Aosta is the principal city of Aosta Valley, a bilingual region in the Italian Alps, 110 km (68 mi) north-northwest of Turin. It is situated near the Italian entrance of the Mont Blanc Tunnel, at the confluence of the Buthier and the Dora Baltea, and at the junction of the Great and Little St. Bernard routes.

Jagged Alpine peaks rise like marble cathedrals above the regional capital Aosta, a once-important Roman settlement that retains a charming historic centre, while also sprawling rather untidily across the valley floor. Bounced around between Burgundy and Savoy in the Middle Ages, the modern town remains bilingual, with a Valdostan culture that can be heard in its musical local dialect and simple but hearty cuisine.

Roman Ruins

Aosta’s 2000-year-old centre is awash with Roman ruins. The grand triumphal arch, Arco di Augusto , has been strung with a crucifix in its centre since medieval times. From the arch, head east across the Buthier river bridge to view the cobbled Roman bridge – in use since the 1st century AD.

Backtracking west 300m along Via Sant’Anselmo brings you to Porta Praetoria , the main gate to the Roman city. Heading north along Via di Bailliage and down a dust track brings you to Aosta’s Roman theatre.