Historically a region of small scale agriculture, this mountainous region later gave way to metalworking, and then more recently almost entirely to tourism. The Aosta Valley is best known by visitors because of its stunning mountain scenery and related activities.
The Valle d'Aosta is a small Italian region - the smallest and least populated in the country - situated to the northern edge of Piedmont and in the far north-west of Italy, with France to the west and Switzerland to the north..
It consists of the main Aosta valley itself, and then numerous smaller valleys that head off either side.
Val d'Aosta is little populated and quite remote, but the region attracts visitors in both summer and winter, the former for hiking, kayaking, mountain climbing etc. and the winter for snow based leisure pursuits.
Among the many beautiful and diverse landscapes there are several renowned highlights that attract visitors:
- the Great Saint Bernard Pass is a particularly impressive mountain pass, and this historically vital pass route through the mountains has been key to the importance of the region over more than 2000 years.
- the Parco Nazionale del Gran Paradiso (Gran Paradis National park), a region of stunning mountain landscapes and a chance to see numerous species of flora and fauna
The capital of the region, Aosta, has an interesting centre with substantial remains from both Ancient Roman and medieval times.
There are also several historical monuments to discover in the region, including a large number of castles such as those in Fenis, Ussel and Issogne, among others.
The extensive castle and museum at Bard (listed as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy) is also recommended.
Ski enthiusiasts (and summer hikers) will perhaps want to head for Courmayeur (the most popular resort in val d'Aosta, within the borders of the Gran Paradis National Park), or perhaps Cervinia or Champoluc,, among the popular winter resorts in the region.
The village of Bard in Val d'Aosta is listed among the 'most beautiful villages in Italy'