On the left bank of the Dora, at a slightly elevated altitude of 529 metres, amidst chestnut trees, fruit trees, meadows and vineyards, from where the renowned Vien de Nus comes from, the town grew up in correspondence with the deep ravine leading to the Valley of Saint-Barthélemy.
In the old town centre of Nus, you will find some old houses with lattice windows; in the upper part of the residential area at the start of the western side of the town, protecting the town itself and in a strategic position for controlling movements, you will be able to see Pilate’s castle where, according to legend, Pontius Pilate stayed after being exiled by Caligula.
The “Festival du Vien de Nus” is held on the second Sunday in the month of May where the focus is on excellent wines: the Rouge and the sought after Malvoise, wine tasting delicacies produced from dried grapes.
The most well known hamlet of Nus is without doubt Saint-Barthélemy with its famous astronomical observatory. The sky above Saint-Barthélemy, in fact, is one of the best places for astronomical observation, thanks to favourable conditions due mainly to the lack of pollution and high insolation, and every year the town hosts the oldest Star Party in Italy. The Valley of Saint-Barthélemy is wedged between mountainous massifs including Valpelline and Valtournenche, in a natural scenery of wild beauty. An initially torturous and very steep ascent, the town of Lignan, at an altitude of 1633 metres, offers a vast plain from where you can admire a magnificent view.
In winter, it is a popular destination with cross country ski lovers and is also popular with Alpine skiers, while the Alpine skiers can make use of a treadmill. In summer, the valley is full of mountaineers who use it as a base for difficult climbs as well as hikers who can pick from an endless number of walks or rides on horseback.
At 2,652m above Saint-Barthélemy, you will find the Sanctuary of Cuney, dating back to 1650 and the highest in Italy, it is dedicated to the Madonna delle Nevi whose feast day is on the 5 August.
The name Nus is of Roman origin and comes from “ad nonum (ab Augusta) lapidem” that indicated the distance in Roman miles – nine – between Augusta Praetoria and the “mansio” itself of Nus.
Between the XI and the XVII centuries, Nus was to become home to one of the oldest and most important feudal dominions in Valle d’Aosta: the “Seigneurs de Nus”.