between history and spirituality

Montains of the Soul

And tomorrow, even higher! Pope John Paul II ended his day with these words, lifting his walking staff high above his head, after hiking in the mountains of Introd. The solemn magnificence of the Mont Blanc, the frozen cloak of the Rutor and the Monte Rosa Massif trace a landscape which celebrates the convergence of heaven and earth, the human world and the absolute. Here, the Pope rediscovered himself as a normal man and shared moments of conviviality with the mountain people who prepared bread and sweet bakery products for him. The mountains of Introd are renowned as the mountains of the Popes because Benedict XVI also came here to rest. His stay was characterised by less walks and numerous moments of contemplation and prayer, not to mention writing, piano playing and joyful encounters with the children of Introd.

Maison Musée Jean-Paul II

Maison Musée Jean-Paul II is a small evocative museum containing objects which once belonged to the Pontiff, along with documents which tell the story of his life and his pontificate.

Saint-Laurent Chapel

A short distance from here we come to the chapel dedicated to Saint Laurence, already present in the 15th century, although in its current version it dates back to 1780. In 2016 it became a sanctuary dedicated to Saint John Paul II, where a lock of the Holy Father's hair is conserved as a relic.

Croix de Bouque

Embrace the spirit of this land by walk- ing along the path of the Popes, leading to Croix de Bouque (Creu di Bouque), a votive wooden cross looking down over the immense Aosta Valley from a rock spur at an altitude of 1726 metres: a mesmerising place, where Popes have stopped to behold profound silence and moments of meditation.

Discovering Introd

In order to reach Plan d'Introd you must cross Ponte Nuovo (pon noù), an impressive, narrow canyon, almost 90 metres in depth, carved out by the impetuous waters of the Dora di Rhêmes. Until then the only way through was the pon vioù (the old bridge), built in 1828 and slightly up- stream. The castle, with its stone walkway offers 360-degree views of a landscape so silent you can hear the sound of rocks and glaciers reaching out to the heavens, from the Blanc Massif to the Grand Combin and Mount Emilius towering over Aosta. It is unique and different from all other castles in the valley, carved into a singular shape during the 15th century.

A short distance from the castle you'll find the Church dedicated to the conversion of Saint Paul, modified several times over the course of history. Its gothic altar was consecrated in 1441, only to be replaced by the baroque main altar in 1686.

The slender bell tower delves even deeper into the sky than the castle; it is the distinctive element of the Introd skyline and is easily recognisable even at the bottom of the valley.

L' Ola is a prestigious 16th century artefact. In the past, the farmstead was used to house livestock, as a hay barn and stables. This impressive rural structure, almost entirely made from wood, is supported by five remarkable masonry columns. L'Ôla is important because it was a model which inspired rural architecture in this area of the Aosta Valley.

Maison Bruil, a splendid example of rural architecture, containing nothing other than what is strictly necessary for the survival of people and animals under one roof. Above all, it recounts the eating habits which made the most of products of the land, inspired by a wisdom imposed by a subsistence-based economy. Memory (the conservation of memory...remembering to conserve) is the intangible heritage, the very soul of Maison Bruil, which hosts the Atelier du Goût, a concrete expression of local products and producers.

The ancient consortium dairies of Plan d'Introd and Les Villes-Dessus were used by members until the 70s and 80s who would personally see to the production of butter and cheese in the absence of dairymen

The cellar and tasting hall of Lo Triolet are places of meditation and worship of the senses. Nature reigns supreme around the castle and the hamlets scattered around Introd. The Orrido evokes childhood fears but the Parc Animalier awakens childhood sen- sations of wonder. Here, visitors can get to know animals, plants and flowers which characterise the natural habitat of these mountains and its diverse eco- systems.

The Castle and the Lady of Introd

Introd Castle

The castle, with its stone walkway offers 360-degree views of a landscape so silent you can hear the sound of rocks and glaciers reaching out to the heavens, from the Blanc Massif to the Grand Combin and Mount Emilius towering over Aosta. It is unique and different from all other castles in the valley, carved into a singular shape during the 15th century.

Today, the castle is a mighty exposed stone structure which embraces the tower, its only original part and dating back to the 12th century. Climbing to the top of the tower is a must during your visit, where you can admire breathtaking views of the Mont Blanc and Aosta Valley.

The Lady of Introd

Introd is an ancient place. Here, the presence of mankind is steeped in time immemorial. The Woman of Introd is a human presence that is much more ancient than the castle; her remains were discovered in 2011 during works for the expansion of the local nursery school. The Woman of Introd’s skeleton dates back to the 3rd millennium BC and according to archaeologists she roamed the earth the same time as Ötzi, the Similaun man discovered on the border of Italy and the Austrian Tyrol.


Unmissable Events

During the month of August, Introd Castle hosts the Spazi d'Ascolto festival, dedicated to the culture of dialogue through art, philosophy, music and cinema. Workshops are open to the public and three deeply engaging evenings are animated by shows along with moments of pro- found and pleasant sharing. During the month of October, the Nuit des Tempsis a journey back in time which transforms Introd and its inhabitants into an ancient place; magical doors open out onto the year 1450, where you can mingle with time travellers, illuminat- ed by lanterns. The Gran Paradiso Film Festivalis a fascinating event which celebrates extraordinary images, nourishes cultural debate and analysis. Since 1984 it has been held in the heart of the National Park, promoting concepts like biodiversity and natural tourism vocation. The Fiha di pan niais a traditional black bread festival which takes place in August in the village of Norat, where rye bread is baked at the municipal bakery, culminating in dinner served in the castle park.

Useful Information

Municipality of Introd

Fondation Grand Paradis

Everything about all 3 valleys of Aosta Valley: information, news, events and services for travellers.

Centro Visitatori Parco Nazionale Gran Paradiso

Gran Paradiso National Park Visitor Centre – Interactive workshops, sensory and multimedia facilities; water, the forest, pastures, wildlife and mankind are all topics of reference; virtual aerial tour of the Alps.

Sociteà Guide Alpine del Gran Paradiso

Gran Paradiso National Park

The official website of the Gran Paradiso National Park, with full information on the park, itineraries, activities and events.

The official Aosta Valley tourism website, with full practical information for travellers.

Routes des Vins Vallée d'Aoste

The Aosta Valley Wine Trail proposes 5 itineraries, accompanying travellers on their journey of discovery of this mountain land’s richness and its heroic wine growers.

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