Among the castles of the Aosta Valley, the one in Fénis is certainly the most spectacular, and we decided to visit it during a long weekend in the region.
The guided tour inside the castle takes half an hour so it is an absolutely feasible destination even with children in tow.
The Castle of Fénis is one of the best-preserved medieval castles in Italy and, unlike other manors in Valle d’Aosta built on rocky promontories for warlike and defensive purposes, it is located in a spot absolutely devoid of natural defenses.
This leads one to think that its function was primarily as the administrative headquarters of the Challant-Fénis family-owners until 1716.
After that date, the manor was left to slow decay: the first floor rooms became stables and the second floor was used as a barn.
Fénis Castle was purchased in 1895 by Alfredo d’Andrade, who restored it and donated it to the state. Today the building is owned by the Aosta Valley region.
Fénis Castle with children: visit info. Tour route
Fénis Castle is a medieval castle characterized by a double crenellated wall and numerous towers.
The structure consists of a pentagonal-shaped central body and a quadrangular courtyard where a natural stone staircase develops. Behind the staircase, a fresco can be seen in which St. George is depicted in the act of slaying the dragon.
The manor is accessed by passing through a square tower that had a portcullis useful for barring the hallway in case of danger.
Although the interior is well preserved, the furnishings are not the original ones. However, several period pieces-such as tables, four-poster beds, trunks-can be seen made of wood, in typical Aosta Valley style.
On the first floor one can visit the rooms intended for servants and the army such as the parade hall, the refectory, the pantry, and the kitchen equipped with a huge fireplace in which even a whole bovine could be roasted! The hood is among the tallest in Europe (almost 18 meters).
We continue by going up to the second floor, where the family rooms are located: the domini room, the noble kitchen, the lords’ dining room, and the chapel.
At this point one descends to the inner courtyard via the grand staircase, from where one can admire the ornate wooden balconies.
Positioned on the eastern wall near the exit is a depiction of St. Christopher, protector of travelers.
Fénis Castle with children: visit info. How to get there and where to park
The Castle of Fénis is located about 15 kilometers from the center of Aosta, in Chez-Sapin.
By car, you have to exit at the Nus highway exit, turn left at the first traffic circle you come to, and in a very few minutes you will reach the Castle.
At the foot of the Castle there is a very small free parking lot that is always full in the summer months; the advice might be to park near the Hotel Comtes de Challant (about 600 meters from the Castle) where there is a public parking lot.
Tickets and opening hours
❖ Tickets for a visit to Fénis Castle
The ticket costs 9 euros and is free up to the age of 25. I recommend asking for the combined ticket with the interesting Museum of Valdostan Handicrafts, which is a few minutes’ walk from the Castle, which costs 2 euros instead of 8 euros this way.
The ticket for Fénis Castle can be purchased directly at the ticket office or on the official website with a pre-sale of €1.
The visit lasts half an hour and takes place exclusively with a guide. Be aware that you cannot enter with a stroller; at the entrance it is indicated where you can leave it.
❖ Opening hours of Fénis Castle
Visiting hours are as follows:
October-March: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. / 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
April-September: 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Closed Mondays except in July, August and holidays.
Closed on December 25 and January 1.
Fénis Castle with children: visit info. Sleeping near the Castle of Fénis
Hotel Comtes De Challant Albergo Etico Valle d’Aosta – It has spacious rooms and excellent breakfast and parking included; possibility of requesting a crib 0-2years old for free and dining at the restaurant with produce from their garden. By staying here, you will also help Hotel Comtes teach the profession to kids with disabilities who work alongside professionals in the kitchen and dining room (nonprofit). Book now.
Fénis Castle with children: visit info. What to do around Fénis Castle with children
❖ Pic nic “Tsanté de Bouva” Area – Fénis
It is a huge park with children’s games and tables with benches. There are utilities, a bar, and a fountain with drinking water. At the entrance is a large parking lot for a fee.
❖ Museum of Valdostan Craftsmanship MAV
This is a museum dedicated to the traditional craftsmanship of the Aosta Valley where, in addition to visiting, children can transform themselves into expert carpenters for a few hours. CONTINUE READING