Tucked amidst the Italian Alps is Aosta, the capital of the Aosta Valley region of Italy and a charming alpine city filled with rich Roman history. Surrounded by mountain peaks, the city sits in the basin of the Aosta Valley, giving travelers the chance to explore the wondrous outdoors as well as experience the unique historic sites that are still very much preserved in their Roman origins.

The Aosta Valley is the smallest region in Italy, and the city of Aosta is the region’s largest, featuring a population of approximately 35,000. Aosta serves as an important area for commerce, as it is the center of commercial trade routes linking Italy to France and Switzerland. Its history reflects this strategic position because the city was bounced between various powers such as the Romans, the Franks, and the House of Savoy.

Today, Roman history can still be felt throughout the city’s many monuments, historic sites, ancient buildings, and Roman-style street blocking. Aosta is an incredibly well-preserved tribute to its Roman history.

The dialect of Aosta is unique. Known as Aostan French, it is a specific variety of French that is only spoken in the Aosta Valley – a fusion of standard French, Swiss French, Piedmontese, and Italian.

This special dialect is just one reflection of how heavily influenced Aosta is by its proximity to France and Switzerland. Travelers will see the various cultural influences throughout the city in its architectural style, local traditions, culinary offerings, and more. Aosta is truly a unique and delightful locale to visit.


Aosta is located in Northern Italy in the Aosta Valley region, an alpine area known for its mountainous geography and cool climate. The city is situated in the center of a fertile basin along the region’s main river, Dora Baltea. The city sits at an altitude of 1,913 feet above sea level and is surrounded by Mount Emilius, Becca di Viou, and Becca di Nona – mountains of the stunning Italian Alps.

The climate of Aosta is a product of its location in the mountainous North of Italy. It is classified primarily as having a humid continental climate, meaning the summers tend to be warm or hot and humid while the winters are cold to severely cold.

Throughout the year, precipitation is evenly distributed. The average high temperature in summer is around 75°F and the average low temperature in winter is around 25°F.


The city of Aosta is a historic city that offers travelers plenty to do, whether they prefer to enjoy sightseeing at ancient ruins, experience modern shopping and dining, or indulge in the natural beauty of the Aosta Valley’s outdoors.

Taking a stroll through the city center can be one of the best ways to enjoy Aosta. The main square features a variety of buildings to look at, including City Hall, and is set against the backdrop of the gorgeous Italian Alps. This is a beautiful area to enjoy local dining and exploring.

For history buffs, visiting Aosta’s ancient Roman ruins can be a fun tour through time. There is the Roman Forum, crumbling ancient city walls, the necropolis, the Roman Theater, and the Criptoportico Forense – an underground gallery that was once used for military storage but now serves as a one-of-a-kind experience for travelers.

Other historical monuments to visit in Aosta include Saint-Martin de Corleans, the Praetoria Gate, and the Arch of Augustus. In addition, there are historic buildings and relics scattered throughout the city such as ancient roads, old homes, small chapels, and historic architectural elements.

For travelers of faith, there are several churches worth visiting. Once a monastery, the Collegiata di Sant’Orso is a complex that features a church (San Lorenzo), a cloister, and a chapel. Sant’Orso is also home to amazing frescoes that depict scenes from the New Testament.

Aosta’s archaeological museum is another must-see for those interested in the city’s ancient history. A kid-friendly museum, it contains Roman artifacts that guests are able to hold and examine firsthand.

In the city of Aosta there are several monumental works of statuary character, of great interest to the visitors, such as the Fountains of Buthier and Dora Baltea, the Monument to the Valdaostan Soldier, the statue of Vittorio Emanuele II of Savoy, the statue of St. Anselm, and the Cenotaph Tribute to St. Anselm.

Outdoor enthusiasts will love Aosta’s alpine setting and the amazing outdoor activities it provides. With the Italian Alps so nearby, mountain sports are extremely popular. From mountain trekking to rafting to skiing, travelers will love the stunning views and wonders of nature Aosta provides. Although the most popular places to ski near Aosta include Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn, Great Saint Bernard, and Gran Paradiso, there are countless ski resorts surrounding the area.

One of the most unique experiences to be had in Aosta is the Fair of Sant’Orso. Held every year since 1000 AD, the festival occurs in January and celebrates the ancient handicraft traditions of the region. Throughout the festival’s two days, visitors and locals alike swamp the streets of Aosta to browse and purchase souvenirs from thousands of the region’s artisans, including wooden sculptures, wrought iron works, stone and leather works, textiles, furniture, toys, tools, and more.

If traveling during the holidays, a must-see is the annual Christmas Market, Marché Vert Noel. Held annually from the middle of December to early January, the market features an array of holiday gifts and samplings of some of the region’s traditional festive food products.

After the sightseeing is done, there is an abundance of shopping and dining to be experienced in Aosta. The main road leads visitors to the city’s main square where one will find food shops, arts and craft boutiques, and plenty of restaurants and bars to enjoy.

Renowned for its stunning scenery punctuated by the dramatic peaks of the Alps, Aosta is one of those destinations that lingers in the memories of travelers long after they have departed. For those seeking the perfect winter destination or a place to visit that is outside of the typical traveler routes, Aosta will not disappoint.

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