Environment

Combined with an itinerary offering unparalleled views of the resplendent peaks of Mount Rosa from a number of striking angles, this event aims at promoting the Alps’ unique cultural and natural setting.  The Upper Lys Valley distinguishes itself from the linguistically francophone Aosta Valley, through the presence of a Germanic community of Walser origin, an ethnic minority notably different for its culture, language and architecture.  The itinerary of the race takes the contestants past many examples of this treasured rural architecture.

There is a solid sense of peace emanating from these tiny communities, the proud guardians of the heritage of the Walser community, with their typical wood and stone houses. The peace of these hamlets is only ever interrupted by local folkloristic events.  As in a living picture, the spectator is immersed in the silence of the forest, with its paths amongst the pine trees and pastures, interrupted only by the nearby murmur of waterfalls and wildlife.

It will be possible to visit the Savoy Castle, a fairy-tale manor dating back to the beginning of the 20th Century, with cusped towers protruding through the canopy of an ever-green forest.  This was the favourite resort of Queen Margaret during the first half of the last Century.

Villages crossed by the UltraTrail and Trail Competitions (www.lovevda.it)

 

Gressoney-Saint-Jean

This is an elegant, tourist district located at 1,385 metres of altitude in a particularly interesting area due to its view of the Lyskamm glacier and the impressive Monte Rosa massifs which reflects in the emerald green waters of the beautiful Gover Lake, located just outside the town.

It has a characteristic historic centre, where some of the Walser houses, which are perfectly preserved, are grouped together around Giovanni Battista Church. Built in 1725 on a previous building dating from 1515, this church has an over-leaning roof and a beautiful bell-tower from the sixteenth century which opens with a mullioned window and crowned by a spire. The parish museum preserves a large crucifix that dates back to the XIII century, among the oldest masterpieces in Valle d‘Aosta.

Immersed in the greenery of the woodland you will find Castel Savoia, built during Queen Margherita’s reign in 1894 as her residence on her frequent holidays. Castel Savoia is well known for its botanic garden as well.

The typical dress is worn by Gressoney people during  the procession organized in June 24th (San Giovanni celebration) a symbol of the oldest traditions, strongly rooted and traceable to the Walser culture, particularly the female costumes, which are strictly black and white, with a white blouse adorned with ornate lace and decorated by a rich cuff in gold filigree.

The winter sports infrastructures permit off-track (that cover over 13 kilometres) and Nordic skiing that cover 25 Km between woodland and magnificent views over the glaciers. In January takes place the international Nordic skiing competition called the “Monterosalauf”.

Gressoney is a privileged starting point for alpine and mountain pass excursions. Gressoney-Saint-Jean offers many walks and lifts during summer as well. From Gressoney Saint-Jean starts the  Alta Via no.1 road in Valle d‘Aosta, an excursion itinerary that follows an upland route and which connects Gressoney to Courmayeur.

Gressoney-La-Trinité

Gressoney-La-Trinité is the last town centre at the start of the valley in which the Lys River flows, at 1,627 metres above sea level, in a vast flat land dominated by the impressive Lyskamm glacier.

During medieval times, this district belonged to the Bishops of Sion and was populated by shepherds from the neighbouring valley from where they get their name: the Walser.

The Walser are a race of Germanic origin that arrived in these parts over eight centuries ago, passing through Colle del Teodulo. Their culture is still reflected today in their architecture, in their traditions and their language called Titsch.

The town centre hosts the parish church of the Santissima Trinità dating back to 1671 and built on the foundation of a fifteenth-century building.

Gressoney-La-Trinité is an internationally renowned, Alpine resort. It is equipped and frequented for alpine ascents in the Monte Rosa chain and to practice all winter sports: it forms part of the Monterosa Ski complex, which, with its 150 kilometres of pistes, is one of the largest and most picturesque in Europe.

 

HOW TO GET THERE

 

Airports:

Turin Caselle (OTA) – Milan Malpensa (ITA) – Ginevra Cointrin (CH)

 

Motorway distances:

From Aosta 85 Km.

From Turin 90 Km.

From Milan 150 Km.

From Genève 200 km.

 

Closest Railway Station:

Pont-Saint-Martin

 

Bus timetable:

V.I.T.A.

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