Aosta

Aosta (French: Aoste) is the capital of Italian region of Aosta Valley. The town is in a small valley with houses going up the slopes of the surrounding mountains.

Understand

The Roman colony of Augusta Praetoria Salassorum was founded by the general Marcus Terentius Varro, who conquered it from the Salassi tribe in 25 BC. The colony housed 3,000 retired veterans. After 11 BC Augusta Praetoria became the capital of the Alpes Graies ("Grey Alps") province of the Roman Empire. Its position, at the confluence of two rivers, at the end of the Great and the Little St Bernard passes, gave it considerable military importance, and its layout was that of a Roman military camp.

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the city was ruled sucessively by the Burgundians, the Ostrogoths, the Byzantines and the Lombards (who had annexed it to their Italian kingdom but were later expelled by the Frankish Empire under Pepin the Short). Pepin's son, Charlemagne made Aosta an important post on the Via Francigena, leading from Aachen to Italy. Later it belonged to the kingdom of Savoy.

Get in

By train

Get around

Aosta is a small town and, for the tourist, everything can be easily visited on foot.

See

Roman ruins

Do

Eat

It can be very difficult finding a good restaurant that is open between approximately 2pm and 7pm in Aosta. Those that are open tend to be very casual, fast-food type places.

All restaurants offer a fixed price menu (menu turistico/menu a prezzo fisso) which is not very exciting but is good if you're watching the euros. Don't forget to keep your receipt. The police can stop you and ask to see it.

For vegetarians and vegans, eating in Aosta, and Italy in general, should not be a problem. Italians are quite relaxed and accommodating when it comes to their cuisine (unlike their French neighbours). At the Aosta tourist office, staff should be able to recommend local dishes that are vegetarian or vegan, or easily rendered so. Pizza is a safe bet as the pizza dough is not made with egg or dairy products in Italy or authentic Italian restaurants elsewhere.

Carbonade: ground beef meat roasted in red wine.

Lots of local specialities - look for the word "Valdostana" or "Valdôtaine" in the names of dishes. Fontina cheese (French: Fontine) is made locally.

Drink

Notable wines; among them is a white wine, Blanc de Morgex et La Salle. Genepy is a strong liquor.

Sleep

Go next

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