Aosta Valley Attractions Valle d'Aosta
SituationThe autonomous region of the Aosta valley lies in the northwest of Italy - in the deeply eroded valley of the Dora Baltea and its beautiful side valleys. Set amid magnificent mountain scenery at the foot of the Mont Blanc massif and surrounded by the highest summits of the Alps, the Aosta valley ranks high among the regions of Italy for scenic beauty and grandeur.ImportanceThe valley, important since ancient times as the access route to the principal Alpine passes, the Little and Great St Bernard, was guarded throughout its entire length by numerous castles and other fortified buildings, often very picturesquely situated.History and populationThe Aosta valley, strongly fortified by the Romans, became in 1191 part of Savoy, and together they passed temporarily to France in the early 19th century and later to Piedmont. When it was incorporated in Italy in 1861, the French-speaking population resisted the threat of Italianisation in language and culture. The growth of separatist feeling finally led in 1948 to the recognition of the special status of the Aosta valley as an autonomous region.LanguageThe inhabitants of the Aosta valley speak a Franco-Provençal dialect; the use of pure French is declining. However, French has equal status with Italian as an official language and also in the cultural field.EconomyThe beautiful scenery and the excellent snow to be found at the higher altitudes even in summer have promoted the development of a flourishing tourist trade. Other important sources of revenue are vine-growing at the lower levels, pasturing and some industry.