MOUNTAINS OF CULTURE
THE CASTLES OF THE AOSTA VALLEY
One after another, in a continuous succession of towers and crenellated walls, the castles of the Aosta Valley rise up at the entrance to every lateral valley, transforming the region into a unique, extraordinary open-air gallery of treasures, bearing witnesses to over a thousand years of history.
From the simple, basic styles of the early fortified houses, steeped in legends and veiled in mystery, to the refined artistic styles of the 15th-century pictorial cycles, the castles bear witness to the passions and faith of the noblemen who commissioned them.
The castles of the Aosta Valley, whether they be rough fortresses surrounded by imposing defensive walls or delightful mansions whose architecture blends perfectly with the landscape, reveal the history of a strategic but difficult region the control of which, over the centuries, was contested and fought over by many families, the most important of whom were undisputedly the Challants.
THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES OF THE AOSTA VALLEY
The Aosta Valley is an alpine corridor shaped by glaciers where humans have left their traces since the Mesolithic. A visit to the Megalithic Area in Aosta is fundamental if we want to know its most ancient history: this extraordinary archaeological site has been turned into a museum illustrating over 6000 years of history over 10000 square metres.
Augusta Praetoria was founded in the middle of the Augustan period, in 25 BCE. It is a town which wears its history of over two thousand years extremely well, thanks to the numerous monuments dating from the Roman Empire which led to it being given the title “Rome of the Alps”.
Aosta and Augusta Praetoria blend together and overlap: the present-day town is a genuine open-air museum where we see irrefutable evidence of Roman times everywhere around us. Indeed it is easy to recognise the form of the ancient Augustan city, with its walls and towers: even today the solitary splendour of the arch honouring Augustus is breathtaking, just as the rough and imposing elegance of the Porta Praetoria, the ancient entrance to the city, is a true feast for the eyes. The Roman Theatre is awe-inspiring, with its window-covered walls reaching 22 metres in height. The enigmatic Cryptoporticus of the forum, whose unusual name foreshadows an unexpected subterranean wonder, arouses the curiosity of all who see it. The same can be said of the remains of the Early Christian Church of San Lorenzo where Roman-era Aosta is replaced by Late Antiquity and we see Medieval splendour start to show itself in a city in constant transformation.