Christmas markets, Marché de Noël, Christkindlmarkt: call them what you want, the fact remains that they return, December after December, stainless and evergreen, ready to animate the squares of the most evocative places in our country with their stalls full of merchandise. Reaching them comfortably, without traffic stress and without problems of sudden snowfalls or frosts is not impossible: to start their Christmas shopping no problem, incredulous and skeptical, they just have to get on one of the Trenitalia regional trains that arrive in the most evocative and glamorous locations of the Beautiful country.
Aosta, Roman city
Like Aosta, for example. In the past his name was Augusta Praetoria, a small Rome of the Alps, scattered with majestic buildings wanted by senators, matrons and emperors. Even today, among the streets of the center (a kind of grid typical of the ancient Roman colonies) you come across a Arch of Triumph, dedicated to Augustus and built to celebrate the victory of the legions of Rome over the indigenous population of the Salassi. The ancient decumanus, the main road of ancient Augusta passed right under the Arch and continued until it passed Porta Praetoria, from where the gigantic city walls started, scattered with watchtowers so mighty that they became, in the Middle Ages, the homes of local lords. Another dive into the distant past of the city takes place in front of the Roman theatre, which at the time of Augustus was destined to host shows and performances: one of the surviving facades, embroidered with arches, windows and columns, is still imposing today, as imposing and well preserved is the staircase where the spectators applauded the plays of Plautus or the tragedies of Seneca. It is in the shadow of these two testimonials of Roman Aosta that one of the most popular Christmas markets in the Alps is held.
Stalls of rustic goodness
Here is, for all, the Marché Vert Nöel, open until January 6, 2022: its historical site winds through the arches, the steps and the stage walls of the Roman Theater with about thirty chalets which, ideally, reconstruct an alpine village among firs and pines. Decorated with garlands and lights, they sell wooden objects (the famous grolla and sabot, the traditional clogs) or ceramic, hemp, wool or felt fabrics (such as draps della Valgrisanche), soaps and scented candles. However, craftsmanship and more. Here, in fact, the greedy traveler also finds excellent products to taste and buy: the Bleu d’Aoste (one of the most popular blue cheeses in the valley), the Jambon de Bosses (mountain and Guinness cured ham since it is the highest in Europe), the Lard from Arnad, i wines of the Route des Vins (Gamay and Donnas, Torrette and Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle), jams and honeys, spirits (including Genepy) and beers from local micro breweries.
The arch and the Fontina
For the 2021 edition, the Marché does it in two because even the pedestrian area of theArch of Augustus becomes a location for stands and chalets: here, next to the workstations of local artisans, is the Fontina Chalet, the famous and celebrated DOP cheese produced exclusively in the Aosta Valley and aged in charming aging cellars. The Arco d'Augusto is also the location of the evocative previews of the Sant'Orso Fair (held every year on 30 and 31 January): every weekend the artisans of the Valley show how they create their wonders and dedicate time and space also for visitors under 12 to whom tailor-made workshops and ateliers are reserved.
How to get
Direct connections between the Turin railway station and Aosta are daily thanks to Trenitalia's Regionali Veloci carried out with the new bimodal convoys, which depart practically every hour from the city of La Mole and arrive at their destination in less than two hours. The trains stop in Chivasso, Ivrea, Pont Saint Martin, Hone-Bard (Sundays and holidays), Verres, Chatillon-Saint Vincent, Nus and end the journey in Aosta.