Italy's smallest region is also the one with the smallest population and the lowest density. That makes it the perfect place for adventurers: In an area with such a thin population, they can explore some of Europe's highest and wildest mountains. The Aosta Valley is in the very heart of the Alps, and the slopes of the famous mountains Matterhorn and Mont Blanc are partially within its borders, although their peaks are located in Switzerland and France. Culturally, the region is a unique mixture between Italian, Swiss, and French influences - and there are German and French speaking minorities. In a way, it has been said, the combination is perfect: Swiss order married French spirit and Italian temperament! It is important to point out just how low the population density really is. In the Aosta Valley, there are 38.9 inhabitants per square kilometer - compare that to Italy's national average of no less than 200!
The region has 120 thousand inhabitants, and in terms of size it is just slightly smaller than the holiday island Majorca. Aosta is also the name of its capital, where the whole region derives its name from - this is a picturesque little valley town with a population of 34 thousand, but it actually is of historic significance. It was founded 25 BC by the Romans, and today it amazes its visitors with considerable Roman remains and an attractive medieval old town. Its 11th-century cathedral is one of the most beautiful ones in the country. Until today, Aosta has kept its basic street pattern as originally designed by Roman developers. And Aosta has its own language: The so-called Aostan French.
The region is very popular with Central Europeans, as many can reach it within a few hours' drive from their homes. And then, some hours later, the Mediterranean Sea can be enjoyed. All in all, the Valley has a very favourable traffic situation. The Great St Bernard Pass, the Western Alps' most ancient pass, connects it with France, but then there is also the Mont Blanc Tunnel. Winter sports play an important role all over the Aosta Valley. It has been said that Europe's most daring slopes are to be found in Italy's smallest region.