Lodge Chalet Gol is a centuries-old stone chalet in a region which stretches all the way to Zermatt and which is known for its beautiful Walser alpine architecture. The twenty or so authentic houses in the village of Cuneaz, near Champoluc, are characterized by their stone and wood construction and their roofs covered in large natural stone slabs.

The region is proud of the traditional ‘rascard’ houses, which have a stone base with six pillars supporting a large wooden house on top. Historically, the residents and their livestock lived in the lower stone building. The grain, hay, and other supplies were kept high and dry in the wooden upper construction. Large flat stones at the top of the pillars kept rats from getting into the storehouse. One of the village’s many rascards has been renovated to house the restaurant L’Aroula.

Cuneaz is the highest working alpine village in the Italian Alps. Fontina cheese is still produced from milk from the local cows. In summer, the cows regularly come to graze in the village, and people simply tie a ribbon across the entrances to their gardens to keep the cows from coming in.

Up until about twenty years ago, the village had a school for the local children, and the villagers made sabots, hunted, and made active use of the village oven. Many of the current residents can tell fascinating stories about these traditions, and they would prefer to see Cuneaz made into an open-air museum. In August, the village honours St Lawrence with a mass in the San Lorenzo chapel and a celebration in the village square.

The village of Champoluc, located further down the mountain, is the main ski resort and has a delightfully laid-back atmosphere. This has long been a ski area, historically attracting skiers from Turin and Milan.

Champoluc and the nearby village of Courmayeur have a friendly rivalry about which village attracts which type of people. As the story goes, Courmayeur attracts people who want to see and be seen, while Champoluc attracts the more athletic types. Often, families remain faithful to their chosen ski destination for generations, and they’ll proudly tell about climbing the mountain with Grandfather in summer and winter.

The Aosta Valley used to be part of the County of Savoy in the period when Turin was the capital of Italy. The French Savoy family ruled this part of northern Italy for many years, and it’s thanks to them that large portions of the Aosta Valley are French-speaking. Even today, French is the region’s second language, and the region has a kind of special status when it comes to taxes and legislation. Speaking of Turin, it’s a fantastic city to take a day trip to, for instance if the snow is coming down too hard – or even just for the fun of it!

We recommend the restaurant Antico Ristorante Porto di Savona, but be sure to make a reservation by calling +39 011-8173500! Turin is also a fashion paradise with a number of boutiques and outlet stores, and opera and museum lovers will also find plenty to whet their palate!