Nus lies on the orographic left of the Dora river, at an altitude of 529 metres, at the deep gorge leading to the Saint-Barthélemy Valley, among chestnut groves, fruit trees, meadows and vineyards, hence the renowned “Vien de Nus”. Among the excellent local wines to be surely included the Rouge and the Malvoisie, a precious wine produced with dried grapes. The name of the municipality has Roman origin and comes from “ad nonum (ab Augusta) lapidem”, which indicated the distance in Roman miles – nine – between Augusta Praetoria (Aosta) and the “mansio” of Nus.
WHAT TO SEE
● The astronomical observatory of Saint-Barthélemy, very important for scientific research, is one of the most suitable places for astronomical observations, thanks to favourable conditions, mainly due to low light pollution.
● The castle of Pilate is situated in a strategic position to protect the village. According to tradition Pontius Pilate, exiled from Caligula, would have stayed there.
● The Shrine in Cuney is situated at 2.656 metres above Saint-Barthélemy and is reachable on foot. It dates back to 1.659 and it is dedicated to the Madonna delle Nevi. The present building was rebuilt in 1861.
NATURE AND SPORT
The valley of Saint-Barthélemy, initially winding and very steep, in the hamlet of Lignan (1.633 m) opens out into a vast plateau from where you can admire a splendid panorama. Appreciated also for the practice of ski mountaineering and snowshoeing, in winter it is a popular destination for cross-country skiers, with over 30 km of slopes surrounded by unspoilt nature. In summer, the valley is frequented by mountaineers, who use it as a base for even rather demanding climbs, as well as by hikers who can choose between countless walks, horseback riding or mountain biking.
EVENTS AND TRADITIONS
The Feast of Madonna delle Nevi at the Shrine of Cuney is held every year on August 5. The procession of pilgrims reaches the shrine and, after mass, goes to a nearby source where the processional cross is immersed three times, praying to Our Lady to favour an abundant presence of water.
FOR THE LITTLE ONES
In addition to the playgrounds in the various hamlets of the municipality, during the winter in Saint-Barthélemy there is a baby snow park equipped with a treadmill, where children can have fun with bobsleighs, rubber dinghies and try downhill skiing.
Not to be missed is a stop at the astronomical observatory, with workshops and visits suitable also for children, such as the Planetarium, a real virtual journey into the cosmos, thanks to the projection on the 10-metre diameter dome of one of the most beautiful digital skies in Italy.
● Inhabitants: 3000
● Altitude: 529 m
● How to get there by public transport: Nus can be reached from Aosta by bus with the “Aosta-Pont-Saint-Martin” line or by train. The bus timetables can be found on the Arriva Savda company website. The train timetables are available on the Trenitalia website.