HISTORY OF THE AOSTA VALLEY | ITALY

The first inhabitants of the Aosta Valley were 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". After the Romans, the valley preserved traditions of autonomy, reinforced by its geographical isolation, though it was loosely held in turns by the Goths and then by the Burgundians in the 5th century, followed by the Franks, who overran the Burgundian kingdom in 534. It was also ruled by the Byzantines between 553 and 563 and then by the Lombards between 568 and 575 before the Franks finally conquered the area.

At the division among the heirs of Charlemagne in 870, the Aosta Valley formed part of the Lotharingian Kingdom of Italy. In a second partition a decade later, it formed part of the Kingdom of Upper Burgundy, which was joined to the Kingdom of Arles — all with few corresponding changes in the population of the virtually independent fiefs in the Aosta Valley. 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 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 more closely to Piedmont, but which were again demanded during post-Napoleonic times.

The Aosta Valley was the first government authority to adopt Modern French as official language in 1536, three years before France itself. In the mid-13th century Emperor Frederick II made the County of Aosta a duchy (see Duke of Aosta), and its arms charged with a lion rampant were carried in the Savoy arms until the reunification of Italy in 1870. During the Middle Ages the region remained strongly feudal, and castles, such as those of the Challant family in the Valley of Gressoney, still dot the landscape. In the 12th and 13th centuries, German-speaking Walser communities were established in the Gressoney, and some communes retain their separate Walser identity even today. 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 in 1861. It was also ruled by the First French Empire between 1800 and 1814. During French rule, it was part of Aoste arrondissement in Doire department. Almanach Impérial an bissextil MDCCCXII, p. 392-393, accessed in Gallica 18 February 2015 Under Mussolini, a forced programme of Italianization, including the translation of all toponyms into Italian and population transfers of Italian-speaking workers from the rest of Italy into Aosta, fostered movements towards separatism. Many Valdostans chose to emigrate to France and Switzerland (where Valdostan communities are still present). The region gained special autonomous status after the end of World War Two; the province of Aosta ceased to exist in 1945.

History,, Aosta Valley,

AOSTA | AOSTA REGION

Aosta is the principal city of Aosta Valley Region, a bilingual region in the Italian Alps, north-northwest of Turin. It is situated near the Italian entrance of the Mont Blanc Tunnel, at the confluence of the Buthier and the Dora Baltea, and at the junction of the Great and Little St. Bernard routes. Aosta is not the capital of the province, because Aosta Valley is the only Italian region not divided into provinces. Provincial administrative functions are instead shared by the region and the communes.

Aosta was settled in proto-historic times and later became a centre of the Salassi, many of whom were killed or sold into slavery by the Romans in 25 BC. The campaign was led by Marcus Terentius Varro, who then founded the Roman colony of Augusta Praetoria Salassorum, housing 3,000 retired veterans. After 11 BC Aosta became the capital of the Alpes Graies ("Grey Alps") province of the Empire. Its position at the confluence of two rivers, at the end of the Great and the Little St Bernard Pass, gave it considerable military importance, and its layout was that of a Roman military camp. After the fall of the Western Empire, the city was conquered, in turn, by the Burgundians, the Ostrogoths, the Byzantines. The Lombards, who had annexed it to their Italian kingdom, were expelled by the Frankish Empire under Pepin the Short. Under his son, Charlemagne, Aosta acquired importance as a post on the Via Francigena, leading from Aachen to Italy. After 888 AD it was part of the renewed Kingdom of Italy under Arduin of Ivrea and Berengar of Friuli. In the 10th century Aosta became part of the Kingdom of Burgundy. After the fall of the latter in 1032, it became part of the lands of Count Humbert I of the House of Savoy. After the creation of the county of Savoy, with its capital in Chambéry, Aosta led the unification of Italy. Under the House of Savoy, Aosta was granted a special status that it maintained when the new Italian Republic was proclaimed in 1948.

FOOD AND WINE | AOSTA VALLEY REGION

The cuisine of Aosta Valley is characterized by simplicity Food and wine at Valle D'Aosta official tourism website, www.lovevda.it and revolves around "robust" ingredients such as potatoes, polenta; cheese and meat; and rye bread. Many of the dishes involve Fontina, Fontina: DOP stamp for the Valle d’Aosta’s prince of cheeses at Valle d'Aosta official tourism website, www.lovevda.it 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 Seuppa à la vâpeuleunèntse( Valpelline Soup). ( 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, Steak Valdaostan style recipe, Consorzio Produttori e Tutela della DOP Fontina. a steak with croutons, ham and melted cheese.
Wine growing

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. D.O.C.

food and wine,, Aosta Valley,

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