This is an excerpt from the book “Aosta Valley Itineraries”.
Saint-Pierre: few steps into history
Here you are right in the heart of Valle d’Aosta! From here you can easily get to the upper Valley and be right in front of the highest peaks in Europe or reach Aosta in a five-minute drive. We guess you will be easily persuaded to stop here as we will arouse your curiosity by showing you the Castle Sarriod de la Tour, we will amaze you by taking you around the Natural Sciences Regional Museum located into Saint-Pierre Castle. We could also driving you up to Vetan (1700 meters) to feel the thrill of paragliding. What a striking view from there: the impressive mountain Grivola, the Peak of Nona, the Mount Emilius… At that height in the sky you feel like staring at those enormous giants. And back on the ground, we suggest you to taste the delicious products of our cuisine: the luscious apples, the apple juice, the aromatic wines…
Saint-Pierre: close at hand are mountains and city
The first residents of the village settled here 5,000 years ago attracted by the mild climate of this sunny site. Throughout the centuries Saint-Pierre maintained its strategic role, so that two castles were built on this tiny area. During your visit, you will be amazed by the authentic Spartan Sarriod de la Tour castle and by the sophisticated Saint-Pierre castle being the result of several modifications.
Surrounded by the apple trees, Sarriod de la Tour dates back to the 13th century. Inside the castle it is worth a look at “the heads’ room” decorated with a ceiling made of anthropomorphic pictures of monsters, animals and insects. Saint-Pierre castle is located higher up. It strikes the visitors with its neo-gothic towers. It has been the seat of the Regional Natural Sciences Museum since 1975 and shows an important exhibition of flora and fauna.
In summer, in the castles’ rooms, you can take part to Castelli di cultura, a meeting with authors and books. Each year on August 10th you might live again in the magic atmosphere of the Middle Ages thanks to the event Brindisi sotto le Stelle during which the Middle Ages are mixed with oenology and gastronomy.
There are plenty of cultural sites around the village: Saint-Pierre church, Saint-Jaqueme priory, sundials and chapels, traditional architecture in Verrogne, Vetan and Rumiod. And when you get hungry do not miss the typical cuisine whose inspiration is the apple. The delightful fruit is prepared in several ways: with pork, in the salad, as a fruit juice, in the cakes, or distilled. In the village center are located two traditional shops with souvenirs of the Grand Paradis. In Saint-Pierre sport ranges from mountain bike to archery, from the amazing paragliding to the new cat-riding, from kite-ski to mountaineering skiing.
Where to stay in Saint-Pierre
There are high quality hotels, B&Bs, condo hotels and guesthouses available, check them out and make a reservation here.
A SOUVENIR FROM PARADISE
Cookery is an art coming out in harmony with the scenery which reflects its colors and emotions. The dishes of our local cuisine are tasty and variegated, made of simple recipes that stress on the various gradations of flavor and scent. Dishes contain history and habits of the people and fit every single season. The cuisine has always been playing an important part in Valle d’Aosta tourism, restaurants propose more and more traditional dishes together with local wines. Gastronomic events celebrate all year round the authenticity of traditional products such as salami, meat, cheese, butter, honey, chestnuts, apples, pears, wines and liqueurs.
|Castle of Saint-Pierre|
|Info: Castello di Saint-Pierre tel. (+39) 0165 903485|
|Loc Tache – Perched on a crest dominating the left bank of the Dora Baltea and the village of Saint-Pierre below, the castle was built around 1000 and was mentioned in the “Charte des Franchises” of 1191, a document which regulated Valle d’Aosta’s tributary and fiscal laws. Over the centuries the castle has had many transformations and parts have been added. In the 17th century, baron Pierre-Leonard Roncas purchased the castle and extended it. The present form is due to Emanuele Bollati and to his neo-gothic taste. In 1985 the castle became the Regional Natural History Museum.|
|20/04-30/09: H 9.00-19.00 (for every day, last entrance 18.30)|
Entrance-fee: € 3,00, € 1,50 (school groups)
|Castle of Sarriod de La Tour|
|Info: Castello Sarriod de La Tour tel. (+39) 0165 904689|
|S.S. N. 26 – In front of the castle of Saint-Pierre, it is possible to see the more authentic castle of Sarriod de la Tour. The original nucleus included the central, square-plan tower surrounded by enclosure walls, of which the west portion is still preserved. In the 15th century a series of edifices on to those pre-existing was built. A large service room on the ground floor of the north wing has a wooden ceiling, the main beam of which is supported by a round pillar at the center of the room. The “Sala delle teste”, hall of the heads, takes its name from the decoration of its wooden ceiling: crickets, animals, monsters, mythological creatures live in this beautiful room since the 15th century. The castle belonged to the Sarriod de la Tour family until 1923 and now it is a property of the regional administration.|
|24/05-30/06, 01/09-30/09: H 9.00-18.30 (for every day)|
01/07-31/08: H 9.00-19.30 (for every day)
01/10-31/12: 10.00-12.00 / 13.30-16.30 (giorni for every weekday, closed on Tuesdays), 10.00-12.00 / 13.30-17.30 (on Sundays and Holidays)
|Parish church and bell tower|
|Loc. Tache – It is difficult to establish the foundation’s date of this parish church, but it is possible to collocate it between the 9th and the 11th century. The actual building was constructed in 1871-1872, but under the floor are still conserved the remains of a religious edifice of the 11th century. Very interesting is the square bell tower situated between the church and the castle.|
|S.S. n. 26|
|The Saint-Jacqueme’s priory is composed by a series of buildings that rise on the right side of the Mont Blanc’s national road. Between them, it is possible to see a little church and a beautiful bell tower. The first document a propos of the priory dates back to the year 1145. In 1845 it became a nursing home for diocesan missionaries. Today it is a place for studying and pondering.|
|Loc. Rumiod, Vetan|
|In Saint-Pierre, it is possible to see the typical constructions of Valle d’Aosta.|
Courtesy of the AIAT Gran Paradis; more… >>>