Welcome to the inaugural A-Z Guidebook Link Up where bloggers from around the world can share a picture and story about a place that relates to each letter in the alphabet. It could be a city, a country, a street or an icon. It could be anywhere. If you would like to join, read the A-Z Guidebook tab at the top of the blog and write a travel post relating to the letter of the month.
A or Airport
Until I visited, I’d never even heard of Aosta. We chanced upon it on our drive from France, across Italy and on to a month in Croatia. The only reason we visited at all was because we were camping in the tiny town of Torredaniele and decided to drive further up the valley. After stopping at a few small towns to look at cobbled squares and old churches, imagine our surprise when we rounded the bend and saw the spectacular view of Aosta and its Roman ruins against a sparkling alpine backdrop. Bordering Switzerland and France, the Val D’Aosta (Aosta Valley) is nestled in the foothills of the Italian Alps. A gateway to Mont Blanc and The Matterhorn. The smallest region in Italy, the Valley is known for hearty mountain cuisine including polenta and game stews and for soft Fontina cheese, an ideal inclusion in fondues.
On this particular day however, there were no ragus or fondues. As the temperature soared and Italy entered its fourth day of a heat wave, it was shade we craved as the sun beat down on treeless streets of the old quarter. Like most European cities, the ruins sit cheek by jowl with modern developments, portions of the masonry re-used in later building work. I’m not sure why I was surprised to see Roman ruins in Italy, where it all started. Perhaps it was because they were well maintained, something you certainly don’t see a lot of in Italy. Eventually we found a shady park where we could give our feet a rest, guzzle mineral water, enjoy an icy granita and take in the view. And what a view!