Farms, hotels, typical food and wine of the smallest region of Italy. Information for wine tourists in the Aosta Valley, wineries and leisure activities
The Aosta Valley is the smallest, least populous region of Italy.
It has a strong geomorphological, culinary, linguistic and cultural identity.
The Aosta Valley is bordered by France to the West, Switzerland to the North and the region of Piedmont to the South and East.
The Aosta Valley is located in the heart of the Alps, surrounded by four of the highest Italian and European peaks: Mont Blanc, Matterhorn, Monte Rosa, Gran Paradiso. It is a mostly mountainous area and it is crossed by the Dora Baltea river.
Valleys were dug by moving glaciers which used to cover the whole region. Now glaciers cover the highest peaks only.
The southern part of the region hosts the Gran Paradiso National Park. The park was established in 1922 in order to protect alpine wildlife such as Alpine ibex, chamois, marmots and ermines. It is Italy's oldest national park.
The climate of the region is typically alpine, with severe winters and cool summers. Snow is frequent in winter, but during the rest of the year the chances of percipitation are quite low.
The region has two main morphological features: the mountain chain which runs along the whole region and a vast surface of forests and glaciers which refreshes climate in summers.
Rome conquered the region from the local Salassi (the first inhabitants of the Aosta Valley, of Celt and Ligurian origins) and founded Augusta Prætoria Salassorum (modern-day Aosta). Aosta is called “the Rome of the Alps” due to the great quantity of archeological finds from the Roman times, falling short only Rome and Pompeii. Aosta, like Rome, was visited by pilgrims: the town is crossed by Via Francigena, the road leading religious to Santiago de Compostela, Rome or Jerusalem.
Afterwards the region was part of the Frankish Kingdom, the Carolingian Empire and the Kingdom of Burgundy.
Due to several threats of invasion during the Early Middle Ages, a great number of castles and towers spread over the region.
In 1032 the region went into Savoy orbit; it then became part of the Kingdom of Sardinia until the creation of the Kingdom of Italy in 1860.
From 1800 to 1814 the region was part of the first French Empire under Napoleon Bonaparte.