Valle d'Aosta - Vallée d'Aoste
|Region of Italy|
|• Total||3,263 km2 (1,260 sq mi)|
|Population (November 2012)|
|• Density||38.914/km2 (100.788/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|GDP/ Nominal||€ 4.3 billion (2010)|
|GDP per capita||€ 30,300 (2008)|
|NUTS Region||ITC (Northwestern Italy)|
Valle d'Aosta (Italian: Valle d'Aosta (official) or Val d'Aosta (usual), French: Vallée d'Aoste (official) or Val d'Aoste (usual)) is a mountainous region in northwestern Italy. In English is common to call it Aosta Valley.
This is the smallest region in Italy with an area of 3,263 km2 (1,260 sq mi) and a population of about 126,978. It is the only Italian region which has no provinces. The regional government has taken all the administrative functions of a province. The region is divided into 74 comuni.
The Valle d'Aosta is a small valley, the valley of the Dora Baltea river, with some smaller side valleys, in the middle of the Alps, surrounded by four of the tallest mountains throughout Italy and Europe:
- Mont Blanc; height: 4,810 m (15,781 ft) ( ), the highest mountain in the Alps.
- Matterhorn (German), Monte Cervino (Italian) or Mont Cervin (French); height: 4,478 m (14,692 ft) ( )
- Monte Rosa; height: 4,634 m (15,203 ft) ( ), the second highest mountain in the Alps.
- Gran Paradiso; height: 4,061 m (13,323 ft) ( ).
In the Valle d'Aosta, a region with many mountainous and close to borders with other countries, the mountain passes are very important. Even if now there some tunnels, they are important not only from a historical and geographical perspective, but also traditional and tourism.
The main mountain passes between the Val d'Aosta and other valleys are:
- The Little St Bernard Pass (French: Col du Petit Saint-Bernard; Italian: Colle del Piccolo San Bernardo), between Savoie, France and the Valle d'Aosta;
- The Great St Bernard Pass (French: Col du Grand Saint-Bernard; Italian: Colle del Gran San Bernardo), between Valais, Switzerland and the Valle d'Aosta;.
The valleys were made by glaciers moving at a time when the entire region was covered by them. Currently, glaciers occupy only the highest peaks.
The 74 comuni - with the exception of Aosta - of the Valle d'Aosta are organized in mountain communities (Italian: 'Comunità montane', French: 'Communautés de montagne'). There are 8 mountain communities:
|Valdigne Mont Blanc||La Salle||5|
|Walser - Alta Valle del Lys||Issime||4|
Comuni with higher populations
The 10 comuni of the Valle d'Aosta with the higher populations (January 2011) are:
Italian and French are the region's official languages and are used for the regional government's acts and laws, though Italian is much more widely spoken in everyday life. Of the population of the valley 96% speaks Italian as either a first or second language. Of the population 70% speaks French as either first or second language. School education is given equally in both Italian and French.
The regional language is a dialect of Franco-Provençal called Valdôtain (locally, patois). It is spoken as native tongue and as second language by about 58% of the population, according to a poll taken by the Fondation Émile Chanoux in 2002. The residents of the villages of Gressoney-Saint-Jean, Gressoney-La-Trinité and Issime, in the Lys Valley, speak two dialects of Walser German origin called Titsch and Töitschu respectively.
Mont Blanc Tunnel entrance.
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