Via Francigena - Echevennoz - Aosta
Difficulties:E - Excursionist
dal 01/04 to 30/11
Departure:Echevennoz (1233 mt.)
Arrival:Aosta (583 mt.)
Duration going there:3h10
Duration coming back:4h00
This stage covers mainly beautiful pathways running alongside the “rus”, small artificial canals carrying water from the streams to farmland. The route alternates between flat sections and steep descents. In the second part of this stage, you cross through orchards before entering Aosta, offering a wealth of attractions, in particular from Roman times. Places to eat can be found in Gignod and Variney, and drinking fountains are scattered along the way.
Description of the route
The path runs along the “ru Neuf”, the irrigation canal that collects water from the river Artanavaz to carry it to the sun-drenched hills of Aosta. The route flanks the river then winds over virtually flat land through dense woodland, host to varieties of deer and beautiful glades with views that can reach as far as the Valpelline mountains.
You then reach the village of Gignod. Here visitors are immediately attracted by the impressive bell tower of the parish church of Sant’Ilario, while the background is taken up by the imposing southern face of the Grand Combin, one of the highest peaks of the four thousand Pennine Alps.
You then reach Aosta, the ancient Augusta Praetoria Salassorum founded by the Romans in 25 BC. This is the region’s capital, standing at an altitude of 583 metres, where the Dora Baltea meets the river Buthier.
The city offers exceptional Roman remains, starting from the same layout of the historical centre, perfectly conserved with its city walls and including Porta Praetoria, the theatre, the cryptoporticus, the Roman bridge and the solemn Arco d‘Augusto.
In the 11th century the Aosta Valley became a religious centre known throughout Europe. This period saw the start of two religious masterpieces of medieval Aosta: the cathedral and the monumental complex of Sant‘Orso.