Saturday, 15 December 2012

Gressoney la Trinité-Italy | Alpine Gem Beneath the Majestic Monte Rosa.

Gressoney la Trinité is a fantastic resort of Italy,an Alpine Gem beneath the Majestic Monte Rosa,one of the giants of the Alps,the second peaks of that wonderful entire mountainous chain only behind the iconic Mont Blanc.

Situated in a valley of the same name also called Alta Valle del Lys the High Valley of the river Lys which descends from that superb mountain in the beautiful region of Val D´Aosta,the Aosta Valley a marvellous Italian region enclosed within France, Switzerland and Piedmont.

Located approximately 85,0 kilometres from the capital of the region the city of  Aosta and 103,0 kilometres from the third Italian centre : Turin.Gressoney la Trinité is considered by many people one  of the pearls of Val D´Aosta,thanks to its very well preserved natural environment and local architecture,despite the always increasing tourist demand.

The beauty of the valley packed by pines and firs forests is undoubtedly another highlight,everywhere you look around you can enjoy magnificent landscapes,every corner is a fairytale place and all that under that charming giant called Monte Rosa,which with its 4634,0 m is just like the Protector of that pleasant land dominating all the valley and the villages scattered in natural magnificent natural corners.

 According the first historical documentations,Gressoney la Trinité was populated since the 11th century by the Alamanni an ancient German ethnic group coming from the valley of the Upper Rhein.As in all the Alpine arch there were often at that time displacements of populations from a valley to another,the former inhabitants were mainly farmers and dedicates to agriculture and pastures with some small trades with the nearest settlements.

In the 13th century,in the Lys Valley was established by the local lords a feudalistic system with some important families governing the land.It was in that period that the local nobles to populate the territory invited the Walser another German population coming from the Bernese Oberland in the current Switzerland.

The Walser replaced the Alemanni who moved in other territories and they started to create other settlements not only in Val d´Aosta but also in Piedmont in the current Valsesia,a part of the Haute Savoy in France,in Switzerland and also reaching the Principality of Liechtenstein and Austria.
(I wrote a post about Bosco Gurin a Swiss Walser settlement in Switzerland in the case you are interested).

 The name Walser is simple it is the denomination of inhabitants of a valley.The Walser,new inhabitants of Gressoney took with them their traditions,culture,folklore.architecture,customs and language.In medieval era the Walser populating the Lys Valley obtained autonomy and freedom,they could use their own language,to build their typical wooden houses called Stadel,generally arranged on two floors and a basement with wooden balconies and those houses in many cases became a trendy inspiration to build some magnificent Alpine chalets.

The history of Gressoney continued very linked to the Duchy of Savoy future Kings of Piedmont and Sardinia and of Italy.The name of the town for its sound is a clear French name,Gressoney the Trinity but it is also called in Walser Greschoney Deitfaltiget and, in German Kressnau Dreitfaltiget due also to the strong Walser and speaking German culture rooted in the valley.

The original name of the town derives from the French word Cresson,meaning watercress,that kind of herb which growns up in the land and from that the name Gressoney,which changed with local  influence from Cresson to Gresson,while another German version of the name is Kressnau bei den Sachem, which means Gressoney next to the roofs.

That centre of Aosta valley for proximity an d cultural links also kept strong relationships with the nearest France and Switzerland,furthermore Val D´Aosta is a bilingual Region in which Italian and French are official languages.

Those influences have generated that Gressoney la Trinité is a multilingual municipality,despite its tiny size,people speaks,Italian,French and German or better there is  use of the Titsch the Walser language which is in short a sort of old German language used by the descendants of the first Walser settlers. Furthermore many people in the area also also speaks  the Patois Vâldotain a local language very common in Val D´Aosta a romance Occitaine language a sort of old French also spoken in Piedmont and in France in particular in Haute Savoie.

The centre of the resort is arranged along the Regional Road SR 44 on the shore of the river Lys,it is small but with very interesting sites,one of them very recommended to visit is the Walser Museo Etnografico, also called in Walser Titsch Walser Huis Muzeum which is arranged in a typical Walser rural house with stoned roof and a wooden loggia with traditional details on the facade.

The interior is a representation of traditional house explaining the visitors the utility of the rooms and containing interesting documents and objects about the chronological history and culture of that population,visiting that exhibition is definitely a splendid occasion to know more.

It will perfectly introduce you in the culture of those inhabitants,displaying utensils,objects,handcrafts,art and decorations.Many wooden items are really authentic masterpieces of art,Walser people for tradition are excellent carvers and engravers in particular on wood,they create several objects kinds of objects,from simple spoons,ashtrays,containers,sculptures of animals,different subjects of nature and many other things.

The Walser community is very proud of its heritage and apart to have museums in different towns where that community moved,Gressoney la Trinité has one If you visit the Alps you will find others in Alagna Valsesia, Bosco Gurin, Triesenberg,Val Formazza and Macugnaga,including in Davos famous Swiss resort (I wrote a post about that famed destination was populated centuries ago by Walser people).

That culture since many centuries ago is very rooted in the municipality and the Walser gave a name in their German Tisch to the valley calling it Kramertal.That name in German language means Valley of Trade or Valley of the Merchants,and since long time ago it was an important commerce cross point where traders from the nearest valleys,Switzerland,France and Southern Germany met each other to trade in particular fabric.

 If you are interested to know more about Walser community there is another splendid representation of houses and a museum in Alagna Valsesia,in the region of Piedmont on the other side of the Monte Rosa where you will discover many other interesting things.To keep alive the contacts with the other communities present in different areas of the Alpine valleys,the Walser communities organise festivals and feasts,with typical cuisine,handcrafts.expositions and other cultural events.The nearest Pourhus is an interesting  Eco Museum called also Casa del Paese,the house of the town.

Next to Museum you can see the Parish Church also called Thedy Hus and it was erected in the early 18th century.It is a typical example of Alpine Religious building with a clear ochre facade with two arched windows of Romanesque inspiration and delimited from the square by a small stoned wall.

The Church consists in a nave,the interior is arranged on a Latin cross plan,the highlights are a splendid Baroque altarpiece and a beautiful lamp forged in gold,silver and copper in the centre of the central nave.Next to the main body is situated a high bell tower developed on a square plan,it is over 30 m high with a circular white watch and the charming belfry is surmounted by a scenic onion dome.

The beauty of the valley is its unique scenery packed by pines and firs forests which is  undoubtedly another highlight,everywhere you look around you can enjoy magnificent landscapes,every corner is a fairytale place and all that under that charming giant called Monte Rosa,which with its 4634,0 m is just like the Protector of that pleasant land dominating all the valley and the hamlets scattered in natural magnificent natural corners.
For a relaxing walk in one of the neighbourhoods,I suggest Orsia,where you can enjoy  a splendid walk ring,called by many people Giro dell´Anello (ring round) for its circular shape as a ring,a pleasant walk along the river Lys admiring the majestic peak of Monte Rosa and its glacier over you,that scenic view is fantastic with the surroundings Alpine forests,typical Alpine wooden houses scattered around and  over you of that giant of the Alps called Mount Rosa as highlight.

That  prestigious resort today mainly lives about tourism,it is one of the best Winter Sports and holidays all year destination with a long and great tradition about Alpine Ski.

The local family Bieler gave that Italian Alpine Ski National Team excellent champions as Franco and Wanda Bieler who competed in the Alpine Ski World Cup in the 70s including the unforgettable Leonardo David was from Gressoney,all them started their brilliant ski careers on the slopes of their beloved town.Thanks also the presence of such champions,the fame and popularity of Gressoney La Trinité grew up with Ski Schools and also shops specialised in winter sports increasing furthermore the promotion of that Alpine resort. resort.

The resort also gained an important reputation about National and International competitions,very well known also abroad and very appreciated by a multitude of ski lovers due the excellent ski complex and organisation in every aspect,from the preparation of the slopes to the excellent services in terms of incoming,information and accommodations it offers and today it is an important destination for many ski lovers who appreciate its excellent global quality of facilities and outstanding accommodations.

The resort offers all Ski lovers over 220 km of slopes and the proximity of Valsesia,Ayas Valley and other famous resorts as Champoluc and Brusson,are undoubtedly a great incentive if you love skiing and changing place and slopes in a very short time.

The local slopes are very challenging and techniques particularly suitable to enjoy very good slaloms. Monterosa Ski Complex which includes apart Gressoney La Trinité also Alagna, Brusson, Champorcher (I wrote a post about that other splendid place) and Champoluc nd Champorcher all that forms a modern network providing 44 ski lift including funiculars and chairlifts (11 are in Gressoney La Trinité) with among them the ascent to the Lake Gabiet,Punta Indren and Punta Jolanda spectacular places to visit also in summer.

Monte Rosa Ski area is fantastic for the organisation of its slopes,there is the opportunity for all people to start to ski with easy blue tracks,interesting red slopes for people with an intermediate level who want to improve their capacity,and some slopes for authentic experts with high coefficient of difficulties.Excellent is also the service of snow machines with over 400 snow machines placed all around the slopes serving the tracks always with fresh snow which is immediately prepared on the tracks in the best way.

There are many red slopes (26) and also blue slopes,including three Black slopes are suitable for masters and experienced skiers such as Mos,Jolanda 1 and Nera,very challenging with challenging curves and steep straights with high gradients,the longer slope is Pistone Betta a red slope of over 5,500 metres of longitude.

Other interesting and very good red slopes are the Jolanda,Alpe Ricka,Salati 1 that one is over 4,600 metres long) and the Ski Weg Marmotte,those tracks are for intermediate skiers with some points pretty steep other with less gradient. There are also areas for children as the Baby snow Park Stafal and another one called Baby Snow Park Colletesand,great places where adults can enjoy pleasant days with their children having fun in the snow.

Another important aspect is the local inhabitants,very friendly and genuine people,every time ready to welcome the visitors,there is a high sense of hospitality,of course another incentive to chose that resort as destination when you feel around you a pleasant atmosphere.

Apart Alpine Ski,Gressoney gives the chance to enjoy also freestyle and snowboard with its Snowboard Park considered one of the best in all the Val D´Aosta.The Snowboard Cross another trendy activity always more loved by many people is practised on the slopes of Bettaforca area another emblematic symbol of the resort.

The town is not only Alpine Ski and Winter Sports,the resort offers a multitude of opportunities to enjoy several outdoor activities all year such as trekking,hiking,climbing,several unforgettable excursions,the chance to practise cycling,mountain bike and also a relevant historic patrimony.

A splendid excursion to enjoy in the surrounding of that resort as the Lake Gabiet,a magnificent Alpine waters basin surrounded by towering peaks situated at 2371 m of altitude,there is a path from Gressoney and a funicular service transporting the visitors to admire that wonderful lake,a blue water paradise of waters in a picturesque scenery.

Punta Jolanda is another fantastic place,it is a stupendous Alpine headland at 2100 m of altitude,a very special place and ideal point to admire all the Lys Valley,fantastic is also the excursion to Capanna Gnifetti, a,spectacular site with a hut refuge under the Monte Rosa glacier at 3647 m of altitude,also splendid is another one leading to Rifugio Gastaldi at 2358 m and another one to the Rifugio Quintino Sella at 3555 m of altitude.

The nearest Val D´Ayas is another recommended place with wild landscapes,majestic mountains and beautiful pine forests,furthermore you can visit learning fantastic trails leading to admire the Rothorn,the Testa Grigia,Chasten and Mont Nery all giant of the Alps and the list is very long.
The gastronomy of Gressoney and of the Region Val D´Aosta is really delicious.That Alpine Italian land took a wide variety of influences from the nearest Piedmont,France and Switzerland.The typical plates are the famous Fondue Valdotaine,prepared with cheese Fontina,pepper,eggs,butter,flour and milk,served hot and accompanied by Crostini bread.The Polenta Valdostana is another speciality,polenta cooked and covered by melted Fontina cheese and some butter.

A local product very appreciated is the delicious Dzambon a local ham prepared with salt,garlic,pepper, garlic,pepper,rosemary,sage,laurel,thyme and jumiper,it is often present in starters,but also in snack on toasted bread or in slices as appetisers just like the Boudin a local pork sausage flavoured by spices,it can be served as appetiser but also baked or boiled and the Motsetta is a sort of chamois ham flavoured by herbs,laurel,garlic,sage and rosemary,it is a product pretty salted and rich of flavour.

A very energetic plate is the Zuppa Valdostana,it is a soup consisting in bread,meat stock,Fontina and Toma traditional cheeses of the region ,butter and salt.French influence is present with the traditional Carbonade Valdotaine very similar to the famous French Carbonade,also the preparation is very similar, using with the beef meat,salted lard,cinnamon,garlic,cinnamon,cloves,eggs,flour,pepper and adding during the preparation red wine.

The Cotoletta alla Valdostana, is veal cutlet fried with butter,eggs,butter and with veal meat is also prepared the traditional Fricandeau which consists in cubes of meat cooked with salt,onion,rosemary,salt adding white wine,it can be accompanied by vegetables or including combined with polenta.

The influence of the nearest France is present in many specialities also in Val D´Aosta there is an ample preparation of Crepes very similar to the French the Crepe a la Valdotainne are generally prepared with fontina cheese and ham,and there is also a local Tariflette prepared with local cheeses.

Also fish is present the delicious Truit avec Beurre,is baked trout with salt and butter while the Truit au Blau is that kind of fish boiled,flavoured with olive oil,herbs,lemon and it can be accompanied by salads or potatoes.

The Chiechené are a sort sort of frittellle very popular,the local forest are rich of blueberries,blackberries and wild berries,often used for homemade cakes too.The Torcetti and Tegole are homemade biscuits really tastefully and there are other desserts very common and close to the Savoy traditions as Blanc-Manger and very traditional is the Flantse a bread which in its preparation has butter,walnuts,nuts,raisins and fruit.

Also fish is present the delicious Truit avec Beurre,is baked trout with salt and butter while the Truit au Blau is that kind of fish boiled,flavoured with olive oil,herbs,lemon and it can be accompanied by salads or potatoes.

About cheeses,Aosta Valley is a paradise, the popular Fontina the Toma of Gressoney is a typical cheese of the area of high quality,a kind of cheese which can be also used for starters,appetisers and snacks but also very good combined with other ingredients or melted  in other plates,as the Polenta,the Fondue or as cheese sauce on a Risotto or in a  Pasta too.

There is a great choice of fine wines in the Region,excellent Pinot Noir and Gris  but also many others such as Chardonnau,Nus,Torrette,Donnas,Fumin,Riesling,Chambave and many others.The region apart Alps has a vast territory occupied by hills ideal places to cultivate excellent robust grapes,the land has very mild spring and summers and the autumn is not too cold,in those hilly territories there is a sort of micro climate which permit a relevant harvest,there are smooth red wines with a great texture and pure colour,fine and classy white wines,including superb sweet Moscato,all them give the visitor to taste a wide variety of selected wines with an ample choice,very versatile,there are some perfect for red and white meats,fish and seafood and including for cooking.

Other typical drinks in Val D´Aosta are the liquor Genepy which is a traditional herbs spirit very popular also in the French Haute Savoie and the Grampapole considered a social drink consisting in Grappa mixed with honey.

Turin Caselle International Airport is situated at a distance of 113,0 kilometres,in less of two hours you can reach the resort driving along the A5 Motorway until the town Pont Saint Martin and from there taking the Regional Road SR 44 via Gaby you will reach the resort.

Gressoney la Trinité is a fantastic place to enjoy holidays all year,a great destination for all,a magnificent place,under the charming silhouette of the Monte Rosa,something unique,simply the view of that giant will be an unforgettable place to remember for ever.

Francesco Mari

Recommended Hotels in Gressoney La Trinité

Hotel De Gletscher
Hotel Romantik Jolanda Sport
Residence Obereil
Hotel Ellex
Hotel Lo Scoiattolo
Hotel Nordend
Hotel Dufour

Recommended Restaurants in Gressoney La Trinité

Ristorante Oberteil
Ristorante Capanna Carla
Ristorante Punta Jolanda
Ristorante Anderbatt