Hugging Italy’s borders with France and Switzerland, the Aosta Valley is a picturesque region that lies along the slopes of Mont Blanc, Gran Paradiso and the Matterhorn. In addition to being an idyllic base for mountain trekking, the valley is dotted with ski resorts, centuries-old castles and prehistoric sites.
Things to do in Aosta Valley
From its medieval fortresses to its high-altitude botanic garden, the Aosta Valley is a fascinating region on the doorstep of Milan.
Take a step back in time at Saint-Martin-de-Corléans. History buffs shouldn’t miss a visit to the Saint-Martin-de-Corléans Megalithic Area, which encompasses a megalith dolmen and cist tombs dating from the Neolithic era to the Bronze Age. The site was discovered in 1969 and has played a major role in the understanding of European prehistory. Explore the remains of its stone-built necropolis and circular pits before learning about the site’s archaeological phases at the on-site museum.
Visit the Saussurea Alpine Botanical Garden. Europe’s highest botanical garden is located at the Pavillon du Mont Fréty, which can be accessed along the Monte Bianco cable car. It is named after the pioneering alpinist Horace-Benedict de Saussure and is home to around 800 different species that include northern rock jasmine and edelweiss. Outside of the summer months, its alpine pasture, rockery and wetlands are largely covered in snow.
Visit the 14th-century Fenis Castle. One of the Aosta Valley’s most famous castles is located in the town of Fenis and was built by the Challant family in the 14th century. It features a pentagonal layout with round corner towers and an inner courtyard decorated with a fresco of Saint George killing the dragon. You can wander between its dining room, kitchen and tax collector’s office, then visit the chapel and counts’ rooms.
Getting around Aosta Valley
The Aosta Valley is around two hours’ drive from the centre of Milan and Milan Malpensa Airport. Trains and buses travel through the Aosta Valley and connect its towns and villages while cable cars connect to the surrounding mountains.