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Aosta Aoste (Italy)
Aosta Aoste
Country Italy
region Aosta Valley
Coordinates 45 ° 44 ′  N , 7 ° 19 ′  E Coordinates: 45 ° 44 ′ 0 ″  N , 7 ° 19 ′ 0 ″  E
height 583  m slm
surface 21 km²
Residents 34,052 (Dec. 31, 2019)
Population density 1,622 inhabitants / km²
Post Code 11100
prefix 0165
ISTAT number 007003
Popular name Aostani (Italian)
Aostois (French)
Patron saint Gratus of Aosta ( September 7th )
View from the south of the city center of Aosta, in the background over the valley of the Buthier in about 18 kilometers distance the Mont Velan (left) and the Grand Combin (right) on the border between Italy and Switzerland.

Aosta ( French officially Aoste , Franco- Aoûta , Walser German Augschtal , German outdated East ) is the capital city of the region Valle d'Aosta in the Italian Alps . The city has 34,052 inhabitants (as of December 31, 2019).


Aosta is located in the middle of the Aosta Valley at about 583 meters above sea level and extends over 21 square kilometers. On the southern edge of the urban area, the Dora Baltea flows east. The Buthier mountain stream flows from the north from the Valpelline valley through the urban area and flows into the Dora Baltea here. The western city limits run in the valley of the mountain stream, which reaches the valley of the Dora Baltea from the southeast flank of the Pointe de Chaligne through a steep gorge near Chabloz and at the hamlet of Pont d'Aisod .

The city's territory is divided into the urban settlement on the valley floor on the Dora Baltea and the area on the mountain flank, which stretches from the valley floor to the top of the Pointe de Chaligne at 2607 m above sea level. M., the highest point of the city of Aosta, as well as the area of Porossan east of the Buthier. The very steep slope in the northwest is divided into the high alpine area of ​​the alpine pastures with the alpine settlement Tsa de Chaligne , including the mountain forest with the Alp Arpeilles and the lower part with the open Collina d'Aosta, where the villages and hamlets of Excenex, Arpuilles, Entrebin and Signayes and the vineyards of Aosta lie. A large commercial and industrial area has developed on the Dora Baltea plain in the southeast of the city. The southern ramp of the pass road to the Great St. Bernard begins near Aosta .

The neighboring communities are on the high mountain slopes in the area and in the valley: Sarre , Gignod , Roisan , Saint-Christophe , Pollein , Charvensod , Gressan . The Aosta agglomeration also includes the communes of Saint-Christophe and Sarre.

The landscape is surrounded by high mountains in the north and south, such as Becca di Nona , Monte Emilius , Pointe de Chaligne and Becca di Viou. From Aosta, in the background of the main valley itself, the Mont Blanc and north of the Valpelline the Grand Combin can be clearly seen.


The megalithic cult site of Saint-Martin-de-Corléans, excavated near Aosta, dates from the 3rd millennium BC.

In the later prehistory, the Salasser people lived in the Aosta Valley , whose main town is called Cordelia in legendary tradition .

After the Romans had been militarily present in the Aosta Valley from the 2nd century BC onwards, the valley was renamed in 25 BC. Conquered by A. Terentius Varro Murena . The Romans wiped out the Salasser ethnic groups through deportation and enslavement. Under Augustus , the colony of Augusta Praetoria Salassorum emerged from an already existing legionary camp . Its original regular road network, which is still partially visible in the plan of the modern city of Aosta, goes back to the older Roman military settlement. At first, around 3,000 veterans of the imperial bodyguard, the Praetorians , lived in the city with their families. The dedicatory inscription of the residents of the new city for Emperor Augustus came to light in 1894 during excavations near the former Roman south gate.

The Roman city had the regular rectangular shape common for such colonies with a length of 727 meters and a width of 574 meters. It was divided into 64 insulae (blocks of houses). The city wall had a gate on all four sides, of which the Porte Prétorienne is still largely preserved on the east side; Archaeological remains are still visible today from the Porta decumana on the west side and the Porta principalis sinistra in the north. Of the original twenty Roman wall towers, six have been preserved today in a more or less modified form. The forum covered the area of ​​eight insulae, the amphitheater that of two. Other structures do not seem to have been built across the insula. There was also a Roman theater and thermal baths. The colony was on the important Alpine road from Mediolanum ( Milan ) via the Little St. Bernhard (Latin Alpis Graia ) to Lugdunum ( Lyon ) Rhone Valley , the consular road to Gaul , Latin Via publica Galiarum . After the opening of the Great St. Bernhard , which was called Mons Iovis in Roman times , in the Valais , the importance of the place, which is located at the crossroads of the pass roads, increased.

In the 4th century a bishopric was established in Aosta , which was dependent on the Metropolitan Church in Milan. In addition to the ancient cryptoportico, a large civil building was converted into the first Christian city church of Aosta. Bishop Gratus of Aosta , who lived in the 5th century and of whom a saint's life from the 13th century has been handed down, was especially venerated during the time of the Savoy rulership. His reliquary is one of the valuable objects in the Aosta Cathedral Treasury. Today, Saint Gratus is the patron saint of Aosta, the patron saint of the Aosta Valley and the patron saint of churches in several localities of the former Savoy duchy.

In the transition period from antiquity to the early Middle Ages, the city of Augusta Praetoria came under the Ostrogothic , later the Byzantine (553 to 563) and then the Lombard rule (568 to 575). In 575 the army of the Burgundian king Guntram defeated the Longobards. It seems that the border between Burgundy and the Longobard Empire at Bard below Aosta goes back to this time . Under the changed political conditions, the Diocese of Aosta broke away from Milan in the 8th century and was assigned to the Bishop of Moûtiers (Metropolitan Diocese of Tarantaise ) from then on and into modern times . The Frankish King Pippin the Younger also waged war against the Longobards . Charlemagne had the Via Francigena improved, which leads from Gaul across the Alps and through the city of Aosta to the Po Valley and to Rome . The Visigoth King Sigeric mentions the city as a stage of this route in 990 and the Icelandic abbot Nikulas de Munkathvera in his travelogue from 1154.

Since the 10th century, the region was part of the Kingdom of Burgundy as the county of Aosta . Shortly before this fell to the Holy Roman Empire in 1032 , Count Humbert of Maurienne and Savoy acquired the city of Aosta with the county in the Aosta Valley in 1024. His son Burkhard, initially provost of the Saint-Maurice monastery in Valais, had been Bishop of Aosta since 1025 and promoted Savoyard rule in the region. From 1033 he represented his family as Archbishop of Lyon in the lower Rhone Valley.

From the 11th to the 13th century, the Lords of Challant exercised authority in the Aosta Valley in the service of the Counts of Savoy as vice counts. Representatives of the family made careers in the Savoyard state as vice counts, governors, castellans, bishops and also as provosts of the cathedral of Aosta. They owned several properties in the city of Aosta, including two old wall towers converted into castles, the Tour Bramafan and the Tourneuve . Outside the city, branches of the family sat at five important castles.

Anselm of Aosta, Archbishop of Canterbury , was born in Aosta in 1033 .

In the 11th century, under Bishop Anselm of Aosta, the Romanesque cathedral of Aosta was built on the site of an early Christian basilica , probably built in the fourth century, and nearby for an Augustinian community the collegiate church of Sankt Ursen, the two most important buildings of sacred art in the Aosta Valley.

In 1191, at the invitation of Bishop Albert , Count Thomas von Maurienne took possession of the city of Aosta and issued it with a letter of freedom. In return, the citizens of Aosta swore eternal allegiance to the Count.

In 1352 a convent of Franciscans settled in the center of Aosta. The extensive monastery complex shaped the urban development up to modern times. In 1830 it was demolished in order to clear the building site for the new town house.

During the repeated clashes between Savoy and France, the Aosta Valley, and with it the city of Aosta, also experienced several occupations by French troops, for example in 1691, during the War of the Spanish Succession from 1704 to 1706 and after the French Revolution of 1796 and 1814 under Napoleon Bonaparte .

In 1860/1861 the city and the entire Aosta Valley with the other Savoy-Sardinian countries came to the newly established Kingdom of Italy.

Aosta, which was once Franco-Provencal-speaking , became increasingly bilingual in the 20th century with the state-sponsored influx of workers from other regions of Italy. Italian soon became the main language in Aosta.

In 1948, Aosta became the capital of the newly created Autonomous Region of Aosta Valley with a special statute.

Aosta station was built in 1886 as the terminus of the Chivasso-Aosta railway line, which was extended in 1929 to Pré-Saint-Didier in the upper section of the Aosta Valley. The Aosta-Pila cable car was built in 1957. Aosta Airport started operations in 1959 . In 1970, the section to Aosta of the Autostrada A5 motorway was opened. Aosta has a toll station and a truck stop.


Like the entire Autonomous Region of the Aosta Valley, Aosta is officially bilingual; Actually, however, three languages ​​live side by side in the area (in the eastern side valleys of the Aosta Valley, the Alemannic language of the Walser is also used , which, however, is of little importance in the city of Aosta). In addition to the traditional colloquial language, Franco-Provencal ( Valdostan ), which is spoken in several dialects , Savoy regional French has established itself as the written and practically standard language in modern times and French in modern times . This is how the traditional diglossia (bilingualism) developed, which existed in the region until the early 20th century. The first French notarial deed was written in Aosta in 1532. In 1561, Duke Emanuel Philibert of Savoy declared French the official language for the Aosta Valley. While the Aosta Valley as a whole is the only larger linguistic island in which the Franco-Provencal patois still lives as a colloquial language alongside the official standard languages, the old dialect in the urban area of ​​the agglomeration of Aosta has lost its weight in favor of French and especially Italian . In 1985 the Bureau régional d'ethnologie et de linguistique (BREL) was established in Aosta , which works to preserve the dialect of the Aosta Valley. The historian Alexis Bétemps was its first director. As part of the Associazione Valdostana degli Archivi Sonori project, the institute collects sound samples from the region's traditional dialects.

In 2010 the international patois festival Fête valdôtaine et international des patois took place in Aosta .

Bilingual lettering on the town hall of Aosta

Valdostan came into use as a literary language in the 19th century. Important poets , writers and dramaturges in Franco-Provencal language from Aosta were Jean-Baptiste Cerlogne (1826-1910), Amédée Berthod (1905-1976), Jules-Ange Negri (1904-1995), Eugénie Martinet (1896-1968), Anaïs Ronc -Désaymonet (1890–1955), René Willien (1916–1979) and Pierre Vietti (1924–1998).

In the 20th century, the Italian state systematically Italianized the Aosta Valley as well as other foreign-language regions of Italy through legal and administrative measures and with the settlement of population groups from other parts of the country, for example as employees in the heavy industry of Cogne . The old place names were replaced by Italian forms. The Franco-Provencal language was spared repression as a spoken colloquial language. During the time of Italian fascism, the pressure on French and the emigration of French-speaking people to France increased. As early as 1909 by was Émile Chanoux launched Ligue Valdôtaine pour la protection de la langue française dans la Vallée d'Aoste Aosta first met, and later was a cultural Resistance against the Italian supremacy. After the Second World War, the law of February 26, 1948 came into force in Italy, under which regional autonomy and the recognition of French as the second official language and second compulsory language of instruction came into force for the Aosta Valley. The organ of the political party Union Valdôtaine , Le Peuple valdôtain, appears only in French. In the city of Aosta as a regional administrative and educational center, however, Italian is the predominant language today.

In the 19th century, literary works in French were created in the Aosta Valley. The first authors who wrote French works and occasionally also writings in patois are summarized in literary history under the term petite Pléiade valdôtaine (Alcide Bochet (1802–1859), Fernand Bochet (1804–1849), Augustin Vagneur (1796–1844), Joseph Alby (1814–1880), Eugène Pignet, Félix Orsières (1803–1870) and Léon-Clément Gérard (1810–1876)). Corinne Guillet (1883–1934) and Flaminie Porté (1885–1941) were among the authors of the early 20th century.


  • In the district of Saint-Martin-de-Corléans is the archaeological site Site mégalithique de Saint-Martin-de-Corléans . The remains of cult sites, dolmens and anthropomorphic steles have been discovered on the site, which was uncovered in 1969, which have similarities with the prehistoric site of Petit-Chasseur in Sion .
  • The extensive, well-preserved monuments and artifacts from the Roman city of Augusta Praetoria Salassorum are among the most important cultural and historical sights of the Aosta Valley. A large part of the city wall, which was used beyond the Middle Ages, is still standing today. The masonry of some of the towers is partly from Roman times: Landvogtturm, Tour Fromage, Pailleron Tower, Bramafan Tower, «Leper Tower», Tourneuve, Quart Tower. The Roman city gate Porta Prætoria (main gate) is a double gate around 25 BC. Was created. In front of it is the Arch of Augustus , built at the same time ( Italian Arco di Augusto , French Arc d'Auguste ) and, a short distance away, the arch bridge Pont de Pierre , which formerly crossed the Buthier River, which changed its course in post-Roman times. Another well-preserved Roman bridge, the Pont Saint-Martin , stands about 30 kilometers out of the valley in the direction of Ivrea in the village of the same name. The 22 m high stage wall of the former four-story theater has been preserved, as are the remains of the forum, especially the largely preserved cryptoporticus . The remains of a Roman estate on the slope above the city in the Consolata district have been preserved. On the road to the Little St. Bernard Pass, outside the ancient city, there is a Roman cemetery with three ancient grave structures and the ruins of an early Christian church. Among many valuable objects found from the Roman period is also a very nice in the Archaeological Museum of Jupiter - bust seen from the beginning of the second century.
  • The beginnings of the church in the former collegiate monastery Saint Ursus, Italian Collegiata dei Santi Pietro e Orso or French Collégiale des Saints Pierre et Ours (in Aosta just called Sant'Orso or Saint-Ours ) go back to the 5th century. It bears its name after St. Ursus of Aosta . In the early Romanesque period, the church was renewed under Bishop Anselme II (994-1025). The current, late-Gothic appearance of the church was created under the prior Georges de Challant (1468–1509). The five-nave crypt , which stands on twelve Roman columns , has been preserved from the previous building. On the top of the nave, an important fresco cycle from the 11th century shows scenes from the life of Christ and the apostles . The church tower and the cloister on the south side with its figure-adorned Romanesque capitals date from the 12th century . The collegiate museum in the sacristy has cultural assets that partly go back to the Middle Ages.
  • Also under Georges de Challant, the priory of Saint Ursus was built in 1494–1509, which stands out for its octagonal tower and its window frames and friezes made of terracotta . In the chapel , a late Gothic fresco cycle shows the story of St. George .
  • The former cemetery near Sankt Ursen has existed since late antiquity and is accessible as a monument park after restoration work.
  • The Tour du bailliage is a medieval castle tower at the northeast corner of the Roman city wall, which has served as the seat of the Savoy city bailiffs since 1263.
  • In the district of Porossan there is a large masonry water pipe bridge, called Grand Arvou, which was built around 1300 as an important engineering structure for the Ru Prévôt Canal .
  • The Sainte-Croix church was built in 1682.
  • The 18th century church of Saint-Étienne stands on the site of an older church from the Middle Ages.
  • The Place Émile Chanoux is the main square in the city center. The rivers Dora Baltea and Buthier are personified on the fountain in the square.
  • The Calvin Cross , also known as the Croix-de-Ville , is a monument from 1541 that commemorates the legendary stay of the Geneva reformer Jean Calvin in Aosta.
  • The Palace of Justice of Aosta was built in 1932-1932.
  • Jocteau Castle dates from the 20th century.
  • Montfleury Castle is a country house outside the city in the suburb of Saint-Martin-de-Corléans. It belongs to the Montfleury farm, which belongs to the Institut agricole régional de la Vallée d'Aoste .
  • The cathedral treasure (French: Musée du trésor de la cathédrale d'Aoste ) is one of the richest museums of its kind in the Western Alps. It contains, among other things, a late antique diptych, late Gothic cult objects and the grave monument of Count Thomas II of Savoy .
  • The Aosta Valley Regional Archaeological Museum in the former Challant barracks, the former Visitation monastery, has an archaeological collection from all the historical epochs of the valley.
  • In the former Saint-Bénin priory, which was founded in the 11th century by Benedictines from the Fruttuaria Abbey in the southern part of the city, there is a small museum dedicated to the scientist and inventor Innocenzo Manzetti (or French Innocent ) from Aosta, one of the almost simultaneous pioneer of the telephone .


Rail transport

Aosta train station is on the Aosta – Pré-Saint-Didier railway line . The Istituto and Viale Europa stops are also in the urban area .

Road traffic

Aosta has a road connection with the Italian A5 motorway , which connects Turin with France via the Mont Blanc tunnel . The other national road in the Aosta Valley is the Italian state road SS26. Aosta is also on the connection between the Little St. Bernhard and Great St. Bernhard Alpine passes .

Local public transport is carried out by Société valdôtaine d'autocars publics (SVAP).

air traffic

Aosta has a regional airport with Aosta Airport ( Italian Aeroporto della Valle d'Aosta "Corrado Gex" , French Aéroport de la Vallée d'Aoste "Corrado Gex" ) . It is located around two kilometers east of the city.


The headquarters of the Aosta Valley University is located in Aosta .


The city of Aosta is a member of the Association internationale des maires francophones .

The row of mayors of Aosta has been documented since 1333. Fulvio Centoz ( Democratic Party ) from Aosta has held this post since 2015 .

The city cultivates international communal relationships and has entered into the following city partnerships:


sons and daughters of the town

Personalities related to the city



  • Marco Cuaz: Aosta, progetto per una storia della città. Quart 1987.
  • Ida Leinberger, Walter Pippke: Piedmont and Aosta Valley. DuMont, 4th ed., Ostfildern 2013, pp. 152–163.
  • Franz N. Mehling (ed.): Knaurs culture guide: Italy . Droemer Knaur Munich / Zurich 1987, pp. 40–41, ISBN 3-426-24604-X .
  • Lin Colliard: La culture valdôtaine à travers les siècles. Aosta 1965.
  • Carlo celebrities: Le antichità di Aosta. Turin 1862.
  • AM Cavallaro, Gerold Walser : Iscrizioni di Augusta Praetoria. Quart 1988.

Web links

Commons : Aosta  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Statistiche demografiche ISTAT. Monthly population statistics of the Istituto Nazionale di Statistica , as of December 31 of 2019.
  2. Irene Beretta: La romanizzazione della Valle d'Aosta. Aosta 1954.
  3. Illustration and description of the dedicatory inscription from Aosta.
  4. Gaetano De Gattis: La via delle Gallie, espressione del potere centrale. In. Bulletin d'études préhistoriques et archéologiques alpines, 21, 2010, pp. 325–334.
  5. La Via delle Gallie. Us strada lunga 2000 anni. Dipartimento Sopraintendenza per i beni e le attività culturali, accessed on August 6, 2020.
  6. ^ Claudine Gauthier: Saint Grat. Etude d'une construction hagiographique dans la Maison de Savoie. In: Le Comté de Nice de la Savoie à l'Europe . Colloque de Nice 24-27 avril 2002, pp. 167-173.
  7. ^ Bernard Andenmatten: de Challant. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
  8. Alessandro Barbero: Les châtelains des comtes, puis ducs de Savoie en Vallée d'Aoste (XIIIe-XVIe siècle). In: Guido Castelnuovo, Olivier Mattéoni (eds.): De part et d'autre des Alpes. Les châtelains des princes à la fin du moyen âge. Actes de la table ronde de Chambéry, 11 and 12 October 2001. Editions de la Sorbonne, 2006, pp. 167-175.
  9. Joseph Gabriel Rivolin: Langue et littérature en Vallée d'Aoste au xvie siècle. Aosta 2011.
  10. ^ J. Brocherel: Le patois et la langue francaise en Vallée d'Aoste. Neuchâtel 1952.
  11. Aldo Rosellini: La francisation de la Vallée d'Aoste. In: Studi medio latini e volgari, XVIII, 1958.
  12. ^ Ernest Schüle : Histoire linguistique de la Vallée d'Aoste. In: Bulletin du Center d'études francoprovençales, 22, Aosta 1990.
  13. Alexis Bétemps : Le bilinguisme en Vallée d'Aoste. Problems and perspectives. In: A.-L. Sanguine: Les minorités ethniques en Europe. Paris 1993, pp. 131-135.
  14. Danielle Chavy Cooper: Voices from the Alps. Literature in Val d'Aoste Today. In: World Literature Today, 61, 1987, pp. 24-27.
  15. ^ Maria Zagari: La vie littéraire de Val d'Aoste au XXe siècle. Milan 1965.
  16. ^ R. Gorris (ed.): La littérature valdôtaine au fil de l'histoire. Aosta 1993.
  17. Church Latin Dictionary: Second, much increased edition of the "Liturgical Lexicon" published with the fullest collaboration of Joseph Schmid. 6. Reprint
  18. ^ Città gemellate con Aosta
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