The town's name derives from the Latin word "betulla" (birch tree). One of the highest locations in the Valpelline region, situated at over 1600 meters above sea level, on the border with Switzerland. The municipal area is made up of several districts located at the foot of the glacier Tsa de Tsan, from which springs the creek Buthier. The town is surrounded by countless peaks of which some reach more than 4000 meters of height, and unspoiled nature with an extraordinarily rich flora and fauna, glaciers, forests, cliffs, lush meadows and features local traditional delicatessen and the possibility to practice alpine skiing, cross country, climbing, trekking and an equipped camping at Lake Lexert.
There is official data about the presence of settlements in the area of Bionaz until the Middle Ages: the town, in fact, was mentioned for the first time in a document dated 1227. The presence of some buildings is attributed to the XII and XIII century, when the Walser populations, originally from Germany, settled in the upper part of the valley. The town became a crucial trading center and was ruled by the Lords of Quart. In 1630 the inhabitants survived an outbreak of plague, thanks to its remote location and the garrison that guaranteed the control over the territory with only two accesses: Bouyoz and Chamen.
Not to miss:
The Parish Church of Santa Margherita, built in 1694 in the village of Plan de Veine, the result of the enlargement of a rural chapel dating back to 1617. Until 1934 the present churchyard was occupied by the cemetery. The building features a nave with vaulted ceilings and an imposing presbytery. Inside it preserves wonderful gilded wooden altars, of which the major one features a central section, that dates back to 1724 and the sides ones that date back to 1842. On the left hand side, there is an altar entitled to the Rosary, dating from the XVIII century, in Baroque style with a statue of the Madonna Child of the XVII century and features fifteen medallions containing the mysteries, accurately refined. On the right, there is the altar entitled to St. Bernard and St. John the Baptist sculpted in 1841 by Giacomo Molino. In the church there are various sacred objects on display, including a chasuble in the XVII century, a silver reliquary of the XV-XVI centuries and a copper cross-of the XVI century. On the front are depicted Santa Margherita, San Bernardo and San Grateful, paintings by the painter Ettore Mazzini who also frescoed the presbytery. The Bell Tower dates from the late XVII century and has undergone a renovation in 1964.
The Parish Museum.
The Chapel of Pouillaye dedicated to Our Lady del Carmine, was built in 1714.
The Chapel of La Servas in the district of Rey, is dedicated to Our Lady of the Snows. Built in 1710 and was rebuilt in 1958.
The Chapel of St. Grato in La Léchère built in 1674 and restored in 1962.
The Chapel of the Sacred Heart in Lo Noailloz.
The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene in Prarayer, founded before 1604, rebuilt in the XVIII century, today is in ruins.
The Chapel in Chentre dedicated to San Rocco, was built in 1641.
The Oratory of Chamen.
The Lake Lexert, with its emerald green waters, is visited every Summer by many tourists. It offers camping, restaurant, bar facilities and an area for campers.
The old Grenier (a stone and wooden deposit) of 1510 in the village of Perquis.
The Village of Ruz with its old buildings edified prior to the XVI century.
The Dam of Place Moulin, the highest in Europe, formed by a arc 650 meters long and 146 high.