a must and I highly recommend a visit. During the months of August, also in the streets of Aosta, there is also the Foire d'Ete, a smaller version of the Foire de Saint Ours.

During the summer period, several villages around the valley celebrate an enogastronomical fair, in which you are invited to sample traditional products offered and to experience mountain villages in another context. Among my favorites are the Festa del lardo, which takes place the last weekend of August in Arnad (, the percorso in rosso and the sagra dello Jambon, which take place in Bosses, in the Valley of the Grand Saint Bernard and the Veillà di Cogne, in the magnificent Cogne Valley. Finally, the region of Aosta Valley organizes each summer a visit to mountain pastures (Alpages ouverts)), with the possibility to sample the products made there (link).

Aosta Valley has a long and rich tradition of artisans, in particular in the production of work tools, engraving and sculpturing wood. The above mentioned fair represents a privileged occasion to experience this aspect of Aosta's culture. However, you can also visit any of the 6 IVAT (Institut Valdôtain de l'Artisanat de Tradition) boutiques, which offer a remarkable selection of products made by Aosta's local artisans. A museum dedicated to Aosta's artisan tradition has recently been opened in Fenis near the castle (

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