To rest or not to rest in Courmayeur?
One of the beauties of the No Roads Tour Du Mont Blanc is the well-positioned rest day at Courmayeur. A tough decision had to be made between visiting one of the spas in Courmayeur and having a day of total relaxation, or to explore the ancient nearby village of Aosta.
Our group was quick to decide that the chances of us having the opportunity to explore this region again was very slim so we made the call to go on a day trip to Aosta.
It was great to give the shocked glutes a welcome reprieve, to explore and learn a bit of history, and what better way to do so than with a side trip down the mountain to the magnificent ancient Roman village of Aosta, nestled in the Italian valley below.
A picturesque 35 km bus trip down, through tiny alpine villages with narrow laneways masquerading as main thoroughfares, magnificent castles, both intact and ruined lining the valley, fields of crop and meadow, all the while gazing in awe at the incredible Mont Blanc massif from an Italian viewpoint, till you spill out at the bus stop in downtown Aosta.
We are met by our guide, Elizabeth, for a fascinating tour of this outstanding town, home to some of the most intact Roman architecture in Italy, a journey through time.
Wandering cobbled lanes,(who doesn't love a good cobble?) peeking into churches ancient, visiting Roman Cryptoporticus (ohh) and Teatro, with vast impressive 22 metre high facades, marveling at archaeological masterpieces at the Museo, inspecting hugely impressive city walls and portico’s, all the while breathing in time and place.
You can almost imagine a centurion, resplendent in tunic and armory marching around that wall…
Did someone say “coffee”?
How about in the town square surrounded by centuries old edifice, imposing buildings, shops on the ground, apartments and offices above; statues of citizens important, all while looking out at all the goings on of an Italian village in the alps?
Yes please…no sugar!
Look, another incredible feat of Roman ingenuity around the corner. Those Romans were an industrious lot.
Mmm, getting hungry…let's recount the morning in the grassed courtyard of a restaurant, surrounded by stone walls, shaded by willows to keep the heat at bay.
Pasta, salad, squid or veal…beer or Rose? Decisions, decisions.
Aosta is steeped in history, a timeless beauty offering a glimpse of Roman history and a slice of Italian life less than an hour from Courmayeur.
Go, you won't regret it.