The municipality of Gressan (600 m above sea level) is located a few kilometers from Aosta and is best known because it is home to one of the region’s most important ski and bike parks, in its hamlet of Pila.
Actually, Gressan also deserves a mention for its excellent apple production, from which an excellent juice is made, and as a place of art, evidenced by its towers and religious buildings.
We really enjoyed devoting a half day going to discover scenic trails from which there are exceptional views of the orchards and vineyards of the valley.
Walk through the vineyards between Gressan and Jovençan
Departure: Frazione Moline (671 m)
Finish: Frazione Pompiod (632 m)
Difference in level: 150 m
Lenght: 3000 m
Duration gone: 1h00
Marker: 3 – Cammino Balteo
We liked this easy walk among the vineyards in the Gressan and Jovençan area because it was extremely scenic. It does not offer much shelter from the summer heat so little ones will need a protective hat and then sunscreen and plenty of water.
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From the hamlet of Gressan you need to follow the sign for Moline. You leave the car near Maison Gargantua and follow the uphill road that passes behind the Maison. You pass the chapel of Moline and enter the path that begins with a beautiful donkey-backed stone bridge. Follow trail marker 3, which is the route of the Cammino Balteo in the direction of Aymavilles.
The trail offers exceptional views of the orchards and vineyards of the valley bottom, and of the castles (Tour de Villa, Royal Castle of Sarre, Castle of Saint-Pierre) and Romanesque bell towers (Magdeleine Church and Churches of Sarre).
At one point the dirt road ends in the paved SR 40 road, which you have to cross near a sharp bend (be careful because cars coming up see you at the last); then the path becomes dirt again, narrows and climbs slightly. You come to a sign indicating ru d’Arberioz and take the downhill farm road that reaches the village of Pompiod.
From here you can return toward Gressan by bus or retrace the same trail back. You can combine this beautiful hike with a visit to the ethnographic museum “Maison Gargantua.”
Gressan: wonderful hike in the orchards. Maison Gargantua
The Maison Gargantua museum is located close to the Côte de Gargantua regional nature reserve, which is a treasure trove of animals and plants typical of an arid environment therefore particular to the Aosta Valley.
The Maison Gargantua is an ethnographic museum, exhibition space, teaching room, and sculpture workshop, and its visit can be made through two routes, one inside which allows visitors to discover the naturalistic aspects of the nature reserve and the peasant life of the Gressan community in the past through photos, objects and furnishings of the time; the other route, outside it, which allows visitors to discover the paths of the Côte and the surrounding area, through a 5-km and a 10-km route.
Admission: free of charge.
Opening hours: Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon (guided tours from 10:30 a.m. to noon by appointment).
Address: Maison Gargantua Frazione Moline, 3 11020 GRESSAN (AO).
For the little ones
If you want to let your children let off steam without straying too far, again in Gressan you will find a large green area with a nice children’s playground, a roller-skating track, a 1-km bike path, two drinking fountains and bar-restaurants, one of which has a small outdoor pool.
Where to sleep in Gressan
❒ Chambres d’hôtes La Moraine Enchantée – Frazione Clapey 1 Gressan.
Very quaint hotel with rustic furnished rooms equipped with air conditioning. Excellent breakfast and addition of crib (on request) included in the price. You can book the king room equipped with whirlpool bath consisting of a double bed and single bed or you can book two connecting rooms. Free cancellation. Book here.
❒ Maison Perriail – Fraz. perriail 9, 11020 Gressan.
Fully equipped apartment consisting of one double bedroom and sofa bed. Free cancellation, crib (on request) and private garden. Book here.
❒ Maison De José – La Roche 6A, 11020 Aosta.
Very nice apartment with two bedrooms and private garden with apple trees. The owner makes apple juice and gladly gives a bottle to her guests. Free crib (on request), unfortunately does not have free cancellation. Book here.
Gressan: wonderful hike in the orchards. “Fita di pomme”
On the first Sunday in October, the so-called “Fita di Pomme” or Apple Festival is celebrated. The event includes markets of autumn fruits and crafts, typical products, old crafts, chestnuts, sweets and various entertainment activities.
For all information check out the events at www.prolocogressan.it.
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