About The Aosta Valley:
Valle d'Aosta (Wikipedia) is the smallest and least populated region in northwestern Italy. Although tiny in size, it packs a punch with sharp Alpine peaks and a unique cultural mix that charmingly fuses Italian and French cultural heritage. The Valle d' Aosta is a real paradise for winter sports, situated on the Swiss and French borders, surrounded by the most prestigious Alpine peaks of Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa, the Matterhorn and the Gran Paradiso. Because of its location, on the border of France and Switzerland, skiers/boarders have the opportunity to ski/ride three countries in one week!
Lots of Extra Features:
Day trips to Turin, Chamonix in France, Italian castle tours, Milan, Courmayeur, Cervinia-Zermatt; La Thuile-La Rosiere, Dog sledding, Hot air ballooning, Guided Heli Skiing and Guided Vallee Blanche Glacier Run!
Aosta Culture and History:
Aosta, known as Rome of the Alps or little Rome, is truly a Roman town, you can tell by the remains of the monuments from the Roman times (the founders of Aosta). These remains include: The town walls, the Arch of Augustus/Arco di Augusto (25 B.C.), the Roman Amphitheatre and the Roman Forum. The architecture, the piazzas, the cafes — it’s a great place to enjoy what this unique region has to offer. The center of town is a pedestrian area which makes it easy to see the sights. The Porta Pretoria is a gate worth seeing, the Cathedral is an 11th century Romanesque church on the outside and a Gothic church on the inside. The town hall is also worth a look (Palazzo del Municipeo), as it is medieval in style. The Museo dell’Accademia di Sant’Anselmo and the Alpine and Archaeological Museum are worth a visit too. Market day (not to be missed) in Aosta is Saturday.
Regional products include honey, bread, cured meats, and produce such as cabbage, grapes, apples, pears, and garlic. Also famous from the Aosta Valley are cheeses such as toma and fontina – both of which are commonly found in local specialties throughout every course. Notable wines include two white wines from Morgex (Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle and Chaudelune), a red wine blend from Arvier (Enfer d'Arvier) and one from Gamay.
Valle d'Aosta is known for a wide variety of regional specialties that are deeply rooted in its culinary history and traditions. Some of the most famous specialties include Carbonada stew, Jambon de Bosses cured ham, Motzetta cured beef sausage, Teteun soup, and Torcetti biscuits. These dishes showcase the region's use of local ingredients, traditional preparation methods, and unique flavor combinations. Whether you are looking for hearty stews, flavorful cured meats, or sweet treats, the Aosta Valley's regional specialties are sure to tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving more!
What to expect:
There is a lot to do for the non-skier or casual skier/boarders. For enthusiastic skiers and boarders, most ski/ride seven areas, in five days, in three different countries (Italy, France & Switzerland), in sight of two of the world's most famous mountains (the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc), with a day off from the slopes, sightseeing, but you could do more!
Also, for all interested, you can do the famous Vallée Blanche run - Mer De Glace, on every skier/boarders bucket list! An 11+ mile glacier run starting from the new Mont Blanc Skyway in Italy and ending in Chamonix, France, where you come back from France via the Mont Blanc Tunnel!
Pila, Aosta, Italy:
Pila our local resort and historically our favorite. You can walk or take a shuttle/bus to the Pila gondola from our hotels. Pila is known for its excellent skiing and snowboarding opportunities, as well as its breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The resort is situated on a sunny plateau at an altitude of 1800 meters and offers skiers and snowboarders access to over 70 kilometers of slopes.
Pila is particularly popular with intermediate skiers, as it offers a wide range of blue and red runs. There are also some challenging blacks, as well as some gentle green slopes for beginners.
Pila has over over 43.5 miles of ski/ride runs, serviced by 18 lifts. The Chamolé run has the greasest lenght, starting at the Chamolé chairlift, situated at an elevation of 2,605 meters (8,546 feet), and ending at the base of the valley, covering an overall distance of roughly 9 kilometers or 5.6 miles. The Chamolé Run is an intermediate-level red slope that provides a picturesque journey through forests and vast open areas. As you descend, relish panoramic vistas of the nearby mountains, including the iconic Matterhorn.
In addition to skiing and snowboarding, Pila also offers other snow sports such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice-skating. There are many slope side restaurants and bars making it a popular destination.
La Thuile, Italy & La Rosiere, France:
One of our favorites, ski/ride between
La Thuile, Italy
La Rosière, France!
Pasta or foie gras? Chianti or chablis? Sunny slopes or powder pitch? You can have your cake and eat it too. Under the gaze of Mont Blanc and deep in the heart of the foodie-friendly Aosta Valley, skiing here serves up all of the gusto of Italy alongside a soupçon of Gallic refinement. La Thuile has been connected by lift to La Rosière in France since 1986, so you can swoosh and glide between languages, weather, and cuisines!
La Thuile's lengthiest ski run (Italy) is named the "Franco Berthod" (red intermediate) and commences at an elevation of 2,641 meters (8,665 feet) at the peak of the Fourclaz Express chairlift. The run concludes in the valley, 6.8 miles away, at an altitude of 1,441 meters (4,728 feet).
Ski/Board spectacular Courmayeur, Italy (Mont Blanc)!
Courmayeur, at the foot of the Italian side of Mont Blanc is a resort very popular with visitors from around the world.
The immaculately maintained slopes and the exceptional snow quality are the highlights of the region. Above the Val Veny (southwest), facing the Mont-Blanc, Courmayeur gives you absolutely spectacular scenery. With almost 20 lifts and over 30 different runs, Courmayeur has many options for all levels. The off piste in the area gives some nice vertical and amazing views of the Mont Blanc massif not to mention great snow! The altitude of the resort goes from town level at 1224m up to 2755m at the top of the Cresta Arp lift. Love pizza, pasta, risotto, cappuccinos and all that is Italian? The mountain also has 20 something restaurants to choose from with fantastic Italian fare!
The longest run is called the "Val Veny" run, which starts at the top of the Monte Chétif lift at an altitude of 2,525 meters (8,284 feet) and descends down to the Val Veny base area at an altitude of 1,170 meters (3,839 feet), covering a distance of approximately 5.6 miles. The Val Veny run is a red (intermediate) slope that offers a varied and enjoyable descent through forests and wide-open slopes. Skiers and snowboarders enjoy scenic views of the Mont Blanc massif and the surrounding peaks with a long and diverse descent!
Chamonix, at the foot of Mont Blanc, hosted the first ever Winter Olympics in 1924 and is considered by many to be the birthplace of alpine skiing (others would say St. Anton, Austria!). It is probably the best known European resort in the USA. Six different areas cater to all levels, from beginners to extreme skiers. World-renowned Chamonix steeped in history, is a traditional alpine village filled with historic churches, charming inns, great alpine style shopping.
Chamonix village is beautifully, always a favorite, and not to be missed. Also great if you taking day off from the slopes or joining us for sightseeing, a great village to explore and enjoy. We visit Chamonix by coach traveling through the Aosta Valley and the famous Mont Blanc tunnel from Italy to France, only an hour from our hotel!
Mer de Glace / Vallée Blanche Glacier, Italy > France:
Ski/ride The Vallée Blanche Glacier (Mer de Glace) via the Mont Blanc Skyway run from Italy to Chamonix, France. This world famous glacier is a rite of passage for most skiers and snowboarders, an 11 mile glacier run starting in Italy and ending in France! There is also an option to do this from Chamonix, France.
Known for its breathtaking views of the Mont Blanc massif, as well as its challenging and varied skiing terrain. The run takes skiers and snowboarders through a variety of terrain, including steep chutes, open powder fields, and narrow couloirs, making it a challenging and exhilarating experience.
Requires a licensed local guide along with additional safety equipment supplied by the guide. This area is monitored by guides on radios, however at points you are more lightly to see the ski patrol/ rescue helicopters below you because of the high-altitude descent. Have lunch in world famous Chamonix and then we travel back to Italy via the famous Mont Blanc tunnel.
Cervinia, Italy & Zermatt, Switzerland:
We travel by motor coach to Cervinia, Italy and ski / ride Cervinia to interconnected Zermatt, Switzerland. A magnificent area on the famous Matterhorn. Check out the ice grotto in the glacier and the nice mountain restaurants. Take your picture on the Italy / Swiss border. Bring your passport!
The extensive ski resort of Cervinia / Valtournenche with extensions over the border into Switzerland, known as the ‘Queen of the Snow’, this vast snowy area begins at 1,524m in Valtournenche, embraces Breuil-Cervinia – 2050m, rises up to Plateau Rosà at 3,488m, touches the 4,000-meter peak of Piccolo Cervino (Klein Matterhorn), and climbs to 4,478m, the top of the Matterhorn.
Cervinia is world famous for its snow record and extensive slopes. There are 110kms of downhill runs in Cervinia, which interconnect with 40kms of runs in Valtournenche, making up a total piste distance of 150kms in the resort. Slopes for the daring skier/rider are endless and will challenge the best of skiers/snow boarders. Good skiers/snow boarders, looking for more of a challenge should try the higher slopes above Cervinia and take advantage of the international pass, to cross over the Swiss border to Zermatt!
The longest run in Cervinia, Italy is called the "Ventina" run, which starts at the Plateau Rosa glacier at an altitude of 3,480 meters (11,417 feet) and descends all the way down to the Valtournenche village at an altitude of 1,524 meters (5,000 feet), covering a distance of around 12.4 miles!
The Ventina run is a red (intermediate) slope that offers a long and exhilarating descent through varied terrain, including glaciers, open slopes, and forests. The run is groomed regularly and equipped with snow cannons, ensuring good snow conditions throughout the season. Skiers and snowboarders can enjoy breathtaking views of the Matterhorn and the surrounding Alpine peaks, making the Ventina run a popular choice for intermediate and advanced-level riders seeking a challenging and rewarding ski experience.
Verbier in Switzerland with super groomed steeps and some of the best off piste in the world. Verbier's 4 Vallees ski area is the largest lift-linked ski domain in Switzerland, with 412km of groomed pistes – 39% beginner, 44% intermediate and 17% advanced – and a maximum vertical drop of nearly 2,000m off-piste from Mont-Fort Glacier (3,330m).The entire ski domain (412km) is served by 92 ski lifts linking the resorts of Verbier, La Tzoumaz and Bruson as well as Nendaz, Veysonnaz and Thyon, and has around 20 mountain restaurants.
*Our Verbier excursion is based on group interest, typically on Saturday, and is weather dependent (road conditions, but no issues for the last few years).
Skyway Monte Bianco:
Skyway Monte Bianco cable car system takes you up to the summit of Punta Helbronner, providing stunning views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers. The Skyway consists of three cable car stations, each offering different views and experiences. The first station, located in Courmayeur, takes you up to the middle station at Pavillon du Mont Fréty. From here, enjoy panoramic views of Mont Blanc and the surrounding peaks. The second station, located at 2,173 meters, is even higher up the mountain to the top of the Aiguille du Midi peak. Here, you can step onto a glass-floored terrace and take in 360-degree views of the surrounding landscape. Finally, the third station takes you to the summit of Punta Helbronner, at an elevation of 3,466 meters. From here, you can see some of the highest peaks in the Alps, as well as the glaciers and valleys below.
Included with some Aosta Valley lift ticket options. Recommended for everyone (ski/ride/sightseers). Could be part of your day skiing/riding or sightseeing in Courmayeur.
More Sightseeing Opportunities...
Castles & Archaeological Sites
Valle d'Aosta is breathtaking, nestled in the heart of the Alps, and has been a crossroads for peoples, languages, goods, and traditions since prehistoric times. Over the centuries, a rich and diverse cultural heritage has flourished, ranging from the Mesolithic era to the present day. The region boasts awe-inspiring megalithic structures, enigmatic petroglyphs, and the fascinating legacy of the Salassi people, as well as the remarkable colony of Augusta Praetoria from the Roman Age.
Valle d'Aosta is a borderland that has been shaped by a myriad of influences, particularly during the late-antique period. It is adorned with imposing castles, towers, and bell towers from the medieval era, while the artistic expressions from the Renaissance, to the Baroque age, have been enriched by various impulses and suggestions. The region continues to be a treasure trove of history and culture, where visitors can trace the footsteps of the past and marvel at the enduring legacy of this magnificent land.
There are a multitude of castles, archaeological sites, museums, and engaging attractions, easily accessible from our hotels. All of these can be found in Aosta or reached via local public transportation. The following are just a few we have enjoyed in the past.
, 15 min. from Aosta, is striking, at the entrance to the Cogne valley. The current appearance is the result of the eighteenth-century interventions commissioned by the owner, Jospeh-Félix de Challant , who decided to reconcile the Middle Ages and the Baroque in a single, eclectic structure. Today the castle tells two stories of nineteenth-century collecting, and of the Accademia di Sant'Anselmo, a savante society with the local historical memories.
A sort of nineteenth-century, welcoming house-museum surprises the visitor, but the story of the medieval remains is never lost, which reaches its peak in the attic with an original splendid structure with wooden beams dating back to the fifteenth century.
Sarriod de La Tour Castle
, 25 min. from Aosta, is a remarkable example of medieval architecture and art. The chapel houses paintings from the 13th and 15th centuries, while the rare and well-preserved ceiling of the heads is a true gem. The ceiling features sculpted heads of fantastic creatures and half-dressed human beings, creating a wooden forest of extraordinary originality. The castle also showcases furniture and paintings belonging to the Sarriod de La Tour family, who owned the castle for almost nine centuries.
Located in the plain of Saint-Pierre and built in the 13th century by Guillaume Sarriod, it consists of a tower enclosed by a small rectangular enclosure, a symbol of power and authority. the castle is now a must-visit tourist attraction.
is a magnificent medieval fortress located 45 min. from Aosta. The castle dates back to the 14th century and has been beautifully preserved over the centuries. Explore its many rooms, including the grand hall, the chapel, and the armory. Its museum features numerous artifacts, including weapons, armor, and medieval furniture. Enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding countryside from the castle's ramparts. Verrès Castle is a must-see for anyone interested in medieval history and architecture.
, 45 min. from Aosta, in Châtillon, built by Baron Carlo Maurizio Gamba is among the newest in the Aosta Valley castles, constructed in the early 20th century. It resembles a palace with a vast park offering a breathtaking view of the entire valley. It is home to the modern and contemporary art collection of the Autonomous Region of Valle d'Aosta, and the latest work of art, Orbita by Massimo Uberti, was added to the collection and serves as the centerpiece in the central tower. The castle also features the first lift in the Aosta Valley, designed to help the Baron's wife, Angélique Passerin d'Entreves, move between the different floors.
is a medieval fortress located on a small promontory and only 45 minutes from Aosta. Despite having no natural defenses, the castle's imposing appearance includes towers, crenellated walls, loopholes, and corbels, creating the classic image of a medieval castle with a formidable defense system. The castle is well-known for its Gothic-style pictorial cycles and is a popular tourist destination.
After going through a period of abandonment and even being used as a farm, Fénis Castle was purchased by architect Alfredo d'Andrade on behalf of the State in the late 19th century. He restored the castle, saving it from imminent ruin and preserving it for future generations to enjoy. Today, Fénis Castle is a well-preserved and fascinating attraction that provides visitors with a glimpse into the rich history and architecture of the Valle d'Aosta region.
Numerous sites offer a fascinating glimpse into the history and culture of the Aosta Valley, and are definitely worth a visit for anyone interested in archaeology, history, or ancient civilizations.
- Roman Theater - Aosta: Built in the 1st century AD, this impressive theater could accommodate up to 4,000 spectators and was used for various performances and events.
- Augusta Praetoria - Aosta: This archaeological site is the remains of a Roman military camp, which was established in 25 BC and later became a bustling city, known as Augusta Praetoria.
- Arch of Augustus - Aosta: Built in 25 BC, this triumphal arch was dedicated to Emperor Augustus and served as the entrance to the ancient Roman city of Aosta.
- Sant'Orso Complex - Aosta: This complex includes a Romanesque church and a cloister, and is home to an archaeological museum that displays various artifacts from the region's Roman and medieval past.
- Cryptoporticus - Aosta: These underground tunnels were part of the Roman forum and were used for storage and as a shelter during bad weather.
- Saint-Martin-de-Corléans - Aosta: This is an important archaeological site that includes a complex of early Christian buildings and medieval structures.
- Lago di Cignana - Valtournenche: This site is home to several ancient rock engravings, some of which date back to the Neolithic period.
- The Megalithic Area of Saint-Martin-de-Corléans - Aosta: This site features several megalithic structures, including menhirs and standing stones, dating back to the Bronze Age.
- Celtic Settlement of San Lorenzo - Aosta: This is the remains of an important Celtic settlement that dates back to the 5th century BC.
- The Roman Aqueduct of Pondel - Aosta: This aqueduct, which dates back to the 1st century AD, was used to transport water from a nearby source to the city of Aosta.
, 90 minutes from Aosta,
offers a unique blend of history, culture, culinary delights and is known for its elegant architecture, wide boulevards, and beautiful parks. Some must-see attractions include the Mole Antonelliana, a famous landmark and museum with panoramic city views from the top; the Royal Palace of Turin, a grandiose residence and art gallery; the Turin Cathedral, home to the famous Shroud of Turin; and the Egyptian Museum of Turin, one of the most important collections of Egyptian antiquities in the world. Other interesting sights include the Piazza Castello, the Palazzo Madama, the Basilica di Superga, and the Valentino Park. Explore the city's markets, such as the bustling Porta Palazzo, to sample local cheeses, meats, and produce. Turin is known for its delicious cuisine and bustling markets, making it a perfect destination for foodies, sightseers and shoppers alike.
, 2½ hours from Aosta, is a stunning city with plenty of sightseeing opportunities. The impressive Duomo di Milano, an iconic Gothic cathedral that towers over the city, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a luxurious shopping arcade, and La Scala, one of the world's most famous opera houses. Art lovers will enjoy the Pinacoteca di Brera, an art museum with an incredible collection of Italian Renaissance paintings. Milan also boasts a thriving contemporary arts scene, with numerous galleries and boutiques in the charming Brera district. Visitors can also explore the city's canals, known as the Navigli, which are lined with restaurants and bars, making them a great place to relax and soak up the local atmosphere.
In the past we have enjoyed Corso Buenos Aires, with over 350 shops and outlets, it features the highest concentration of clothing stores in Europe. We recomend you plan your trip/tour or hire a local guide. Milan is great but don't miss Turin!