Aosta (Italian: [aˈɔsta] ( listen); French: Aoste
[ɔst]; Arpitan: Aoûta; Latin: Augústa Prætṓrĭa
Salassṓrum) 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.
Aosta is not
the capital of the province, because
Aosta Valley is the only Italian
region not divided into provinces. Provincial administrative functions
are instead shared by the region and the communes.
3 Main sights
3.1 Ancient remains
3.2 Other sights
5 Notable people
6 See also
7 Twin towns-sister cities
9 Further reading
10 External links
Arches of the Roman Theatre.
Aosta was settled in proto-historic times and later became a centre of
the Salassi, many of whom were killed or sold into slavery by the
Romans in 25 BC. The campaign was led by Terentius Varro, who then
founded the Roman colony of Augusta Praetoria Salassorum, housing
3,000 retired veterans. After 11 BC
Aosta became the capital of the
Alpes Graies ("Grey Alps") province of the Empire. Its position at the
confluence of two rivers, at the end of the Great and the Little St
Bernard Pass, gave it considerable military importance, and its layout
was that of a Roman military camp.
After the fall of the Western Empire, the city was conquered, in turn,
by the Burgundians, the Ostrogoths, and the Byzantines. The Lombards,
who had annexed it to their Italian kingdom, were expelled by the
Frankish Empire under Pepin the Short. Under his son, Charlemagne,
Aosta acquired importance as a post on the Via Francigena, leading
Aachen to Italy. After 888 AD it was part of the renewed Kingdom
Arduin of Ivrea
Arduin of Ivrea and Berengar of Friuli.
In the 10th century
Aosta became part of the Kingdom of Burgundy.
After the fall of the latter in 1032, it became part of the lands of
Count Humbert I of Savoy.
The privilege of holding the assembly of the states-general was
granted to the inhabitants in 1189. An executive council was nominated
from this body in 1536, and continued to exist until 1802. After the
Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna restored the rule of Savoy it was reconstituted and
formally recognized by Charles Albert of Sardinia, at the birth of his
grandson Prince Amedeo, who was created duke of Aosta.
Aosta has a transitional cool summer humid continental climate
(Köppen Dfb) closely bordering on a cool summer humid oceanic climate
(Köppen Cfb). It is considered temperate continental (Dc) in the
Trewartha climate classification.
Climate data for Aosta
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Tour du Lépreux.
The ancient town walls of Augusta Prætoria Salassorum are still
preserved almost in their entirety, enclosing a rectangle 724 by 572
metres (2,375 by 1,877 ft). They are 6.4 metres (21 ft)
high, built of concrete faced with small blocks of stone. At the
bottom, the walls are nearly 2.75 metres (9.0 ft) thick, and at
the top 1.83 metres (6.0 ft).
Towers stand at angles to the enceinte and others are positioned at
intervals, with two at each of the four gates, making twenty towers in
total. They are roughly 6.5 metres (21 ft) square, and project
4.3 metres (14 ft) from the wall. Of the 20 original towers, the
following are well preserved:
Tour du lépreux (French for Leper's Tower), was given this name after
a leper called Pierre-Bernard Guasco was jailed there in the late 17th
century. Le lépreux de la cité d'Aoste, a novel by Xavier de
Maistre, is also named after this leper.
Tourneuve (13th century).
Tour du Pailleron.
Tower (Castle) of Bramafan, built in the 11th century over a Roman
bastion. It was the residence of the Savoy viscounts. The
Franco-Provençal term Bramafan is translated as "He who screams for
Tour du Baillage.
The east and south gates exist intact. The latter, a double gate with
three arches flanked by two towers known as the Porta Praetoria (1st
century AD) was the eastern gate to the city, and has preserved its
original forms apart from the marble covering. It is formed by two
series of arches enclosing a small square.
The rectangular arrangement of the streets is modeled on a Roman plan
dividing the town into 64 blocks (insulae). The main road, about 10
metres (33 ft) wide, divides the city into two equal halves,
running from east to west. This arrangement makes it clear that
guarding the road was the main raison d'être of the city.
The Roman theatre, of which the southern façade remains today, is 22
metres (72 ft) tall. The structure, dating from the late
reign of Augustus, occupied an area of 81 by 64 metres (266 by
210 ft); it could contain up to 4,000 spectators. In the nearby
was the amphitheatre, built under Claudius. A marketplace surrounded
by storehouses on three sides with a temple in the centre with two on
the open (south) side, as well as a thermae, have also been
Arch of Augustus.
Outside the town walls is the Arch of Augustus, a triumphal arch in
honour of Augustus, built in 35 BC to celebrate the victory of consul
Varro Murena over the Salassi. About 8 kilometres (5 miles) to the
west is a single-arched Roman bridge, called the Pont d'Aël. It has a
closed passage, lighted by windows for foot passengers in winter, and
above it an open footpath.
There are considerable remains of the ancient road from Eporedia
(modern Ivrea) to Augusta Praetoria into the
Aosta Valley. The modern
railway follows this route, notable for the Pont Saint-Martin, which
has a single arch with a span of 35 metres (115 ft) and a roadway
4.5 metres (15 ft) wide; the cutting of Donnas; and the Roman
bridges of Châtillon (Pont Saint-Vincent) and
Aosta (Pont de Pierre).
The Cathedral, built in the 4th century and replaced in the 11th
century by a new edifice dedicate to the Madonna. It is annexed to the
Sant'Orso (Saint-Ours). Its most evocative
feature is the cloister, which can be entered through a hall on the
left of the façade. It is dedicated to Ursus of Aosta.
The Saint-Bénin College, built about 1000 by the Benedictines. It is
now an exhibition site.
The Bridge of Grand Arvou, a medieval arch bridge-aqueduct, is located
in the frazione.
Aosta lies on the crossroad of two major trans-alpine trunk roads: SS
26 connecting the city of
Little St Bernard Pass
Little St Bernard Pass on the
France border, and SS 27 connecting the city of
Aosta to the
Great St Bernard Pass
Great St Bernard Pass on the Italy-
Aosta is also
served by the A5 motorway between
Turin and Courmayeur.
Aosta railway station, opened in 1886, forms part of the
Aosta railway. Direct trains only connect
to the city of Ivrea. The branch line to nearby Pré-Saint-Didier, in
the Valdigne, on the way towards
Courmayeur was closed in 2015. Train
service is operated by Trenitalia.
The main bus hub is located near the
Aosta train station. Buses
connect the city of
Aosta to the nearby valleys and to destinations
outside the region, including Turin, Milan,
Chamonix (France) and
Aosta airport is located 5 km to the east of the city.
Anselm of Canterbury
Anselm of Canterbury (1033–1109), archbishop of Canterbury from 1093
Xavier de Maistre
Xavier de Maistre (1763–1852), writer of Le lépreux de la cité
d'Aoste ("The leper from Aosta", 1811)
Duke of Aosta
Franco-Provençal language -
Category:Towers in Italy
Category:Tribes involved in the Gallic Wars
Twin towns-sister cities
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Italy
Aosta is twinned with:
Albertville, Savoie, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France
Narbonne, Aude, Occitanie, France
Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, Haute-Savoie, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France
San Giorgio Morgeto, Reggio Calabria, Calabria, Italy
Martigny, Valais, Switzerland
^ Bilancio demografico Anno 2013 Novembre (dati provvisori).
Provincia: Valle d'Aosta/Vallée d'Aoste, Istat.
Aostan French pronunciation - Jean-Marie Pierret, Phonétique
historique du français et notions de phonétique générale, Peeters,
Louvain-la-Neuve, 1994, p.104.
^ Pronounced [ɔst] in Aostan French, [aˈɔst] in standard French.
^ John Lemprière, Lorenzo DaPonte, & John David Ogilby (1839),
Bibliotheca Classica: Or, A Dictionary of All the Principal Names and
Terms, (Tenth American Edition), New York: W.E. Dean. Salassi, p. 281
^ a b One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates
text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh,
ed. (1911). "Aosta". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2 (11th ed.). Cambridge
University Press. p. 158.
Aosta - The Town Walls". www.aostalife.it. Retrieved
Aosta - The Towers". www.aostalife.it. Retrieved
^ Toy, Sidney. Castles: Their Construction and History. New York:
Dover Publications, 1985. p. 30.
Aosta - The Roman Theatre". www.aostalife.it. Retrieved
^ "Roman Theatre
Aosta Valley". www.lovevda.it. Retrieved
Aosta - The Arch of Augustus". www.aostalife.it.
^ "Our Network - Autostrade per l'Italia". www.autostrade.it.
^ "Acquista il biglietto con le nostre offerte - Trenitalia".
www.trenitalia.com (in Italian). Retrieved 2017-02-09.
^ Sanson, Fabrizio. "Home SAVDA Autoservizi e Autolinee della Valle
d'Aosta". savda.it (in Italian). Retrieved 2017-02-09.
^ a b c d e f g h Annuaire-Mairie.fr. "Ville d'Aoste" (in French).
This article incorporates text from a publication now in
the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Aosta".
Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
Lin Colliard, La vieille Aoste, éd. Musumeci, Aoste, 1972.
Aimé Chenal, Promenade archéologique de la ville d'Aoste, ITLA,
Mauro Caniggia Nicolotti & Luca Poggianti, Aoste inconnue :
traces cachées, oubliées ou invisibles de la vieille ville, typog.
La Vallée, Aoste, 2010.
Carlo Promis, Le antichità di Aosta, (Turin, 1862);
Édouard Bérard, Atti della Società di Archeologia di Torino, iii.
119 seq.; Notizie degli Scavi, passim.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Aosta.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Aosta.
Virtual Museum Vallée (VMV), virtual museum of
Augusta Praetoria Site plan & photos from the
Ancient Places TV: HD Video of Aosta, Italy
Regional capitals of Italy
Trieste, Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Trento, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol
Basilica di Sant'Andrea
Basilica of Superga
Castello della Manta
Cittadella of Alessandria
Gran Paradiso National Park
Historic center of Aosta
Residences of the Royal House of Savoy
Sacra di San Michele
Sacri Monti of Piedmont