The origin of the place name is unclear: it could derive from the Latin word "aquatica" or from the dialect word "gias" (resting place for the flocks). A Winter sports resort in the Valley of Evançon located in a valley at the foot of Monte Rosa, Ayas is composed of approx. 35 settlements, including some really famous ones such as: Antagnod, Saint Jacques, Crest, Frachey and Champoluc. In the recent decades, the tourism has developed considerably and radically changing the look of the valley, which is now known not only for the great natural wealth but also for the vast skiing area. The modern and functional Monterosa Ski plant links the Val d'Ayas to Valle Gressoney through Col Bettaforca. The whole area offers excellent tourism facilities and infrastructures. Ayas proposes itself as the best location for a holiday in all Seasons: besides skiing and skating, the area offers great possibilities for skydiving and paragliding.
The area was part of the Kingdom of the Burgundians and in 515 it was donated to the monks of the Abbey of Saint Maurice d'Agaune and belonged to the fief of Graines. Later when the populations of Saint Jacques from Switzerland immigrated into the area, they gave the area the name, still current, of Canton des Allemands: In the XIII century it became the feud of Challant, the most illustrious noble family from Val d'Aosta.
Not to miss:
The Church of St. Martin Antagnod, which village was built on an existing building of which traces remain in the bottom of the presbytery and of the perimeter walls, as well as an image on a canvas of the XVII century, preserved in the back of the church. The choir area has submitted several reconstructions. The current building has a rectangular plan and three naves separated by columns of green stone. It has a carved wood Baroque high altar of the XVIII century, painted and embellished with statues, some of which date back to the XV. Inside the building features other altars such as: those dedicated to St. Anselm, St. Joseph, St. Anthony and the Rosario, that date back to the XIX century, the altar of the Virgin and that of SS. Trinity to the XVII century: Of the same period is the painting of the Trinity and the Holy Family of the artist Curtaz. The portal, built in 1839 is in walnut wood, whilst the windows are of the XX century. The building also features a wonderful Bell Tower, dating from the XV century, which was elevated and had the top changed in the mid-XIX century.
The Parish Museum of the XV century chapel in the cemetery preserves precious items, including chalices, crosses, reliquaries and two branches, that belonged to a triptych, painted in the XVII century.
The Parish church of St. Anne in the village of Champoluc.
The Chapel in Lignod, with its ancient foundations, the building contains a fresco on the façade of the painter Curtaz dating back to 1875 and a Bell Tower of 1497.
The Chapel in Pilaz, founded in 1746 and dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel.
The Chapel in Magnechoulaz, built in 1685 and entitled to Santa Barbara.
The Chapel in Periasc, built in 1860 to replace an older building, is dedicated to St. Peter and St. Defendente.
The Chapel entitled to Our Lady of the Snows in Bisous, which was built in 1830 to replace an earlier building.
The Chapel of the Olive, built in 1862 also to replace an existing chapel.
The Chapel in Pracharbon of 1736.
The Sanctuary in Barmasc, built at more than 1800 meters above sea level and founded in 1744, represents a privileged spot to enjoy the view of Monte Rosa and the whole valley of Ayas.
The fortified house of the Challant Family