Aosta, In the core of the Alps


On January 30th and 31st of each year, the capital of Valle d’Aosta, nestled between the green of the forest and the white of the Alpine snows, becomes the stage for a big festivity populated by artists and artisans who proudly display the fruits of their labor. We’re talking about the fair of Sant’Orso, which leads visitors along the streets of the city center to live a great event that celebrates the creativity and industriousness of mountain people, merging tradition, folklore, music and gastronomy. 

In the Middle Ages the fair was held in the Borough of Aosta, in close proximity to the collegiate church that bears the name of Sant’Orso. On the counters, of the more than a thousand present exhibitors, you can view and buy wooden sculptures, carved furniture, decorative and furnishing items made of wrought iron, stone, cloth and wool, leather objects, wicker, laces, and much more. Certainly gastronomy will not be missing, thanks to the food and wine pavilion, where you can find all the typical agro-food products of the region. Do not miss the year ending appointment of Valle d’Aosta, perhaps for a good buy, but above all to breathe a unique atmosphere.


1. STOP IN PIAZZA ÉMILE CHANOUX, the central square of Aosta, to admire the stately neoclassical building Hôtel de Ville, namely the town hall, and the 18th century palace Hôtel des Etats. From here issue the streets: via Jean-Baptiste de Tillier, via porta Praetoria, via Xavier de Maistre and viale Conseil des Commis.

2. ADMIRE THE ENCHANTING PANORAMA WHICH BACKGROUNDS THE ROMAN THEATRE, built in Roman times some decades after the founding of the city, of which today remains only the facade, pierced by arches and windows, which rises up to 22 meters.

3. VISIT THE CATHEDRAL OF SANTA MARIA ASSUNTA, located behind the squareÉmile Chanoux, which has ancient origins linked to the early stages of the spreading of Christianity in the region. The building has two Romanesque bell towers and receives attention for its massive facade.

4. WALK THROUGH THE ARCADES OF CRIPTOPORTICO FORENSE, distant just a few steps away from the cathedral, a basement building which consists of a double corridor with vaulted ceilings that surrounds the sacred area of the forum Augusta Pretoria.

5. DIVE IN THE MOUNTAIN LANDSCAPES OF THE NATIONAL PARK GRAN PARADISO, the oldest Italian National Park, which extends over an area of 70,000 hectares.

6. BOOK A GUIDED TOUR FOR THE ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVATORY, in the municipality of Nus, a must-see place complete with a weather station, a helium-physics laboratory, a teaching program constituted of two exhibitions and a planetarium.

7. LIVE AN EXPERIENCE BETWEEN FOOD AND HISTORY AT RISTORANTE VECCHIA AOSTA (Piazza Porte Praetoriane, 4), a unique restaurant in the world, sober, elegant, that offers a classic and highly creative French cuisine, with many Aosta Valley’s dishes reinterpreted in French style. Also a very good wine cellar with regional, national and French labels.

8. MAKE AN APPOINTMENT FOR TASTE AND BUY THE TASTY PRODUCTS OF THE ORGANIC FARM ERIK TOGNAN (Location Saint Benin, 23 / B, Pollein), specialized for ten years in the cultivation of apples, potatoes, pears and nuts, following a natural farming, just as in the past.

9. TASTE THE TYPICAL AOSTA VALLEY CUISINE AT TRATTORIA ALDENTE (via Croce di Città, 34), located in the historic city center. In a cozy, rustic and informal environment, Sonia and Mario present the typical menus of the classic and timeless Italian trattoria.

10. SPEND AN EVENING AT BOTTEGACCIA (Via Sant’Anselmo, 90), a wine shop near Arco d’Augusto which has become a reference point for the evenings in the city. Here, the owner Enzo Gullone, pampers guests with an excellent selection of Aosta Valley’s cheeses, cured meats, teases and typical Italian and foreign wines.