Medieval castles in Aosta Valley

Issogne Castle

Issogne Castle is one of the most famous manors of the region, and is located on the right bank of the Dora Baltea. As a seigniorial residence of the Renaissance, the Castle has quite a different look from that of the austere Verrès Castle, which is located in Verrès, on the opposite bank of the river. Issogne Castle is most noteworthy for its fountain in the form of pomegranate tree and its highly decorated portico ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Issogne, Italy

Cly Castle

Cly is a castle in Saint-Denis, overlooking the Dora Baltea river, belongs to the so-called primitive style of castle, consisting of a keep with a surrounding wall. The ruins rise from a bed of metamorphic rock, on the edge of a fault line which extends to the Castle of Quart. Cly was first mentioned in a document from 1207, in which the 'chapel sancti Mauricij de castro Cliuo' is mentioned among the good ...
Founded: c. 1027 | Location: Saint-Denis, Italy

Aymavilles Castle

The castle of Aymavilles is certainly the most characteristic and recognizable element of the Aymavilles for its position and architecture characterized by the four cylindrical towers crowned by 'murder holes' that enclose a central body with a square base. The building, the origins of which date back to 12th century, was repeatedly reconfigured, changed its use from defensive to that of elegant lordly resi ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Aymavilles, Italy

Quart Castle

Quart castle is a set of buildings arranged within a fortified perimeter, which respects the natural contour of a difficult rocky slope.The donjon (keep) standing on the highest point of the rock, the functional layout of individual buildings, the chapel and the winding passageways, are evidence of an early or Germanic fortified structure, although current architectural evidence point to more recent periods, as do the fi ...
Founded: c. 1185 | Location: Quart, Italy

Fénis Castle

Fénis Castle is one of the most famous castles in Aosta Valley, and for its architecture and its many towers and battlemented walls has become one of the major tourist attractions of the region. The castle first appears in a document in 1242 as a property of the Viscounts of Aosta, the Challant family. At that time it probably was a simple keep surrounded by walls. From 1320 to 1420, under the lordship of Aymon o ...
Founded: c. 1242 | Location: Fénis, Italy

Ussel Castle

Standing on a marked, rocky promontory, Ussel castle overlooks the south side of the residential area of Châtillon. Built by Ebalo II of Challant in the mid-14th century, the castle marks a change in Valdostan fortress architecture. Indeed, it is the first single body castle in Val d’Aosta, which was the last evolutionary phase of medieval castles, and marked the passage between the contemporary castle in Fénis and th ...
Founded: c. 1350 | Location: Ussel, Italy

Saint-Pierre Castle

Located on a rocky crag in Tache, the unmistakeably fairy-tale Saint-Pierre Castle is certainly unique. Its famous four side towers (added in the 19th century) give it an almost Disney-like appearance.  The first records of the castle date from the late 12th century and it is thought that is when the castle was first constructed. Far less grand than it is today, the original castle consisted only of basic walls and two ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Saint-Pierre, Italy

Nus Castle

The Nus castle stands above the same name village on a rocky projection, which dominates the entrance to the valley of Saint-Barthélemy. According to available documentation, the building can be traced at least as far back as the end of the 13th century, although the quadrangular turret, which collapsed at the start of the 20th century, and which stood in the eastern sector of the castle, can be compared to the towers e ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Nus, Italy

Avise Castle

Erected at the end of the 15th century by Bonifacio d’Avise, the Avise castle comprises a three-story building sided by a quadrangular tower. The motto of the Lords of Avise, Qui tost Avise tart se repent, is inscribed on the main portal. The monument has recently been restored and currently hosts events and temporary exhibitions. Worth discovering is the vast interior room with the fireplace, the furniture and the pewt ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Avise, Italy

Introd Castle

Introd castle stands on a promontory protected by the harsh gorges of the Savara and the Dora di Rhêmes (in fact the name Introd derives from the term Interaquas, or entre-eaux in French, which means “between the waters”) and probably dates back to the 12th century. Like Graines castle, originally, it probably consisted of a square keep surrounded by a perimeter wall. Around 1260 Pierre Sarriod of Introd transform ...
Founded: c. 1260 | Location: Introd, Italy

Bosses Castle

Bosses Castle stands next to the Parish Church of Saint-Léonard in Saint-Rhémy-en-Bosses. It is a solid monoblock building embellished by cross windows, with three storeys above ground. The fiefdom dates back to the twelfth century: it belonged to the homonymous family ‘de Bocha’, enfeoffed by the Lords of Quart. After the tower was dismantled due to conflicts with the Count of Savoy at the beginning of the 13th ce ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Saint Rhemy, Italy

Verrès Castle

Verrès Castle has been called one of the most impressive buildings from the Middle Ages in the Aosta Valley. Built as a military fortress by Yblet de Challant in the 14th century, it was one of the first examples of a castle constructed as a single structure rather than as a series of buildings enclosed in a circuit wall. The castle stands on a rocky promonitory on the opposite side of the Dora Baltea from Issogn ...
Founded: c. 1287 | Location: Verrès, Italy

Sarre Royal Castle

Sarre Royal Castle stands on a promontory in Lalex, which overlooks the Aosta flatland above the national road for Mont Blanc. It was built in 1710 on the ruins of a fortress mentioned in 1242. The property was purchased by the King of Italy Victor Emanuel II, who renovated it and used it during hunting expeditions in Val d’Aosta. The royal castle of Sarre, after becoming the private property of the King, was used as h ...
Founded: 13th century / 1710 | Location: Sarre, Italy

Chenal Castle

Chenal Castle was built probably in the 13th century and had a rectangular floor plan. It belonged to the lords of Montjovet and only later became property of the Challant family, following the marriage between Ebalo the Great and Alexie of Chenal: in this way the two houses could control the passages along the road between Chenal and the Montjovet castle. The castle is nowdays in ruins.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Montjovet, Italy

Pilato Castle

Situated in the centre of Nus, Pilato castle was built by the lords of Nus in the 12th-13th century. Its owners abandoned it after a fire, preferring the castle on the hill (Nus Castle). The castle gets its name from the legend which claims that Pontius Pilate stopped there on his way to exile in Gaul. Today the ruins that survived the fire have been restored and are open to visitors: a ladder takes visitors up to the u ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Nus, Italy

Châtel-Argent Castle

There have been settlements on the site of Châtel-Argent castle since prehistoric times and through the Roman Era. There is a chapel dedicated to Saint Columba of Sens which was built sometime between 1050 and 1070. The castle first appears in a document in 1176 as Castrum Argenteum. The castle was improved around 1275 under the direction of Count Peter II"s architect James St. George and castle grew to the con ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Villeneuve, Italy

Bramafam Tower

Bramafam Tower stands at the corner of Via Bramafam and Viale G. Carducci, along the southern side of the Roman walls. Its official name is Bramafam Castle, but it is commonly referred to as the Tower. It has a circular rampart, with the Roman walls still visible at its base, and part of the tower which flanked Porta Principalis Dextera, on which it was constructed in around the 12-13th centuries. It belonged to the fa ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Aosta, Italy

Châtelard Castle

Châtelard castle was built probably by Rudolph Grossi, bishop of Aosta in 1243 and archbishop of Tarantasia in 1246. It is first mentioned in a document from 1248, and presents the type of circular tower reminiscent of the fortified constructions of Count Peter II of Savoy, to whom Grossi was a close advisor. All around, medieval dwellings of all shapes and sizes dot the land like small sentries with an ancient charm: t ...
Founded: c. 1243 | Location: La Salle, Italy

Sarriod de la Tour Castle

Sarriod de la Tour Castle was originally a typical of the style built between the 10th and 12th centuries, and was greatly expanded by Jean Sarriod in 1420 and his son, Antoine, in 1478. The north wing"s ground floor features a wooden-ceilinged 'Hall of Heads', named for its decorative motifs. The Sarriod de la Tour Castle was the family residence of the Sarriod family since its founding. The Sarriods were ...
Founded: 1420 | Location: Saint-Pierre, Italy

Champorcher Tower

As the Bard Fortress, Champorcher Castle also belonged to the powerful Lords of Bard, until the fratricidal war between William and Hugo in 1212. Little is known of this early building: we know that it was burned down by order of Hugo of Bard, which might suggest that it was constructed mostly of wood, like many buildings in the late Middle Ages. It was probably reconstructed in the same century, and definitely before 127 ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Champorcher, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Historic Village of Olargues

Olargues is a good example of a French medieval town and rated as one of the most beautiful villages in France. It was occupied by the Romans, the Vandals and the Visigoths. At the end of the 11th century the Jaur valley came under the authority of the Château of the Viscount of Minerve. The following centuries saw a succession of wars and epidemics, and it was not until the 18th century that Olargues became re-established. This was due to the prosperity of local agriculture and artisanal industry.

The Pont du Diable, 'Devil's Bridge', is said to date back to 1202 and is reputed to be the scene of transactions between the people of Olargues and the devil. The old village is clustered around the belltower, which was formerly the main tower of the castle (Romanesque construction). The old shops have marble frontages and overhanging upper storeys. A museum of popular traditions and art is to be found in the stairs of the Commanderie.