AOSTA, the attractive mountain-valley capital of Valle d’Aosta province, is an ideal base for exploring the northwest of the region. Surrounded by the Alps, the town’s key attraction is its position, with access to the lovely valleys of the Parco Nazionale del Gran Paradiso, the ski resorts of Mont Blanc and a sprinkling of castles in between. Founded by the Romans in 25 BC Aosta was primarily an imperial military camp, vestiges of which can be seen in the extensive ruins of some towers and city walls.
The tributary valleys in eastern Valle d’Aosta (wregione.vda.it) have suffered most from the skiing industry since they are the easiest to access from Turin and Milan. However, hiking is good here, and experienced mountaineers may be lured by the challenge of climbing Monte Rosa and the Matterhorn from Valtournenche. In the main Aosta Valley you’ll find one of the region’s more interesting castles, Fenis.