At the top of Italy is a small region long forgotten by most tourists. But this tiny region of Valle d’Aosta was once a major pathway between Northern and Southern Europe. Today is a lovely vacation spot for outdoor enthusiasts and thrill seekers. The mountains and open blue skies beckon visitors and residents alike. Among the many things to do in Valle d’Aosta are a myriad of festivals and fairs. It is a safe bet there is a fair at least once a month throughout the region. In the coming months alone there are several fairs to visit.
In September you can be a part of Chambave’s festival. This is the Grape Festival and occurs on the last Sunday of September. There are performances by folklore groups and many local bands. The residents attend a huge outdoor banquet and enjoy each others company. At the end of the festival the winner of the best variety of grapes for the year is announced by the local authorities.
In Gressan there is an Apple Festival on the second Sunday of the month. The best of the local ciders are presented. A wide and delicious assortment of apple desserts is on display as well.
In Aosta you can spend a week amazed at the spectacle of the International Hot Air Balloon Encounter. The week of events includes public excursions over the city. See Italy as you can in no other way from the basket of a hot air balloon. The week of celebrations culminate in the spectacular balloon ascent of Mont Blanc. At 13,000 feet this is a particularly dangerous escapade.
December is also the month of the living nativity scenes. These small pageants are a tradition across Italy, but the cool mountain air and the turning weather makes the nativity scene in Valle d’Aosta particularly special. Also in December, Cervinia hosts a torchlight procession down and over the mountains. The procession is done entirely on skis.
You can also spend time at the market in Valle d’Aosta. The Verres market specializes in antiques and knick-knacks. The market is open on the first Sunday of the month in the summer through September and then again on the Sunday before Christmas. Here you’ll find everything from priceless antiques to absolute junk.