Central valley

Central valley

The Central Valley corresponds to the depression through which flows the full length of the Dora Baltea River, from the source at the foot of Mont Blanc to Pont-Saint-Martin, the last municipality of Aosta Valley, on the border with Piemont.

It has always been an obligatory passageway and a major communication route from the Mediterranean to North Europe through the Little and the Great Saint Bernard Pass. The roads of the valley have been marked out and travelled along since ancient times; although the passage through here of Hannibal is undoubtedly a legend, what is certain is that the area was conquered by Rome and during the Italian campaign of Napoleon Bonaparte, the last great military leader to have crossed the region.

The central valley occupies the most densely populated part of the region, and ranges from particularly low altitudes such as the 345 m of Pont-Saint-Martin through middle-altitude ranges up to true mountain resorts such as Champorcher and the area of the Mont Avic Regional Park.

The towns and villages concentrated in this area of the region offer a range of holiday opportunities all year round, but they are especially attractive in autumn and in spring, when there is still snow to be found at altitude and the sunny mountainsides are already suitable for walks and hikes. Alternatively, visitors might like to spend their time looking around the numerous castles, strongholds, museums and churches; or perhaps try their fortune at the French roulette tables and slot machines of the Casinò de la Vallée in Saint-Vincent, a climatic resort in which there is also a spa offering hydropinic treatments.

Localities

Pont-Saint-Martin

Pont-Saint-Martin

The municipality lies at the mouth of the Lys Valley, on the border with Piemont. A town of particular industrial and commercial importance, numerous traces of the past have survived intact.

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Perloz

Perloz

Perloz is a little rural hamlet at the mouth of the Gressoney Valley. Well off the busy tourist trail, Perloz has conserved its architecture, landscape and environment intact over the years.

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Fontainemore

Fontainemore

The village is located in a particularly pleasant natural context, surrounded by thick forests. An ancient humpback Medieval bridge with a single 22 metre arch, leads to the parish church of Sant’Antonio.

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Lillianes

Lillianes

Nestling amid an expanse of thick chestnut wood, the village is crossed through by the Lys Torrent, which can be crossed over an attractive stone bridge, the only four-span bridge in the Aosta Valley, built in 1733.

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Donnas

Donnas

A distinctive feature of the village are the terraced vineyards, which produce excellent local wines such as “Donnas”, the first DOC wine in Aosta Valley.

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Bard

Bard

The strategic position of the village, which allowed for control of traffic passing through, has played a major role in its history since ancient times, contributing to its distinctive structure, typical of a hamlet frequented by wayfarers.

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Hône

Hône

Hône is situated at the mouth of the Champorcher Valley. The main group of buildings lies in the central valley, where the Ayasse Torrent meets the Dora Baltea River.

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Pontboset

Pontboset

Pontboset is spread out across the central stretch of the Champorcher Valley. It is encircled by thick chestnut woods and is crossed by the dashing Ayasse Torrent, which over thousands of years has worn away deep.

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Champorcher

Champorcher

Champorcher sits on a large rocky promontory where visitors can admire a church and a mediaeval tower.

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Champdepraz

Champdepraz

At the mouth of the valley of the Chalamy Torrent, on a rise amid the chestnut woods in a landscape of splendidly wild beauty, Champdepraz is the headquarters of the Mont Avic Regional Natural Park.

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Arnad

Arnad

Arnad is famous for the inimitable Vallée d’Aoste Lard d’Arnad DOP and for the DOC wine it shares with Montjovet.

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Issogne

Issogne

Issogne is famous for the famous fifteenth-century castle that belonged to the noble Challant family and was built in the area where a villa dating back to the Roman empire once stood.

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Verrès

Verrès

Verrès founded by the Romans along the consular road to Gaul, is dominated by the huge castle Ibleto di Challant had built in the second half of the 14th century.

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Montjovet

Montjovet

The Montjovet area conserves traces of human settlements - such as carvings, necropoli and the remains of buildings - that date back to the Neolithic Age, although the area reached the peak of its splendour in the Middle Ages.

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Saint-Vincent

Saint-Vincent

Sitting in a splendid position on the hillside, nestling within a beautiful little basin that provides shelter from the winds and helps create such a mild climate that it is known as the “Riviera of the Alps”, Saint-Vincent features archaeological remains that date back to before Roman times.

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Châtillon

Châtillon

Châtillon is dominated by the parish church and the Passerin d’Entrèves Castle, both situated in the upper part.

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Pontey

Pontey

Pontey owes its name to the Romans who called it “Ponticulus”, small bridge, probably because there was a construction of this kind but of which there is no trace nowadays.

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Émarèse

Émarèse

Émarèse is a little village that lies in the large sheltered, sunny basin that overlooks Saint-Vincent.

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Chambave

Chambave

The village is located on a gentle hillside full of vineyards. Here you can find “La Crotta di Vegneron”, a co-operative wine-growers’ association, producing the famous “Rouge de Chambave” and “Chambave Muscat” wines.

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Saint-Denis

Saint-Denis

Saint-Denis is particularly famous for the Castle of Cly, a primitive fortress belonging to the Challant Cly family, built on a rock spur not far from the village, overlooking the hamlets below.

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Verrayes

Verrayes

Verrayes sits on a morainic terrace and enjoys a particularly mild climate thanks to its sunny position.

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