Informations for your holidays in Aosta Valley
The Aosta Valley is a mountainous semi-autonomous region in northwestern Italy.
Italian and French are both official languages.
It is an Alpine valley which with its tributary valleys includes the Italian slopes of Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa and the Matterhorn; its highest peak is Mont Blanc.
The region is very cold in the winter, especially when compared with other places in the Western Alps. This is probably due to the mountains blocking the mild winds from the Atlantic Ocean. Places with the same altitude in France or western Switzerland are not as cold as the Aosta Valley.
Tourism is one of the strongest points of the region's economy. The valley's natural beauty, its peaceful atmosphere in summer and snow in winter have allowed the development of a flourishing tourism industry centred on winter sports, most famously at Courmayeur and Cervinia.
The upper Aosta Valley is the traditional southern starting-point for the tracks, then roads, which divided here to lead over the Alpine passes. The road through the Great St Bernard Pass (or today the Great St Bernard Tunnel) leads to Martigny, Valais, and the one through the Little St Bernard Pass toBourg-Saint-Maurice, Savoie.
Today Aosta is joined to Chamonix in France by the Mont Blanc Tunnel, a road tunnel on European route E25 running underneath the mountain.
The cuisine of the Aosta Valley is characterized by simplicity and revolves around "robust" ingredients such as potatoes, polenta; cheese and meat; and rye bread. Many of the dishes involve Fontina, a cheese with PDO status, made from cow's milk that originates from the valley.
Notable dishes include Carbonnade, consisting of salt-cured beef cooked with onions and red wine served with polenta; breaded veal cutlets called costolette;teuteuns, salt-cured cow's udder that is cooked and sliced; and steak à la valdôtaine, a steak with croûtons, ham and melted cheese.
Notable wines growing in this area include two white wines from Morgex (Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle and Chaudelune), a red wine blend from Arvier (Enfer d'Arvier), and a Gamay.