Via Francigena

Day 44 – Aosta to Châtillon: a constellation of castles

The stage


👣 27km on foot – Tuesday 3 August

I can tell we’ve officially left the pass over the Alps today: instead of going downhill the whole time, we bounced up and down over the splendid hills of the Aosta Valley, always heading towards east, in a windy but sunny weather.
A long day today, quite tiring, not only because it was a 27 km stage, but also because it was a dense day of meetings. This time it was most literally a relay march: each administration, town to town, would join us for a section of the stage, carry the pilgrim’s stick, and hand it to the next representative when reaching the next meeting point.
We started walking out of Aosta quite early, visiting a few monuments on our way, such as the Arch of August and Porta Pretoria. We then headed towards St. Christophe, next town and meeting point arranged for today, followed by Quart, where we came by a beautiful castle.
Quart’s castle was not the only castle we visited today. The entire province of Aosta is dotted with gorgeous castles, some of which are very well maintained, others needing restoration, others progressively becoming ruins. In the past, all these castles didn’t only have a guarding purpose but were also obligatory crossing points collecting fees from passengers, such as merchants and pilgrims. Yes! Travelers used to pay a fee if they wanted to use the comfortable pass over the mountains, a bit like the fee we pay to use motorways – otherwise, they had to go over the risky and challenging tips of the mountains!
In the next town, Nus, well…guess what? We visited another castle, the Castle of Pilato, and took a break for our lunch. We then continued to the town of Chambave, where we were welcomed with some delicious Moscato wine, and then headed for Châtillon, where an institutional meeting saw the signing and delivery of EAVF’s official Road to Rome plaque to the municipality.
P.S. One last note. On our way to Châtillon, we came across a beautifully decorated house, with colorful artwork carved in wood, where an old man – most probably the artist – lives. He collects pilgrim’s signatures on a large book and has an official stamp for credentials. Definitely worth a stop!

The beautifully decorated house just outside of Chambave
Cooling off our feet in a water fountain in Nus
The castles in all the Aosta Valley

Myra Stals, Social Media Manager (EAVF)
Luca Faravelli, Project Manager (EAVF)
Luciana de Michele (Ragazze in Gamba)
Diego Passoni, dj (Radio Deejay), with friends
Sergio Valzania with family
Giulia Bertolazzi (video maker)
Many representatives from the local municipalities along the way


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