Il Paese, le Pays, the Village, el Pais

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Etroubles - (AostaValley) - 1280m - 500 inhabitants
16 kms from Aosta and from the Swiss Valais - 5 kms from the entrance of the tunnel.


The village of Etroubles lies in the middle of the Great St.Bernard Valley. Since ancient times it has been a small capital,  a strategic defence point and the centre of facilities.It is mentioned in the Roman documents of the imperial age with the name of Restopolis and was probably the winter headquarters of the garrison of the pass. The name of Etroubles comes from the latin Stipulae (stubbles).

In the hamlet of Vachéry the tower with the square basement was built in the XII Century on a Roman foundation. Of the medieval church in the village only the Romanic bell tower remains  (XV Century) as well as a pilgrim hospice,  founded in 1317 and open to the public up to the last century.An important historical event was the passage of Napoleon and his army in May 1800. Etroubles is on the via Francigena,  the road that led to Rome in the Middle Ages. From the British Isles it crossed Central Europe over the Great St.Bernard Pass and Valley. Etroubles is the seat of two museums: the diary and the Bertin hydro-electric power plant.On July 24th was founded in Etroubles the first social dairy in Aosta Valley. The farmers of the distict brought milk here to make “fontina”, the typical cheese of the Valley.Inside the old premises there is a museum which shows the different monuments of cheese, butter and ceras production with original tools of old times. The Bertin hydro-electric power plant, built by Mrs Josephine Bertin, brought electricity to Gran San Bernardo valley in 1904.The Museum belongs to the town council now.It collects documents, objects and machinery recovered during the repairs of the building. It is quite interesting and pleasant to stroll about the cobbled lanes of the village,  the local houses newly renovated in the local stone with slated roofs, the fountains and troughs pouring cool water, the bell tower striking the hours,  the XIX Century church with frescoes and paintings. You will be emotionally involved in a magical atmosphere.

The borough is a permanent open air museum with nineteen works of contemporary art bearing the title “ A’ Etroubles avant toi sont passes…”The French artists are: Albert Féraud, Guido Magnone, Evéline Otis Bacchi and Norberto Verzotti.The swiss artists are: Hans Erni, Yves Dana and Michel Favre. The italians are: Salvatore Sebaste, Sergio Zanni, Alberto Gambale, Carlo Brenna, Italo Bolano and Andrea Granchi. From Azerbaidjan the artist Assaf Mekhtiev.Artists from Aosta Valley : Giulio Schiavon, Siro Vierin, Chicco Margaroli, Franco Balan and from Etroubles the artist Enrichetta Jorrioz You can find typical bars and restaurants in the main street,  along the state road and in the hamlets.Friendly people and home cooking will welcome you.

Etroubles is surrounded by an amphitheatre of magnificent mountains:Mont Vélan (3734 m.),  La Tête de Barasson (2963 m.),  Mont Chenaille (3144m),  La Salliaousa (3322 m.),  La Tête de Faudery (3299 m.) and Mont Fallère (3090 m).You can easily reach, on foot or by car, the hamlets of Eternon (1645 m.),  Bezet (1629 m.),  Prailles (1555 m.),  Veyaz (1550 m),  Pallais (1482 m.) and Cerisey (1337 m.), Collère (14  m.), Vachéry (13  m.), Echevennoz (12 m.), Lavanche (1 m.) and Chez-les-Blanc (1200 m.) from where you can enjoy imposing views of the mountains,  woodland areas with a variety of flora and wildlife,  streams and lakes. The many tracks spread across the valley offer a lot of walks and excursions suitable to any skill level.As the climatic condition are good (dry and sunny),  with a really low degree of humidity,  Etroubles and its surroundings are an ideal place to spend relaxing days in summer and in winter as well.

Festivals and traditions: VELLÀ (evening gathering)  of  ETROUBLES.
It was first organized in 1984 by the Pro Loco of Etroubles. It takes place in summer  (in July or in August in turn). It is an exhibition of the ancient trades.In the evening the inhabitants of Etroubles recall the past.In the main street in the village and in the side lanes the old trades live again.They are connected with:-agriculture(the cheese maker,  the making of fontina,  a local cheese,  sheep breeding,  wool manufacturing);-handicraft (wrought iron,  the sawyers,  the dress-makers,  the making of ”Landzette”,  carnival costumes);-social life (the washerwomen and their laundry at the fountain,  the morra players,  the smugglers,  the chimney-sweepers,  the school mistress and her pupils).   Along the street there are lots of refreshments spots with many specialities: mixed grill with vegetables,  vegetables soup,  cream with strawberries and bugie (fried buns),  bread with wine and sugar,  that is the seuppa freida,  coffee,  wines from Aosta Valley. Moreover traditional live music and a parade of traditional carnival masks.

THE NIGHT OF THE SHEPHERDS (Dec.24th): Virgin Mary,  little Jesus,  St.Joseph,  the animals and the people are living creatures from Etroubles.The holy performance,  organized by the Library and by Pro Loco in the main street,  ends with the midnight Mass.

CARNIVAL: Carnival is celebrated in all the villages and hamlets of the valley with a parade of colourful costumes, ”Landzette”.They are similar to the uniforms worn by Napoleon’s soldiers.On the last Thursday and on the last Friday before Lent, they cheer the cold winter days with songs and dances,  waiting for spring.

BATAILLE DE REINES: The fight of the queens (cow fight)
It is linked to cattle-breeding. Every two years Etroubles houses an important fight that attracts a lot of  cattle breeders,  people from Aosta Valley and from other villages in the Alps.The cows of black and brown spotted breed fight with their horns to compete for the title of”Queen”. The show is not bloody. In fact the farmers use the natural fighting spirit of cows that leads to the hierarchies of the herd.

A TRADITIONAL SPORT: FIOLET
The game of fiolet is a typical sport in Aosta Valley.It is deeply rooted in our tradition. It consists in lifting the fiolet (a small oval ball,  made of wood,  plastic or aluminium)into the air with a blow of the eima (a wooden club) and in throwing it as far as possible.Every match takes place in a lawn,   where two teams,   that is five players and some reserves each,   compete,  blow after blow,   until one of them….makes the best score. DARK BROWN BREAD:Kneading and baking bread is one of the most important meetings for the whole community. ”Pan ner”means rye and wheat bread which was the main food of the family. This bread keeps a long time on the rateli (bread rack). Bread is baked in a wood burning oven of the community only once a year,  in November,  and it is kept dry.

RELIGIOUS FESTIVALS: Etroubles     August 15th;-Vachéry     Friday before Palm Sunday-Eternon     June 13th-Echevennoz     August 22nd-Bezet     September 15th-St -Roch     August 16th

FACILITIES: town hall,tourist office, library, post-office, chemist’s shop, police station, forester station, bank, supermarket, surgery, first aid voluntary service, pro-loco, hotels, restaurants, bars, youth hostel,  farm, camping ground, tennis grounds,  football ground, basket ground, gym,  recreation areas   Etroubles is the starting point of the cross country ski run(18 kms)going up towards Flassin,  where you can find ski-school,  ski hire,  showers and a cafeteria with a reastaurant,  near open spaces and forests of  fir trees and larches.International ski run Menouve, 10 kms  off track skiing. Ski touring excursions with snow shoes (Prailles)

PUBLIC LIBRARY: 1,  rue Mont Vélan11014 Etroubles (Ao) phone./fax 0165-78308
E-MAIL:
biblioteca@comune.etroubles.ao.it www.members.tripod/etroubles.it
Open from Tuesday to Saturday - 14:00/17:00   
free lending for adults and children   multimedia   internet
The readers can use the regional interlibrary lending.



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