Between fortress and residence: Challant
Built on a rocky peak that dominates the underlying village, the castle is mentioned for the first time in 1287 as the property of the De Verretio lords. An inscription carved in Gothic characters attests that it was Ibleto di Challant in 1390 who carried out the works which gave the building its present appearance. In 1536 Renato di Challant renewed the defensive apparatus of the manor, adapting it to the use of modern firearms. On this occasion, a wall was built equipped with gunports, buttress spurs and polygonal offensive turrets, suitable for the use of the spingarde and cannons cast in the fiefdom that the Count of Challant owned in Valangin, Switzerland; the entrance was made safer through the construction of the front door with the drawbridge and the opening of loopholes. New cross windows were also opened, in addition to the already existing Gothic-type single and double lancet windows, and new doors with a Moorish arch, clearly of Spanish influence; the interiors were enriched with new furnishings. Upon the death of Renato di Challant (1565) without male heirs, the castle was confiscated by the Savoys. In 1661 Duke Carlo Emanuele II ordered the dismantling of the armaments and their transfer to the fort of Bard, a strategic point where the defense of Valle d'Aosta was concentrated.
The Challants regained possession of the fortress in 1696 and kept it until the extinction of the family in the early 19th century. At that time the castle had been abandoned for almost two centuries: the roof, already partially collapsed, had been completely demolished to avoid paying the tax fee, so that the upper floors were exposed to the elements and overgrown with weeds. The rescue of this castle, like those of Issogne and Fénis, is due to the interest of a group of Piedmontese intellectuals united by a passion for the Middle Ages.
After passing the frontispiece that opens into the fortified walls, which can also be reached on horseback from the drawbridge, you come across the building intended as a guardhouse located in front of the castle entrance. The entrance portal leads into an entrance hall defended by a machicolation hidden in the vault; a second door, formerly protected by a portcullis, gives access to the courtyard of the castle. Around this square space, the body of the building is arranged in a ring on three floors, connected by a monumental stone staircase set on flying buttresses. The geometric regularity of the structure and the essentiality of the decoration, entrusted solely to the details in worked green and white stone, match the military character of the building and also denote the excellence of the workers who worked in Verrès.
On the ground floor there are two large symmetrical halls which occupy the entire east and west sides of the castle, while the kitchen is located to the south. The eastern hall, probably originally used as an artillery warehouse, is covered by a barrel vault. Of greater interest is the armory located to the west, vaulted in a pointed arch: it has two monumental fireplaces with shaped jambs; the doubling of the walls and other clues that emerged during a restoration testify to the superimposition of several construction campaigns.
The rooms on the first floor, reserved for the lords of the castle, are illuminated by elegant fourteenth-century mullioned windows, larger than those on the other floors. The large dining room is connected by a serving hatch to the master kitchen. This last room, equipped with three large fireplaces, has a stone vault with multiple ribs rebuilt in the times of Renato di Challant, the only original roof still existing in the castle; also noteworthy is the fireplace located on the north side, of exceptional dimensions and richly decorated with moldings and small pillars.
The service apartments are located on the second floor (which cannot be visited), connected by a wooden staircase to the machicolation floor.
Every year the castle is the prestigious stage of the Verrezia Historical Carnival in which the epic of the Countess Caterina di Challant is recalled between history and legend.
From October to March: from 10.00 to 13.00 and from 14.00 to 17.00, from Tuesday to Sunday
From April to September: from 9.00 to 19.00, every day
Prices: Full price: €3.00 - Reduced price: €2.00
Verrès Castle - 11029 Verrès
Telephone: +39 0125 929067
Initially the domain of the bishops of Aosta, the property subsequently passed into the hands of the Challant family. Over time the existing buildings were enlarged and united, until the radical transformation which took place between about 1490 and 1510 by Giorgio di Challant, prior of Sant'Orso, who made it a sumptuous residence for his cousin Margherita de La Chambre and his son Philibert. It was then that the castle took on its current appearance, becoming a single horseshoe-shaped building, overlooking a large courtyard and an Italian garden, on whose high wall important characters and heroes were painted; the portico on the ground floor was decorated with a series of frescoed lunettes with scenes of daily life and representations of shops, while in the center of the courtyard the famous wrought iron fountain known as the Melograno fountain was built, a symbol of prosperity. Also in that period many internal rooms were decorated with frescoes, both in the representative areas, such as the Hall of Justice or the Chapel, and in the more private rooms, including the oratories of Margherita de La Chambre or Giorgio di Challant. After the splendor of the sixteenth century, the residence began to decline progressively and in 1872 it was sold at public auction: purchased by the Turin painter Vittorio Avondo, it became the object of a careful restoration campaign which returned it to its former glory. Donated to the State in 1907, today the castle belongs to the Autonomous Region of Valle d'Aosta and is presented with some elements of the original furniture and other furnishings redone at the end of the 19th century, which together with numerous domestic objects reproduce the setting late fifteenth century commissioned by Avondo.
Entering the building you find yourself in the courtyard, surrounded by buildings on whose walls the coats of arms of the Challant family and of the families related to it are portrayed; past the pomegranate fountain, continue towards the entrance hall decorated with valuable lunettes, depicting the guardhouse, the butcher's and baker's shop, the fruit and vegetable market, the tailor, the apothecary and the grocer.
Afterwards, we proceed to visit the interior of the castle:
On the ground floor, the dining room, the kitchen, and the baronial room, where you can admire a beautiful stone fireplace bearing the Challant coat of arms on the hood flanked by a lion and a griffin, paintings on the wooden beams of the ceiling and the frescoed walls with landscapes, hunting scenes and the Judgment of Paris;
On the first floor, the chapel, with finely decorated pointed vaults, with frescoes on the walls and with the Gothic altar in carved and gilded wood adorned with a Flemish triptych and the Countess' room, with the oratory decorated with paintings;
On the second floor, the room known as the "King of France" room, with a coffered ceiling decorated with lilies and a fireplace bearing the shield of the French Valois dynasty on the hood, and the room known as the "Knights of San Maurizio" with the bel coffered ceiling on which the cross of this order is painted.
The ruins of the dovecote still stand a short distance from the castle.
Starting from autumn 2018, a new emotional and multimedia installation dedicated to Vittorio Avondo, illustrious owner of the manor of Issogne, enhances and enriches the offer of the castle by highlighting the late nineteenth-century events with a series of panels, multimedia solutions and elements of poetic suggestion.
The purchase and restoration, together with Alfredo D'Andrade, of the castle of Issogne, allowed him to expand his skills and collections of medieval art, which led him to collaborate with D'Andrade himself in the construction of the medieval village in Turin (1884).
Issogne Castle - Piazza Castello, 11020 Issogne
Telephone: +39 0125 929373
  • TANPI' FOOD & DRINK PHILOSOPHY : restaurant with a modern and refined design, masterfully executed Piedmontese and Aosta Valley dishes are served. There is a refined cellar with excellent local and national choices and a barman at your disposal who can let you try numerous varieties of cocktails both as an aperitif and as an after dinner drink.
Open every day from 7.00 to 24.00.
Closed on Tuesday
Via Jean Baptiste Barrel, 30, 11029 Verrès
Telephone: +39 3452240151
  • LA TOUR RESTAURANT : the La Tour restaurant, a newly built restaurant, respects the classic architectural features of the area: wood and stone. It is located at the foot of the Verrès Castle, immersed in the greenery and quiet of the Verrezia hills. The restaurant room is small in size, seating a maximum of 25/30, with an intimate, welcoming and elegant environment. The structure also has a large outdoor area with a view of the surrounding countryside, which can be appreciated especially in spring and summer. The gastronomic proposals are simple and based on the choice of excellent raw materials. Ample space is given to seasonal products and local cuisine alongside a selection of the best dishes of Italian cuisine.
Open every day from 12:00 to 21:30
Wednesday from 12:00 to 13:30 and Sunday from 12:00 to 17:00
Location La Tour, 5, 11029 Verres
Telephone: +39 0125929229
  • INN RESTAURANT AL MANIERO : near the castle of Issogne, you will find this characteristic restaurant that offers typical Aosta Valley cuisine. To take care of the preparation of the dishes is the Chef Giovanni Paladini who pays close attention to seasonal products and offers you the typical dishes of the valley; Arnad lard and mocetta with chestnut honey, seasonal vegetable flan (which in summer are harvested in the family garden), but you can never miss the valpellinentze soup, which with its softness prepares you to taste the simple, yet flavorful lamb with herbs, and just to name a few of their dishes. Possibility of tasting menu.
Open every day
Pied de Ville hamlet 58, 11020 Issogne
Telephone: +39 0125929219



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relaisdufoyer en verres-and-issogne-castles 011
Località Panorama, 37
11024 Chatillon (Ao)
Tel. +39 0166/511251
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