AOSTA, the Roman Augusta Praetoria. The city is entered through the imposing Arch of Augustus, an adaptation of Roman a Triumphal , architecture to an Alpine setting.
To the right may be seen the XI century Collegiata di Sant'Orso with its XIII century belltower, and we pass by the mighty arches of the Roman Prelorian Gate, with the remains of the Roman Theatre and Amphitheatre on the right. In the Renaissance Cathedral, there is a picturesque Crypt with Roman columns, and a rich Treasury, containing repousse silver caskets and famous ivories. Beside the church of Sant'Orso stands the graceful Palazzetto del Priorato, with its octagonal tower and finely wrought terracotta windows, perhaps the most beautiful building in the valley. Near the River Dora may be seen the ruined Leper's Tower, made famous by Xavier De Maistre's story, "Lc Lepreux de la cite d'Aoste".
Tourists are advised to spend the night in Aorta and on the next morning take the unforgettable trip through Courmayeur, the well-known mountain resort, to the daring Cableway wich soars over the Mont Blanc glacier to Chamonnix, probably the most thrilling Alpine journey possible today. On the morning of the fifth day we come back down the Valle d'Aosta and, passing by lyres, cover the thirty miles to VERCELLI, an ancient Roman and medieval city. By taking torso Prestmari and Corso Garibaldi, we reach the Basilica di Sant'Andrea, the most important building in the town (1224), partly Romanesque and partly Gothic, with a handsome portico and three doorways on the facade, and its sturdy towers; the cloister of the adjoining abbey is also noteworthy. The Church of San Cristoforo contains Gaudenzio Ferrari's masterpiece, the Madonna of the Pomegranate.