Aosta


Aosta

Sunday, October 8th, 2017

When I went to Torino, I had decided to travel to Aosta. I had never been to that part of the county and was curious so see what it was like. It’s near the border of France in the midst of mountains. It’s not far from Mont Blanc in France – looks like about 15 miles (line of sight) and maybe 25 miles from the Matterhorn in Switzerland. There’s really another reason that this city came to mind. I’ve been reading books by Antonio Manzini. They are mysteries, the kind that I usually read when reading Italian. The protagonist is Rocco Schiavone, a police detective transferred there from his beloved Rome after stepping on the toes of some big shot. So anyway I took the train from Torino with a change in Ivrea and it took a total of two hours each way. A pretty easy trip at a cost of only 10 euros each way.

The marker is the location of Aosta

 

The region of  Valle d’Aosta (equivalent to a “state” in the U.S.) is one of a few “autonomous” regions with special internal administrative rights. It’s  also the smallest and least populated region and has two official languages – french and italian. So a lot of the signs there are in both languages although italian is the most commonly used language in conversation.

There’s a lot of evidence of the Roman presence there since it was conquered by the Romans in about 25 BC. Those guys certainly got around. Why they were that interested in this part of the country which is mountainous and pretty cold in the winter is beyond me. Still it’s certainly a pretty place and lots of chain stores clearly indicated that it is highly touristed. I saw lots of French and Italian tourists and of course at least this one American.

So I had a good time walking around taking picture and had an excellent (and expensive) meal of traditional food of the area before heading back to Torino.

 

The central piazza in Aosta. The first significant sight after walking from the train station.

The cathedral – built in 11th century with a new facade in the 19th.

Yes there are lots of mountains nearby

The Praetorian Gate – built in about 25 B.C. Look at the size of those blocks! Those Romans built things to last!

Arch of Augustus. Also said to be built in about 25 BC.  if true those Romans were busy rascals.

Roman walls around the original town are largely intact.

Roman amphitheater could house up to 4000 spectators.

The antipasto – meats. cheeses and preserved chestnuts.

Main course – polenta with venison. Hearty food for a cold climate

 

 

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