1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Aosta

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AOSTA (anc. Augusta Praetoria Salassorum), a town and episcopal see of Piedmont, Italy, in the province of Turin, 80 m. N.N.W. by rail of the town of Turin, and 48 m. direct, situated 1910 ft. above sea-level, at the confluence of the Buthier and the Dora Baltea, and at the junction of the Great and Little St Bernard routes. Pop. (1901) 7875. The cathedral, reconstructed in the 11th century (to which one of its campanili and some architectural details belong), was much altered in the 14th and 17th; it has a rich treasury including an ivory diptych of 406 with a representation of Honorius. The church of St Ours, founded in 425, and rebuilt in the 12th century, has good cloisters (1133); the 15th-century priory is picturesque. The castle of Bramafam (11th century) is interesting. Cretinism is common in the district.

After the fall of the Roman empire the valley of Aosta fell into the hands of the Burgundian kings; and after many changes of masters, it came under the rule of Count Humbert I. of Savoy (Biancamano) in 1032. The privilege of holding the assembly of the states-general was granted to the inhabitants in 1189. An executive council was nominated from this body in 1536, and continued to exist until 1802. After the restoration of the rule of Savoy it was reconstituted and formally recognized by Charles Albert, king of Sardinia, at the birth of his grandson Prince Amedeo, who was created duke of Aosta. Aosta was the birthplace of Anselm. For ancient remains see Augusta Praetoria Salassorum.