Gressoney Valley, small villages and natural beauty

The Gressoney Valley is one of the lateral valleys of the Aosta Valley, located at the foot of Monte Rosa, the second highest peak of the Alps. It is a unique place, rich in typical gastronomic products, small villages and natural beauty. Let’s discover it together. 

Gressoney Valley: where is it? 

The Gressoney Valley extends for about twenty-five kilometers and is located east of the Aosta Valley, near the border with Piedmont. In the upper valley bordering Switzerland, the Val d’Ayas lies to the west. 

Also called Valle del Lys, from the homonymous torrent, the Lys, which crosses it and has played a fundamental role in the history and culture of the area. In Roman times, the Lys was known by the name of Hellex, which derived from the Latin language. It was then called Vallis Hellesii, which later became the French name “Vallaise” used to indicate the valley in general and the family de Vallaise (which had its headquarters in Perloz and owned land in the municipalities of Fontainemore and Lillianes) and still today to refer to the Lys Valley in an unofficial way.


It has an altitude ranging from six hundred to four thousand meters above sea level, and therefore offers an ideal climate in both summer and winter.  

The valley is home to eight municipalities: Pont-Saint-Martin, Perloz, Lillianes, Fontainemore, Issime, Gaby and Gressoney-Saint-Jean and Gressoney-La-Trinité. Each municipality has its own character and culture, but all share the natural beauty of the valley and love for mountain life. 

It is an ideal destination for those looking for an authentic experience in the mountains, between nature, tradition and sport because it offers a wide variety of activities, from a simple walk through the woods to a descent on the slopes. 

Summer is the perfect time to explore the valley on foot or by mountain bike while winter you can enjoy the ski slopes if you are winter sports enthusiasts. 

The Gressoney Valley is a unique place, where nature and culture come together, creating an unforgettable experience for visitors.


The natural beauty of the Gressoney Valley 

Gressoney is one of the most fascinating valleys of the Aosta Valley and is characterized by a unique natural beauty because of the breathtaking landscapes that offer a spectacular view of the mountain and the surrounding nature.  

Among the most famous attractions of the Lys Valley is the Lyskamm Glacier, an ice formation that stretches for about ten kilometers. It is one of the largest glaciers in the Alps and offers spectacular views of Monte Rosa. 

In winter, the Gressoney Valley is a true paradise for ski and snowboard lovers thanks to the numerous ski slopes that offer a spectacular view of the mountain. The slopes are suitable for all levels, from beginners to experts, and are served by modern lifts. 

What to do in Gressoney-La-Trinité and other municipalities in the summer? The valley is also famous for the many alpine lakes that offer a breathtaking spectacle and a wide variety of outdoor activities. Among the most famous lakes in the area there are Lake Gabiet (located at the foot of the north wall of Monte Rosa) and Lake Gover (lake surrounded by lush vegetation). 

The valley is also known for the presence of numerous waterfalls, such as the Lys Waterfall (about 50 meters high), the Pisse Waterfall (about 40 meters high) and the Fer Waterfall (about 30 meters high). All are within walking distance through hiking trails and offer spectacular views of the surrounding valley and numerous opportunities for activities such as hiking, photography and relaxation. 

Finally it is a place famous for its flora and fauna: there you can find mountain plants and flowers, such as silver fir, edelweiss and birch, as well as numerous animal species, including marmot, ermine and hare.


The villages of the Gressoney Valley: what to see? 

Not just natural beauty. The valley is also characterized by numerous historic villages linked to the Walser community (population of Germanic origin), where you can discover the local culture and the authentic atmosphere of the Alps.  

One of the most famous villages of the Gressoney Valley is certainly Gressoney-Saint-Jean, located about one thousand and three hundred meters above sea level. The village is characterized by paved streets, stone houses and ancient wooden fountains. Highlights include the Baroque church of Saint John the Baptist, the Savoy Castle with its botanical garden, the village of Alpenzu and the Walser Museum.


Gressoney-La-Trinité is another characteristic village of the Gressoney Valley, located about one thousand and six hundred meters above sea level. The village is located in a strategic position for those who want to explore the surrounding mountains and offers numerous opportunities for outdoor activities. Among the most visited attractions are the houses depicting the Walse architecture, Villa Ponti and Villa Elena. 

Among the villages not to be missed is Perloz, a town located in the area of the lower Lys Valley whose history dates back to the Roman period, when the area was inhabited by Celts and Gauls. Over the centuries, the area has seen the passage of many cultures and peoples that have left an imprint on local history and culture. The sanctuary of Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde, the church of Saint Joseph at the Tour d’Héréraz, the Castle of the Vallaise and the Pont de la Morette are not to be missed.


The journey to discover the villages of the valley must include Lillianes, a municipality surrounded by a spectacular mountain landscape and a rich cultural history. It is famous for its ancient architecture and its medieval hamlets. The old town is dominated by the church of San Rocco, an ancient church dating back to the fifteenth century. Other places of interest are the archaeological site of the Coppelle in the shape of Pleiades and the stone bridge of the eighteenth century. 

Gressoney Valley, the typical gastronomic products 

In every village of the Gressoney Valley it is possible to discover the local culture and the authentic atmosphere of the Alps through the typical cuisine of the area characterized by high quality gastronomic products. 

Among the typical products there is Fontina, a semi-cooked cheese made with cow’s milk. It is very versatile and perfect for preparing many dishes of the traditional Aosta Valley cuisine, such as fondue and tartiflette. We must not forget even the Toma of Gressoney. 

The valley is also famous for the production of salami, first of all the mocetta (typical salami prepared with beef or deer) and the lardo di Arnad (DOP salami prepared with pork fat and sea salt). 

Among the typical dishes there is certainly the polenta concia, a dish made with polenta and Fontina cheese, enriched with butter and bacon.  

Finally, the Lys Valley is also known for the production of fine wines, such as Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo. These wines are produced with grapes grown at high altitude, and are characterized by offering the palate great elegance and complexity.


Where to stay? 

Whether you are choosing what to see in Gressoney in two days or you want to organize a longer holiday, the valley offers numerous accommodation possibilities. 

They range from luxury solutions with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains to comfortable bed and breakfast stays for a more rustic experience to cheaper accommodations in mountain huts for a more authentic journey. Whichever accommodation you choose in the valley of Gressoney, allow yourself time to visit its villages and enjoy its table.

Copertina: italia

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