Aosta, the capital of the region, is located at the confluence of the Dora Baltea with the Buthier Torrent and with the major roads that lead over the border into France and Switzerland.
It is surrounded by superb mountains, such as the Grand Combin to the north, the Emilius and the Becca di Nona to the south and the Rutor massif to the west. The Romans had understood the strategic important of the place as early as 25 B.C.,
when they founded Augusta Praetoria.
The city boasts a wealth of exceptionally well preserved Roman remains, such as as the Roman bridge, the Arch of Augustus, the Porta Pretoria gate and the cryptoportico, as well as the remains of the town walls and of a villa. From the early Christian period (5th - 6th century) we can see the archaeological site of the cross-shaped Church of San Lorenzo, where the first bishops were buried, while monuments remaining from the Middle Ages include the Collegiate Church of Sant’Orso, with the Romanesque bell tower, the cloister and the priory; the Cathedral, with the Museum of the Treasury, the stalls and, in both monuments, the rare 11th century frescoes just under the roof, as well as various towers and, on the hill, a pleasant walk away, the Ru Prévot aqueduct.
The Saint-Bénin Centre, the Church of San Lorenzo and the Porta Decumana area in the town library all host interesting exhibitions every year.
The Neoclassical building that houses the MAR, or Regional Archaeological Museum, contains a range of archaeological collections dating to between the 3rd millennium B.C. and the 7th century A.D.). The basement of the museum hosts temporary exhibitions dedicated to archaeology, while the on the 1st floor, important, prestigious art exhibitions can be visited.
Aosta is an ideal base for those wishing to explore the region, as well as an important transit point on the Via Francigena on its way down from the Great Saint Bernard Pass towards Pont-Saint-Martin.