Aosta Valley Region Italy: Map, Culture, and Cities to Visit 

The Aosta Valley (Italian: Valle d’Aosta or Val d’Aosta) is an autonomous region in northern Italy. It is located in the northwestern part of the country, bordering France, Switzerland, and Piedmont. The region is also known as Valle d’Aosta or Vallée d’Aoste in French. The coordinates of the Aosta Valley region are 45°45’0.00″ N 7°15’0.00″ E and the capital and largest city is Aosta

The current president of the Aosta Valley Region is Renzo Testolin, who assumed office on 2 March 2023 – present.

The Aosta Valley is surrounded by some of the highest mountains in Europe, including Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa, and the Matterhorn. This mountainous geography means tourism and skiing are important parts of the regional economy. The culture of the Aosta Valley is influenced by its geographical isolation and its mix of Italian and French heritage. The main language spoken in the region is Italian, but Franco-Provencal dialects are also common. In this article you will find information on the location, geography, population, cities, food, wine, and travel tips for visiting the Aosta Valley region of Italy.

Where is the Aosta Valley region located in Italy? 

The Aosta Valley region is located in the far northwestern part of Italy. It is part of the larger northern region of Italy. The valley is nestled between the highest mountains in Europe – the Alps.

Specifically, the Aosta Valley borders Piedmont to the south and southeast. To the north and northwest, it borders France, and to the northeast it borders Switzerland. The Alpine divide provides a natural border between Italy and its neighboring countries.

Due to its location in the northern region of Italy, surrounded by mountains, the Aosta Valley can be harder to reach than some other parts of Italy. The best way to get there is generally by car or train, traveling through the Mt Blanc tunnel from France, or through inter-regional mountain passes from Piedmont. Its remote alpine location means the Aosta Valley sees fewer tourists compared to more accessible and populous parts of Italy.

What is the population of val d’Aosta, Italy?

The Aosta Valley is one of the most sparsely populated regions in Italy. As of 2023, the population of the valley is approximately 127029 residents. This gives a population density of around 37 inhabitants per square kilometer.

The population of val d’Aosta has been declining in recent decades due to negative natural growth (more deaths than births) and youth emigration. The birth rate is one of the lowest in Italy, at only 7 births per 1000 inhabitants, according to

Each year, the Aosta Valley receives around 2  million tourists who come to enjoy the scenic mountains and Alpine sports, according to a 2022 report. One of the main languages spoken in the region, especially in rural mountain villages, is the Aosta language. This dialect of Arpitan (Franco-Provencal) is closely related to Swiss French. Italian remains the primary administrative language.

Map of aosta valley

Map of Aosta Valley region of Italy

What are the Geographical features of Aosta Valley Region? 

The geography of the Aosta Valley is dominated by steep, tall mountains and dramatic Alpine landscapes. Here are some of the main geographical features:

  • The Aosta Valley covers an area of 3,263 km2, making it one of the smaller regions of Italy. However, over 50% of the land is over 2000m above sea level.
  • The valley is oriented east-west, with the Dora Baltea River running through the center. The north-south roads follow the river valleys between the high mountains.
  • The Alps surround the Aosta Valley on all sides, including some of the tallest mountains in Europe. Major peaks include Mont Blanc (4808m), Monte Rosa (4634m), Cervino/Matterhorn (4478m), and Gran Paradiso (4061m).
  • Many large glaciers exist, especially on the slopes of Mont Blanc and Monte Rosa. The largest is the Miage Glacier.
  • Since the Aosta region sits entirely within the Alps, no plains or lowlands exist. Just steep, tall valley walls rise up to jagged mountain peaks and passes.

Alpine Mountains

The Alps dominate the geography of the Aosta Valley. Here are 7 of the most famous Alpine mountains located in or around the region:

  • Mont Blanc – At 4808m, Mont Blanc is the tallest mountain in the Alps and in Western Europe. It straddles the border between Italy and France. The Italian side is part of the Aosta Valley. Mont Blanc is famous for its year-round snow, perilous climbing routes, and stunning beauty.
  • Monte Rosa – The second highest mountain in the Alps at 4634m. It lies on the Swiss-Italian border and is formed of multiple high peaks covered in vast glaciers. The Italian side falls within the Aosta Valley region.
  • Matterhorn – Perhaps the world’s most iconic mountain, the Matterhorn is instantly recognizable for its knife-edge ridgeline and pyramidal shape. At 4478m high, climbing the Matterhorn is an ambitious challenge for mountaineers. It straddles the border between Switzerland and Italy.
  • Gran Paradiso – Located entirely within the Italian Aosta Valley, Gran Paradiso is the tallest mountain wholly within Italy, at 4061m elevation. It is renowned for its wildlife, including ibex and chamois.
  • Mont Cevedale – A large 3773m mountain between Italy’s Aosta and South Tyrol regions. It has a glacier on its slopes and is popular for hiking and climbing.
  • Dent d’Hérens – Sitting on the border between Italy and Switzerland, the Dent d’Hérens is a 4171m tall mountain in the Pennine Alps noted for its challenging climbing routes and striking rock spires.
  • Grandes Jorasses – A part of the Mont Blanc massif, the Grandes Jorasses is renowned for having some of the most difficult and serious climbs in the Alps on its 4000m+ peaks.

What are the most important sky resorts on Aosta Valley? 

The Aosta Valley is home to some of the largest and most popular ski resorts in the Italian Alps due to its high mountains and abundant snowfall. Major ski resorts in the Aosta Valley region of Italy include:

  • Breuil-Cervinia – One of Italy’s highest and snowiest resorts, known for views of the Matterhorn. It has over 100 km of groomed pistes.
  • Courmayeur – A charming resort near Mont Blanc that attracts intermediate and expert skiers. It has excellent off-piste skiing.
  • La Thuile – Family-friendly resort with terrain for all levels and connections over to La Rosière in France via ski lifts.
  • Monterosa Ski – A huge linked area between Champoluc, Gressoney, and Alagna with 180km of varied pistes.
  • Pila – Just a short drive from Aosta, Pila offers tree-line skiing and a variety of runs for all abilities.
  • Valgrisenche – A quieter resort in the unspoiled Valgrisenche valley, perfect for those seeking natural snow skiing away from crowds.

What are the most Famous Cities to Visit in Aosta Valley? 

With its remote Alpine location, the Aosta Valley does not have any major metropolitan areas. However, several small cities, towns, and villages serve as popular tourist destinations thanks to their striking mountain landscapes, medieval architecture, and proximity to ski resorts. Some of the most visited cities and towns in Aosta Valley include:


The city of Aosta is the capital of the Aosta Valley region as well as its largest city. It has a population of around 36 883 residents. The city is located in the center of the valley, surrounded by high mountains on all sides. Nearly 3 million tourists visit Aosta every year, attracted by its history and Alpine surroundings.

Some of Aosta’s major attractions include the original Roman city walls, the medieval Collegiate Church, the Arch of Augustus, and the 11th-century cathedral. The city also has an attractive pedestrian district with cafes, shops, and restaurants. Hiking trails along the surrounding mountains are easily accessible from town.


Courmayeur is a small town of around 2,969 residents, but it is one of the most visited destinations in the Aosta Valley, with over 2 million annual visitors. Courmayeur is one of Italy’s premier ski resorts and mountaineering hubs, situated beneath the Mont Blanc massif.

Visitors come to Courmayeur to ride the cable car up Monte Bianco for stunning views, hike in the mountains, enjoy the charming pedestrian village, and ski. The lively resort town has many quality hotels, restaurants, bars, and high-end shops.


Cogne is a quiet mountain village located at the end of the Valle di Cogne. It is surrounded by breathtaking Alpine scenery, including views of Gran Paradiso. Although small, with around 1,544 residents, Cogne is quite popular with hikers and mountain enthusiasts who come to trek in the nearby natural park.

Some of Cogne’s claims to fame are its historic lace-making tradition and its cuisine, which incorporates ingredients like Fontina cheese. There are also cross-country ski and snowshoe trails around the village when the snow falls.

La Thuile

Nestled in the Little St Bernard Pass on the border with France, La Thuile is a picturesque Alpine town with around 800 inhabitants. However, its ski resort brings in over 750,000 visitors annually. La Thuile combines great skiing, duty-free shopping, and Alpine charm.

The resort has over 150 km of pistes, 1500 vertical meters of skiing, and modern lift facilities. The village has many cafes, restaurants, bakeries, and wine bars for après ski relaxation. Summertime activities in La Thuile include mountain biking, hiking, and rock climbing.


Saint-Vincent is a spa town located along the Dora Baltea River. It has around 4,448 inhabitants but swells with tourists who come to enjoy the thermal baths, casinos, parks, and mountain views.

Saint-Vincent has been a renowned spa destination for centuries thanks to its natural hot springs. The town’s Parco Termale provides access to hot spring baths, pools, and treatments. Saint-Vincent also has notable historical architecture like the Castello di Ussel and the Romanesque Saint Victor Abbey.


Gressoney-Saint-Jean is a village in Aosta region of around 800 residents situated at the foot of the Monte Rosa massif. The outstanding mountain vistas and proximity to the Monterosa Ski resort make it a popular tourist base.

Visitors flock to Gressoney-Saint-Jean in winter and summer to enjoy hiking, climbing, skiing, or relaxing in an authentic Alpine setting. The village also offers charming hotels, restaurants, and shops in its pedestrian-friendly center.


The small village of Bard sits on a rocky outcropping overlooking the Dora Baltea river gorge. Perched at the entrance to the Aosta Valley, the towering Forte di Bard, an imposing medieval fortress dating to the 1800s, crowns it.With a population of around 135  residents

The spectacular mountaintop fortress is the key attraction drawing visitors to Bard. But the village charms visitors with its steep, narrow streets and stone buildings carved from the cliffs. Beyond the fortress, Bard provides great access to hiking trails through the surrounding nature preserves.


Valtournenche is a commune along the Valtournenche valley that leads towards the Matterhorn. Surrounded by dramatic peaks, Valtournenche offers stunning Alpine views and access to the Breuil-Cervinia ski area via cable car. It has a population of around 2198 residents

In addition to skiing, Valtournenche attracts hikers and mountain climbers bound for the Matterhorn. The village provides traditional Alpine lodging and dining, while the mountain vistas are some of the most spectacular in the Aosta Valley.


Champoluc is a village located in the Ayas Valley, near the Monte Rosa massif. It has a population of around 500 residents; however, during peak tourist seasons, it receives over 200,000 visitors annually.

Champoluc is a hub for exploring the Monte Rosa ski area, connecting to Gressoney and Alagna via ski lifts. In summer, it becomes a jumping-off point for hiking routes through the western Alps. The quaint village has traditional Alpine architecture and a pedestrian-only center with shops and restaurants.


Sarre is a small commune of around 4,821  inhabitants in the central Aosta Valley. Visitors come for hiking and climbing in the surrounding mountains during summer. In winter, it transforms into a Nordic skiing hub with over 40km of groomed cross-country ski trails.

Beyond outdoor activities, Sarre provides visitors with a chance to experience traditional Valdostan village life. Attractions include the medieval Castle of Avise, the astronomical observatory, and the ethnographic museum showcasing traditional trades and lifestyles. The village is also known for its liqueurs and herbal digestifs.

What are the safest cities in Aosta Valley region? 

The safest cities and towns in the Aosta Valley region based on low crime statistics of are:

  • Cogne: This tranquil mountain village has very minimal crime thanks to its isolation deep in the Alps.
  • Rhêmes-Notre-Dame: A peaceful agricultural village with under 200 residents and barely any crime.
  • Valgrisenche: Its off-the-beaten-path location keeps crime rates negligible.
  • Introd: A tiny village of under 500 people with community ties that prevent crime.
  • Gressoney-La-Trinité: Located on a mountain pass, this village sees almost no crime.
  • Pré-Saint-Didier: A scenic spa town with low rates of petty and violent crimes.
  • Arnad: Historic village with under 1000 residents and limited crime due to its size.
  • Pollein: A farming town of under 2000 inhabitants with close community bonds and minimal crime reports.

The rural villages and small communities of the Aosta Valley benefit from low population densities in the mountains, along with tight-knit community bonds and isolated geography that deter crime. For travelers, these towns provide very safe places to visit.

What are the most dangerous cities in Aosta Valley? 

Overall, the Aosta Valley is a very safe region with low crime rates compared to other region of Italy. There are no major cities that stand out as being particularly dangerous. According to crime statistics of, some of the cities and towns with slightly higher rates of crime include:

  • Aosta – Being the largest city, the capital has somewhat higher rates of petty crimes like theft and pickpocketing than small villages.
  • Saint-Vincent – The presence of casinos and nightlife draws higher rates of theft and drunken disorder.
  • Morgex – Proximity to the French border has led to elevated rates of smuggling in Morgex.
  • Verrès – Verrès has experienced organized mafia activity and higher rates of business-related crimes.

However, none of these cities have excessive crime rates or should cause safety concerns for visitors practicing basic precautions. Overall, the peaceful Alpine towns and mountain landscapes of the Aosta Valley make it a very secure region to visit.

What is the Best Time to Visit Aosta Valley Region in Italy? 

The best time to visit the Aosta Valley region depends on your interests and priorities. Here are some factors to consider:

  • For skiing – The best months are from January through March, when snow cover is most reliable. Resorts like Breuil-Cervinia can have good skiing as early as November due to high elevations.
  • For summer hiking – July through September brings the most stable sunny weather and snow-free trails. June and October still have some lingering snow at higher elevations.
  • For pleasant weather – May, June, and September offer mild temperatures ideal for sightseeing. Summers can be warm, but thunderstorms are common.
  • To avoid crowds – April – May and October – early November tend to have fewer tourists than winter and summer peak seasons.
  • For special events – The Aosta Christmas market runs through December. February hosts the medieval Carnival de la Valee d’Aoste. July has re-enactments of historic events.

No matter when you visit, the Aosta Valley offers stunning Alpine scenery and activities. Just be prepared with layers and rain gear, as mountain weather can be unpredictable.

What are the traditional food of Aosta Valley Giulia?

The Aosta Valley boasts a rich culinary tradition shaped by the surrounding Alpine environment. Some highlights of traditional foods to try when visiting include:

  • Fontina cheese – The region’s most famous product, semi-soft fontina, has a rich, nutty flavor and is a key ingredient in many dishes. It’s used for fondue (fondue) and shredded over pasta or potatoes.
  • Cold cuts – Air-dried beef, smoked hams and salami like jambon de Bosses are local specialties that can be sampled in bread or as antipasti. The town of Saint-Rhemy-En-Bosses is renowned for cured meats.
  • Polenta – Thick cornmeal polenta cooked with cheese and butter is staple comfort food, especially filling when served with stewed meats or sausages.
  • Zuppa Valpellinentze – A hearty soup from Valpelline made with cabbage, bread, cheese and beef broth.
  • Seupa à la Vapelenentse – The Aosta Valley version of traditional vegetable and bread soup reflects French influences.
  • Carbonade – A beef stew braised in Valle d’Aosta red wine, flavored with cloves and juniper berries.
  • Tegole – These savory pastries from Aosta are filled with smoked ham and Robiola cheese in thin flaky dough.
  • Pastry Cheeses – Sweet ricotta and cream-filled desserts like flantse/flouse are specialties for Carnival time.

Aosta Valley has high-quality produce cool-climate wines, and the Alpine location shapes its hearty cuisine. Food tours, markets, farms, vineyards, and restaurants in all the main towns offer authentic ways to sample local flavors.

What are the most famous Aosta Valley wine brands? 

The Aosta Valley produces high-quality mountain wines along its Alpine valleys and slopes. Some of the most famous local wine producers include:

  • Grosjean – An acclaimed producer of unique spicy reds from indigenous grapes like Petite Arvine and Fumin
  • La Crotta di Vegneron – Specializing in sparkling wines made with ancient techniques from the ancestral Réze grape
  • Les Cretes – Boutique wines like Torrette made with native Aosta grapes and aged in acacia barrels
  • Maison Anselmet – Historic winery dating to the 18th century, known for floral white Blanc de Morgex
  • Pavese Ermes – Innovative producer of mountain reds, whites, and dessert wines near Piccolo San Bernardo Pass
  • Rosset Terroir – Single vineyard wines showing the Alpine terroir, like Coteau La Tour red
  • Di Barrò – Innovative young producer making natural wines with indigenous Alpine grapes.
  • Institut Agricole Régional – The regional institute producing quality examples of each Aosta Valley wine appellation

These wineries and others around the valley highlight indigenous grape varieties adapted to the Alpine climate and terrain. They produce full-bodied reds, crisp whites, and honeyed dessert wines that every wine tourist will want to sample.