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Saturday November 18, 2017 













Aosta
Classic
A true corner of ancient Rome in the Alps, a jewel set amongst the high mountains: this is the immediate impression of Aosta, on viewing its two thousand year old monuments. They date back to the era of Augusta Praetoria, the Roman colony, also responsible for the orthogonal urban plan of the town. But Aosta is also characterized by its medieval remains, churches and stately residences, of the feudal lords that contended for domination of the valley. (Almost) all the landmarks fall within the ancient Roman walls surrounding most of the present day old town centre.

First Day
The Arch of Augustus, today as it was in 25 B.C, marks the entrance to the historic town centre offering numerous Roman remains: visit the theatre, amphitheatre and the walls.
 
Stop at the Regional Archaelogical museum and visit the Roman Forum and spa resort; shopping in the streets of the town centre.
 
You could be in Las Vegas: after a wealth of history, a chic evening at the slot machines and gaming tables of the Casino of Saint Vincent.
Second Day
   
The Sant'Orso monumental complex opens up behind a centuries-old lime tree, its delightful cloister a fine example of Aosta Romanesque architecture. Not to be missed are the 43 capitals sculpted with biblical stories, mythological animals and the lives of saints..
 
Another example of fine Aosta Romanesque architecture is the Cathedral, to be visited together with the museum housing its treasures.
 
The Regional Wine bar is located on the site of the ancient Forum, the ideal place to taste Aosta wines.

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 Aosta

Arch of Augustus

Amphitheatre

Old  town centre

 
 
 
Classic
First Day

Morning
The Arch of Augustus today, as two thousand years ago, marks the western entrance to the old part of the town. Facing, the Buthier river is crossed by a Roman bridge (visible to the left of the current bridge). Proceeding along the decumanus maximus of Augusta Praetoria (the main road axis in an east-west direction), via Sant'Anselmo today, we arrive at the heart of the colony. Access to the area inside the town walls is via the well preserved Porta Pretoria, dating to the actual foundation of the colony, with three arches, a wider one for carriages and one at either side for pedestrians. Due to sediment accumulated over time, the current day road is three metres above that existing in Roman times. The imposing solid walls of the entrance reflect the magnificence of the Roman walls visible for a long tract by passing through one of the three arches and turning right, into the archaeological area. Here you can find the imposing Roman Theatre and amphitheatre. To fully appreciate the atmosphere try lunch at peplum, the Vecchia Aosta restaurant, located inside the ancient walls and offering traditional specialities.
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Roman walls



 
 
First Day
Aosta: Classic

Afternoon
Along via Abate Chenoux we follow the outline of the walls to reach Piazza Roncas. Here, in front of the Renaissance building after which the square is named, is the seat of the Regional archaeological museum. Behind the museum in a vast area partly covered by Piazza del Duomo and spanning an area of over 1500 square metres, the Roman Forum was the true heart of town life in Augusta Praetoria; the actual forum is located on the south side, along the sides of which were the taverns and craft workshops; the Northern area features an arcade, which rose above a semi-buried cryptoporticus, which outlined the sacred area in which worship was carried out. The tunnel that extends on the right side of the road that runs alongside the church takes you to the place where the ancient spa establishments were found, which have only partially been recovered. On returning to Piazza Roncas, we take Via Croix de Ville, which together with the intersecting via de Tillier delimits the shopping zone with its numerous shops where it is possible to buy typical local products. Don't miss having a coffee at the historic Pasticceria Boch (via de Tillier 22) where you must taste its "tegole", which are typical almond flavoured flaky pastries.
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First Day
Aosta: Classic

Evening
After full immersion in Roman history, chic evening in Saint Vincent, at the Casino de la Vallée tables. For dinner why not enjoy a light Mediterranean style supper at the Viale Restaurant: featuring fine olive oil, fresh pasta and fish. You must try the original beer-based pastries, agnolotti with roast-meat sauce or the delicious bass with crunchy vegetables.
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 Aosta

Church of Sant'Orso, cloister

Church of Sant'Orso, bell-tower

 
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Classic
Second Day

Morning
We start from via Sant'Anselmo, at number 66 reputed to be the birthplace of Sant'Anselmo, the famous Aosta native who was the true doctor of the church in the 13th century. Midway along the road turn right into via Sant'Orso. Behind a centuries-old lime tree is the monumental complex of Sant'Orso, with its fine cloister in local Romanesque style, which reaches its highest points in the 43 capitals sculpted with historic stories, mythological animals and the lives of the saints. Proceeding down via Sant'Anselmo we come to the centre through Porta Pretoria; from here along via Porta Pretoria we come to Piazza Chanoux, the true heart of modern Aosta, where you can find the neoclassical Hotel de Ville and which hosts an event held here at the end of January for the past thousand years. The Sant'Orso Fair, with hundreds of stalls offering regional craft items and typical local dishes. Lunch in a fine local restaurant Trattoria Praetoria: boasting an informal atmosphere, checked tablecloths and generous portions.
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Cathedral interior

 
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Second Day
Aosta: Classic

Afternoon
The Cathedral is easy to spot from the historic centre thanks to its two towering bell-towers in the Roman forum area. Another fine example of 11th century Aosta Romanesque architecture which took on a more Gothic look as a result of subsequent modifications. This was the heart of Augusta Praetoria, and in fact the first church of the town was housed in a late-Imperial building, over which the first Basilica was built. It is worthy of a visit together with the Cathedral treasures museum, containing the most important works.
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Vineyards

 
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Second Day
Aosta: Classic

Evening
The Regional Forum wine bar is the best place to taste excellent Aosta valley wines, produced from grapes grown in the mountains and capable of withstanding 1200 m altitudes, it is located in the same square as the main church. A truly delightful establishment, the 16th century building also has a cellar and remains of the ancient Roman forum, and a full selection of all the regional wines. Wines to be accompanied by hearty salamis or cheese, or the delicious proposals of the chef. The wine bar often organizes food and wine evenings, literary coffee evenings or live music. It is possible to sit in the inner garden during summer months.
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