|Population density||1616 /km²|
|Patron saint||San Grato (feast: September 7)|
Aosta (French: Aoste) is the principal city and episcopal see of the Aosta Valley in the Italian Alps, 48 miles north-northwest of Turin, in Piedmont. It is site is 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 eponymous province, as these function are shared by the region and he communes.
Aosta was settled in proto-historic times and later became a Celt-Ligurian city of the Salassi. August captured it in 20 BC and founded the Roman colony of Augusta Praetoria. After 11 BC Aosta became the capital of the Alpes Graies ("Grey Alps") province of the Empire.
After the fall of the Western Empire, the city was conquered by the Burgundians, the Ostrogoths, the Byzantines. The Lombard, who had annexed it to their Italian Kingdom, were expelled by the Franks of Peppin the Younger. under Charlemagne it acquired importance as a post across the Via Francigena, leading from Aachen to Italy. After 888 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 entered the lands of Umberto I Biancamano of the Savoy House house. After the creation of the county of Savoy, with its capital in Chambery, Aosta followed its history, as well as the later Kingdom of Sardinia and unified Italy.
Under the Savoy House Aosta was granted a special status that it mantained after the new Italian Republic was proclaimed in 1948.
Tha main monuments of the city include:
- The Arch of August, erected in 35 BC to celebrate the victory of the Roman troops led by consul Varro Murene over the local Salassi.
- The Porta Praetoria (1st century AD), once the eastern gate to the city, which has preserved its original forms apart from the marble covering.
- The Roman theatre, of which the southern façade remains today, standing at 22 m. The structure could contain up to 4,000 spectators.
- The Cathedral, built in the 4th century and replaced in the 11th century by a new edifice dedicate to the Madonna. It is annexed to the Roman Forum.
- The Romanesque-Gothic Collegiata di Sant'Orso. Its most suggestive feature is the ancient cloister, which can be entered through a hall on the left of the façade.
- The San Benin College, built around 1000 by the Benedictines. It is now an exhibitions seat.
- Of the 20 towers of the Roman walls the following are well preserved:
- Torre del Lebbroso, which has been given this name after a leper was jailed there in the late 17th century.
- Tour Neuve (13th century).
- Tour du Pailleron.
- Tower (Castle) of Bramafan, built in the 11th century over a Roman bastion. It was the residence of the Savoy viscounts. The provençal term Bramafanis translated as "He who screams for hunger".
- Tour du Baillage.
- Tour Fromage ("Cheese tower").
|Regions of Italy|
|Abruzzo • Aosta Valley • Apulia • Basilicata • Calabria • Campania • Emilia-Romagna • Friuli-Venezia Giulia • Lazio • Liguria • Lombardy • Marche • Molise • Piedmont • Sardinia • Sicily • Trentino-South Tyrol • Tuscany • Umbria • Veneto|