Gignod lies at an altitude of 988 metres on a plateau at the foot of Punta Chaligne in the Great Saint Bernard valley, about 8 kilometres from Aosta. Around the centre, several hamlets have been built, which blend into the harmony of the landscape.
The village is situated on the important Via Francigena, a recently renovated route dedicated to people who want to walk the ancient paths already followed by the Salassi and by the Romans, then by pilgrims who wanted to reach Rome in the Middle Ages.
Today Gignod has become a resort where its guests can find peacefulness in the harmony of the nature, which offers breathtaking views of the Valpelline mountains and the Swiss Grand Combin massif.
WHAT TO SEE
● MAIN - Maison de l'Artisanat International: inaugurated in 2016, this museum hosts temporary exhibitions dedicated to local and international crafts, located in the ancient fortified house Caravex.
● The Parish Church of Saint Hilary: particularly remarkable in the church, dating back to the 15th century, are the baroque main altar and the cycle of frescoes, maybe one of the highest expressions of painting of that period in the region.
● The medieval tower: Gignod played an important role in the past, since it was situated on the road to the Swiss Valais, as evidenced by this squat square tower dating back to the 11th-12th centuries.
NATURE AND SPORT
In summer Gignod offers sport lovers numerous activities, such as excursions of various difficulty levels to discover the local nature and, e.g., to reach the Chaligne Refuge. Mountain-bike lovers also find beautiful routes running along the woods surrounding the village and along the Ru Neuf, an ancient irrigation channel.
In winter and spring, ski mountaineering itineraries are possible, like the one to Punta Chaligne (2608 m), considered one of the classic destinations of this sport.
In Arsanières, a 9-hole golf course is set in a particularly scenic setting.
EVENTS AND TRADITIONS
● The Teteun festival: this gastronomic event takes place in August and is dedicated to the teteun, a curious speciality of the region, flavoured and seasoned local cow udders, and to other local dishes.
● The Coumba Freida Historic Carnival: according to tradition, this festivity was established in commemoration of the march through the Great Saint Bernard Pass by Napoleon and his troops in May 1800, during his campaign in Italy. The landzette, the curious masks of this carnival, wear colorful costumes and are traditionally an allegorical transformation of the uniforms originally worn by the French soldiers.
● The procession to Punta Chaligne: this procession was born as a heartfelt thanks of the survivors of the 17th century plague and takes place every year on August 16th, the feast day dedicated to Saint Roch, invoked against the plague.
FOR THE LITTLE ONES
Located at a moderate altitude, Gignod is a good destination for family trips, away from the city chaos. The little guests can discover nature, through coniferous and broadleaf woods, and walk along the ancient irrigation channels, like the simple path that connects the villages of Gignod and Étroubles. Children can have fun in the equipped playground and, on rainy days, dive in the indoor swimming pool of Variney.
● Altitude: 988 m
● Inhabitants: 1750
● How to get there by public transport: Gignod is reachable by bus with the lines “Aosta - Bosses - Gran San Bernardo” or “Aosta - Excenex - Arpuilles - Gignod”. Timetables are available on the website of the Arriva company (Centro valle).