A small village in the middle of the Lys valley at an altitude of 953 metres, Issime is located in a flat area among green meadows and woods at the foot of Mont Néry. In 1500, during the domination of the Vallaise family, Issime was the site of the law court, and the ancient stalls can be seen in front of the former town hall. Still today, the inhabitants speak a language with a clear German root, called töitschu, a legacy left by the Walser, a population that colonized this territory between the 12th and 13th centuries, coming from the Swiss Valais. In 1967 the Association Augusta was founded, in order to keep the old traditions alive and to promote this important cultural heritage.
WHAT TO SEE
● Saint James Parish Church: particularly impressive elements of the church are the magnificent fresco on the façade depicting the Last Judgement, the fifteen small chapels decorated with the Mysteries of the Rosary, and the main altar in Baroque style of the 17th century, made of carved and gilded wood.
● The chapels: among the several chapels, remarkable are the one dedicated to Our Lady of the Snows in the Mühnes village which, with its 2007 metres, is the highest in Issime, and the Santa Margherita chapel in the San Grato valley, linked to an ancient legend according to which the region was inhabited by the devil.
NATURE AND SPORT
Issime is the ideal holiday destination both in winter for those who want to reach the main ski resorts in the valley, both in summer. In the warm season it is possible to go on several excursions, among which the one in the San Grato valley towards the Colle Dondeuil, through mountain pastures where people can admire many stadel, typical rural buildings of this area. Challenging is the path to the Colle del Lupo, along the Alta Via 1, which runs along the little popular but beautiful Tourrison valley.
EVENTS AND TRADITIONS
● Craft markets: the Eischem Mert, exhibition fair of local handicrafts and typical Aosta Valley products, takes place every summer to let its visitors discover the craftsmanship of the region, made of wood, stone, wicker, fabrics and other materials.
● Feast of Our Lady of the Snows in the village of Mühnes: the feast day is celebrated every year on the 5th of August at the chapel of Mühnes, at an altitude of 2007 metres in the beautiful valley of San Grato. The Holy Mass, followed by the traditional distribution of polenta and milk, is enlivened by the notes of the village band.
● Issime village band concerts: the Musikkappelle “La Lira” of Issime cheers up patronal feasts, important anniversaries and festivities. The New Year’s Concert, in full “Wiener Philarmoniker” style, is not to be missed.
FOR THE LITTLE ONES
Issime is the ideal destination for family holidays, thanks to its great exposure to the sun and its moderate altitude. Children can have fun in the equipped playgrounds, play in the large green meadow under the parish church, or walk along the banks of the Lys river to reach the village of Gaby along an easy path. Along the route an equipped picnic area is located, surrounded by a broadleaf forest.
● Altitude: 953 m
● Inhabitants: 400
● How to get there by public transport: Issime is reachable by bus in almost half an hour with the line “Pont-Saint-Martin – Gressoney”. For timetables and more information, please visit the website of the VITA Group company.