The Aosta Valley, a mountainous region in the north western corner of Italy, is the smallest and least populated in the country. It is bordered by France to the west, Switzerland to the north and the region of Piedmont to the south and east.
It is the only region in Italy which has not been divided into separate provinces and is one of the country’s five legislatively and administratively autonomous regions.
Classed as the least Italian region of Italy, the Aosta Valley is bilingual with both Italian and French taught in school and both languages commonly used at home. The road signs are in Italian and French and the local cuisine contains dishes influenced by Switzerland, France and Germany as well as Italy and the Mediterranean.
The Gran Paradiso National Park is 173,000 acres of snow capped mountains dotted with tiny glacial lakes and bordered by wooded slopes and huge flowering meadows. It is home to chamois, marmots, foxes, golden eagles and of course the famous ibex. 450 miles of marked trails and mule tracks make it a paradise for advanced hikers and walking enthusiasts.