The town is called "Rome of the Alps" and its ancient origins are still visible. The first colony was built near the confluence of the mountain stream Buthier and the river Dora, but the first settlement goes back actually to the year 2900 b. C. Later the town underwent various invasions until the 10th century, when it became part of the Reign of Borgogne, which fell in the year 1032. Aosta passed therefore under the control of Umberto of Biancamano, father of the dynasty of Count of Savoy, who maintained the sovereignty for about nine centuries. Under the Savoy Family, the Valle dAosta enjoyed a remarkable political autonomy, confirmed in the 1948 by special proclaim. Now the most important regional economic activities are tourism, commerce and services.
The city and its monuments
Remarkable monuments remain of the roman age: the Arc of Augusto, the Porta Pretoria, the theatre, the forensic cryptoporticus, the town walls are almost entirely preserved. The ancient town schema is still recognizable in the modern plan. Relevant signs of the Middle Age are the collegiate church of SantOrso among the most important monumental complex of Aosta. The cathedral contains instead 16 centuries of history and art, and starting from the autumn 2001 it is possible to visit the archaeological diggings under the present pavement. By visiting them you can observe the evolution of the building from the 4th to the 11th century, from the rich roman building until the Romanesque cathedral, built around the year 1000.
The geographical area
The province includes the whole regional territory and it stands out for the beauty of mountains, which offer lots of activities during the year, for the richness of monuments and roman works. The nature is represented by the chain of Monte Bianco, the Gran San Bernardo and Piccolo San Bernardo that surround the whole town. The pass of Gran San Bernardo was for centuries one of the most important transits of Europe; one of the branches of Via Francigena passed here and was used by pilgrims who went to Rome or to the Holy Land. The most famous traveller was Napoleon who crossed the pass in May 1800 with an army of forty thousand men. Remarkable is also the consular road of Gallia that crossed the entire valley.
At the end of lateral valleys, a series of bridges allowed the passage of impetuous streams that come down from mountains; some of them are still passable, while of others remain only some rests. The most important is Pont Saint Martin with its single arch of 36 meters; it is the longest still integral roman bridge. Finally seaworthy is the roman aqueduct of Pondel, a hydraulic and civil work situated in an exclusive position.