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The AOSTA VALLEY (Italian : _VALLE D\'AOSTA_ (official) or _Val d'Aosta_ (usual); French : _VALLéE D\'AOSTE_ (official) or _Val d'Aoste_ (usual); Arpitan : _Val d'Outa_; Walser German : _Augschtalann_ or _Ougstalland_) is a mountainous autonomous region in northwestern Italy
Italy
. It is bordered by Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes , France
France
to the west, Valais , Switzerland
Switzerland
to the north and the region of Piedmont to the south and east.

Covering an area of 3,263 km2 (1,260 sq mi) and with a population of about 128,000 it is the smallest, least populous, and least densely populated region of Italy. It is the only Italian region that is not sub-divided into provinces (the province of Aosta
Aosta
was dissolved in 1945). Provincial administrative functions are provided by the regional government. The region is divided into 74 _comuni _ (communes).

Italian and French are the official languages, though much of the native population also speak Valdôtain , a dialect of Arpitan (Franco-Provençal) , as their home language; about half of the population can speak all three languages.

The regional capital is Aosta
Aosta
.

CONTENTS

* 1 Geography

* 1.1 Climate

* 2 History * 3 Government and politics * 4 Demographics

* 5 Culture

* 5.1 Languages * 5.2 Castles * 5.3 Cuisine * 5.4 Wine growing

* 6 Gallery * 7 See also * 8 References * 9 Sources * 10 External links

GEOGRAPHY

The Aosta
Aosta
Valley is an Alpine valley which with its tributary valleys includes the Italian slopes of Mont Blanc , Monte Rosa , Gran Paradiso and the Matterhorn ; its highest peak is Mont Blanc (4.810 m). A view of refuge Albert Deffeyes , La Thuile

CLIMATE

View of Aosta
Aosta
The Astronomical Observatory of the Aosta Valley.

The valleys, usually above 1600 metres, annually have a Cold Continental Climate (Dfc). In this climate the snow season is very long, as long as 8 or 9 months at the highest points. During the summer, mist occurs almost every day. These areas are the wettest in the western Alps. Temperatures are low, between −7 °C (19 °F) and −3 °C (27 °F) in January, and in July between 20 °C (68 °F) and 35 °C (95 °F). In this area is the town of Rhêmes-Notre-Dame ., which may be the coldest town in the Western Alps
Alps
and where the winter average temperature is around −7 °C (19 °F).

Areas between 2000 metres and 3500 metres usually have a Tundra Climate (ET ), where every month has an average temperature below 10 °C (50 °F). This climate may be a kind of more severe Cold Oceanic Climate, with a low summer average but mild winters, sometimes above −3 °C (27 °F), especially near lakes, or a more severe Cold Continental Climate, with a very low winter average. Temperature averages in Pian Rosà, at 3400 metres high, are −11.6 °C (11.1 °F) in January and 1.4 °C (34.5 °F) in July. It is the coldest place in Italy
Italy
where the climate is verifiable.

In the past, above 3500 metres, all months were having an average temperature below freezing, with a Perpetual Frost Climate (EF). In recent years though there was a rise in temperatures. See as an example the data for Pian Rosà.

HISTORY

The Saint-Pierre Castle . The Fénis Castle , 13th century

The first inhabitants of the Aosta
Aosta
Valley were Celts
Celts
and Ligures , whose language heritage remains in some local placenames. Rome conquered the region from the local Salassi around 25 BC and founded _Augusta Prætoria Salassorum_ (modern-day Aosta) to secure the strategic mountain passes, and they went on to build bridges and roads through the mountains. Thus, the name _Valle d'Aosta_ literally means "Valley of Augustus".

In 1031–1032 Humbert I of Savoy , the founder of the House of Savoy , received the title _Count of Aosta_ from Emperor Conrad II of the Franconian line and built himself a commanding fortification at Bard . Saint Anselm of Canterbury was born in Aosta
Aosta
in 1033 or 1034. The region was divided among strongly fortified castles , and in 1191 Thomas I of Savoy found it necessary to grant to the communes a _Charte des franchises_ ("Charter of Liberties") that preserved autonomy—rights that were fiercely defended until 1770, when they were revoked in order to tie Aosta
Aosta
more closely to Piedmont , but which were again demanded during post-Napoleonic times. In the mid-13th century Emperor Frederick II made the County of Aosta
Aosta
a duchy (see Duke of Aosta
Aosta
), and its arms charged with a lion rampant were carried in the Savoy arms until the reunification of Italy
Italy
in 1870.

The region remained part of Savoy lands, with the exceptions of French occupations from 1539 to 1563, later in 1691, then between 1704 and 1706. As part of the Kingdom of Sardinia it joined the new Kingdom of Italy
Italy
in 1861. It was also ruled by the First French Empire
First French Empire
between 1800 and 1814. During French rule, it was part of Aoste arrondissement in Doire department.

The region gained special autonomous status after the end of World War Two; the province of Aosta
Aosta
ceased to exist in 1945.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS

Main article: Politics of Aosta
Aosta
Valley

For more than 20 years the valley has been in autonomist hands. As of the 2013 electiions, the autonomist centre-right Valdostan Union together with autonomist _Stella Alpina _ and _Autonomist Federation_ retained its absolute majority in the Council of the Valley for the 8th time in a row.

DEMOGRAPHICS

HISTORICAL POPULATION

YEAR POP. ±%

1861 81,884 —

1871 81,260 −0.8%

1881 85,007 +4.6%

1901 83,529 −1.7%

1911 80,680 −3.4%

1921 82,769 +2.6%

1931 83,479 +0.9%

1936 83,455 −0.0%

1951 94,140 +12.8%

1961 100,959 +7.2%

1971 109,150 +8.1%

1981 112,353 +2.9%

1991 115,938 +3.2%

2001 119,548 +3.1%

2011 128,000 +7.1%

2017 126,883 −0.9%

Source: ISTAT 2001

The population density of Aosta
Aosta
Valley is by far the lowest of the Italian regions. In 2008, 38.9 inhabitants per km2 were registered in the region, whereas the average national figure was 198.8, though the region has extensive uninhabitable areas of mountain and glacier, with a substantial part of the population living in the central valley. Migration from tributary valleys has now been stemmed by generous regional support for agriculture and tourist development.

The population is growing slowly but steadily. Negative population growth since 1976 has been more than offset by immigration. The region has one of Italy's lowest birth rates , with a rising average age. This, too, is partly compensated by immigration, since most immigrants arriving in the region are younger people working in the tourist industry. Between 1991 and 2001, the population of Aosta
Aosta
Valley grew by 3.1%, which is the highest growth among the Italian regions. With a negative natural population growth, this is due exclusively to positive net migration. Between 2001 and 2011, the population of Aosta
Aosta
Valley grew by a further 7.07%. As of 2006 , the Italian National Institute of Statistics ISTAT estimated that 4,976 foreign-born immigrants live in Aosta
Aosta
Valley, equal to 4.0% of the total regional population.

The Valdôtain population and their language dialects have been the subject of some sociological research.

CULTURE

LANGUAGES

Main articles: Aostan French and Valdôtain dialect

The Aosta
Aosta
Valley was the first government authority to adopt Modern French as the official language in 1536, three years before France itself. Italian and French are nowadays the region's official languages and are used for the regional government's acts and laws, though Italian is much more widely spoken in everyday life, and French is mostly spoken in cultural life. School education is delivered equally in both Italian and French so that everyone who went to school in Aosta
Aosta
Valley can speak French to at least a medium-high level.

The regional language is a dialect of Franco-Provençal called Valdotain
Valdotain
(locally, _patois _). It is spoken as native tongue and as second language by 68,000 residents, about 58% of the population, according to a poll taken by the _Fondation Émile Chanoux_ in 2002. The residents of the villages of Gressoney-Saint-Jean , Gressoney-La-Trinité and Issime , in the Lys Valley, speak two dialects of Walser German origin called _Titsch_ and _Töitschu_ respectively.

USE OF LANGUAGES BY THE POPULATION (2001)

Italian   96.01%

Aostan French   75.41%

Valdôtain ( Franco-Provençal )   55.77%

All three languages   50.53%

CASTLES

Châtel-Argent Saint-Pierre Castle Fénis Castle
Castle

There are a numerous medieval castles and fortified houses in the Aosta
Aosta
Valley, including Châtel-Argent , Saint-Pierre Castle , Fénis Castle
Castle
, Issogne Castle
Castle
, Ussel Castle
Castle
, Sarre Castle
Castle
, Cly Castle
Castle
and Tour de Châtelard . The Castel Savoia di Gressoney in Gressoney-Saint-Jean was conceived in the 19th century but completed in 1904. Since 1990 it has a park named the Savoy Castle
Castle
Alpine Botanical Garden .

CUISINE

The cuisine of Aosta
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. It is found in dishes such as the soup _à la vâpeuleunèntse_ (Valpelline Soup). Other cheeses made in the region are Toma and Seras. Fromadzo ( Valdôtain for _cheese_) has been produced locally since the 15th century and also has PDO status.

Regional specialities, besides Fontina, are _Motzetta_ (dried chamois meat, prepared like prosciutto ), Vallée d\'Aoste Lard d\' Arnad (a cured and brined fatback product with PDO designation), Vallée d’Aoste Jambon de Bosses (a kind of ham , likewise with PDO designation), and a black bread.

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.

WINE GROWING

See also: Valle d\' Aosta
Aosta
DOC

Notable wines 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 .

GALLERY

*

The prehistoric site near Chenal castle, Montjovet , rich in petroglyph *

Male Alpine Ibex in Aosta's Parco Nazionale Gran Paradiso *

Alpine marmot in Aosta's Parco Nazionale Gran Paradiso *

Mount Castor

SEE ALSO

* Italy
Italy
portal * European Union portal

* Alps-Mediterranean Euroregion * Roman Catholic Diocese of Aosta
Aosta
* Elections in Aosta
Aosta
Valley * Mont Blanc * List of Presidents of Aosta
Aosta
Valley * Arch of Augustus in Aosta
Aosta
* Roman Theatre, Aosta
Aosta
* Roman bridge Pont d\'Aël * 13th-century bridge of Grand Arvou * Fort Bard—Museum of the Alps
Alps
* Mont Blanc Tunnel * Gran Paradiso National Park

REFERENCES

* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ "Statut Special
Special
Pour La Vallee D\'Aoste" (in French). Conseil de la Vallée d'Aosta. 2001. Retrieved 2015-10-25. * ^ _A_ _B_ "Statistiche demografiche ISTAT". Demo.istat.it. Retrieved 2010-04-22. (in Italian) * ^ _A_ _B_ "Regional GDP GDP per capita in the EU in 2011: seven capital regions among the ten most prosperous" (PDF). European Commission - Press Release Database. 2014. Retrieved 2015-10-23. External link in publisher= (help ) * ^ Aostan French pronunciation - Jean-Marie Pierret, _Phonétique historique du français et notions de phonétique générale_, Peeters, Louvain-la-Neuve, 1994, p.104. * ^ "Le Statut spécial de la Vallée d\'Aoste". 1948. Retrieved 2017-07-10. Articles 1 and 48b of the constitutional law officially assert the region's autonomy. * ^ _A_ _B_ Italian Parliament - VI Commission document 2000-07-18 (in Italian) * ^ _A_ _B_ Decime, R.; Vernetto, G., eds. (2009). _Profil de la politique linguistique de la Vallée d’Aoste_ (in French). Le Château. p. 20. * ^ "ESO Astronomy Camp for Secondary School Students". _ESO Announcement_. Retrieved 15 May 2013. * ^ "Guida alla consultazione del bollettino meteorologico della Regione Autonoma Valle d’ Aosta
Aosta
con elementi di meteorologia alpina" (in Italian). Valle d' Aosta
Aosta
Official Website. * ^ _A_ _B_ "Pian Rosa Climate Charts". Climate-charts.com. 2010. Retrieved 2015-10-23. * ^ Poling, Dean (October 12, 2009). "What does Valdosta mean?". _Valdosta Daily Times_. Archived from the original on July 19, 2012. Retrieved 2013-02-21. * ^ François Velde (2000). "Heraldry in the House of Savoia". Heraldica. Retrieved 2010-04-22. * ^ Almanach Impérial an bissextil MDCCCXII, pp. 392–393, accessed in Gallica
Gallica
18 February 2015 (in French) * ^ "Centre-right autonomists win election in Aosta
Aosta
Valley". _Nationalia.com_. 2013-05-27. Retrieved 2013-08-24.

* ^ Saint-Blancat, Chantal (1984). "The Effect of Minority Group Vitality upon Its Sociopsychological Behaviour and Strategies". _Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development_. 5 (6): 511–16. doi :10.1080/01434632.1984.9994177 . Cooper, Danielle Chavy (1987). "Voices from the Alps: Literature in Val d'Aoste Today". _World Literature Today_. 61 (1): 24–7. JSTOR 40142443 . doi :10.2307/40142443 . * ^ Caniggia, Mauro; Poggianti, Luca (2012-10-25). "La Vallée d\'Aoste: enclave francophone au sud-est du Mont Blanc" (in French). Zigzag magazine. Retrieved 2013-11-28. * ^ _A_ _B_ AA. VV. "Une Vallée d’Aoste bilingue dans une Europe plurilingue". in French and Italian. Aoste: Fondation Emile Chanoux. Retrieved 2015-04-07. * ^ Aosta
Aosta
Valley Regional Museum of Natural Science museoscienze.it * ^ _A_ _B_ Massetti, E. " Aosta
Aosta
Valley Castles" n.d., accessed 15 March 2014. * ^ "Fontina". Valle D' Aosta
Aosta
Official Tourism Website. 2014. Retrieved 2015-10-23. * ^ "Seupa à la Vapelenentse (Valpelline Soup)". Valle D'Aosta Official Tourism Website. 2014. Retrieved 2015-10-23. * ^ "Gressoney toma cheese". Valle D' Aosta
Aosta
Official Tourism Website. 2014. Retrieved 2015-10-23. * ^ "Fromadzo cheese". Valle D' Aosta
Aosta
Official Tourism Website. 2014. Retrieved 2015-10-23. * ^ "Valleé d’Aoste Lard d’Arnad". Valle D' Aosta
Aosta
Official Tourism Website. 2014. Retrieved 2015-10-23. * ^ "Vallée d’Aoste Jambon de Bosses". Valle D' Aosta
Aosta
Official Tourism Website. 2014. Retrieved 2015-10-23. * ^ "The Teuteun". Valle D' Aosta
Aosta
Official Tourism Website. 2014. Retrieved 2015-10-23. * ^ "Steak Valdaostan style" (in Italian). Consorzio Produttori e Tutela Della Fontina DOP. Retrieved 2015-10-23. * ^ "D.O.C. Wine". Valle D'