The town's name probably derives from the Latin name of person, Gennius, plus the suffix "or" which indicates possession. A mountain village in the province of Aosta, which includes under its jurisdiction as many as 50 villages scattered around the major districts of the old town (Buthier, Planet and Variney). Gignod is located along the route of the Via Francigena, the entrance of Valle del Gran San Bernardo.
The area was already occupied in pre-Roman times, as confirmed by the discovery of debris in Chatelle, a bracelet and a stone tomb near La Condeminaz. The Roman presence is confirmed, however, by the discovery of a brick oven, of some imperial coins dating to the III century A.D. and a tomb in Roinçod. During the Middle Ages, the town was ruled by several noble families, such as: the De Aviso that towards the end of the XI century, ceded their rights to the De Gignio Family. They owned a castle, already there in 1228, whose stones were used, in later ages,to build the church. The other families, that ruled over Gignod were the Archiery, the Dossan and the De La Porte, until 1252, when the Savoy family expropriated the feud and ceded it to the Lord of Quart. The Family of Quart remained without any heirs and so, in 1378, losing therefore the jurisdiction, the fief returned to the Savoy, that ruled here directly until 1584. Subsequently, when the Barony of Gignod was formed, with a territory that stretched as far as Saint Etienne and Saint Martin de Corleans comprising two districts of Aosta and Etroubles, Saint Oyen, and part of Saint Rhémy Allein, the town and its districts were ceded to Jean de la Crete and through the latter to the Marquis Pallavicini.
Not to miss:
The Tower of Gignod, located at South of the main centre and has a square plan, built between the XII and the XIII centuries.
The Casa Forte (stronghold), in existence since 1409, is situated in a small valley, South of the tower, which was the property of Archiery family who exercised their rule over the fief with the De Gignio Family. The building assumed its present appearance with its decorated stained-glass windows, at the end of the XVI century, when it was owned by the D'Aviso.
The Parish Church of St. Ilario, which dates back to the XV century, submitted major refurbishments around the XIX century and was also restored in the XX century. The outside features apparent simplicity, the linearity of the façade is broken only by three openings in the three aisles divided by pillars that support pointed arches. Inside it preserves some frescoes of the late XV century and a Baroque altar of carved wood, painted with colour and gold, erected between the XVII and XVIII centuries, on a previously built stone altar. It also features a series of stained-glass windows (XVI century), originally located in the central rosette of the facade, a chandelier of Murano glass of the XIX century, the statues of St. Leonard, St. Anthony and St. Ilario of the XVII century. The massive Bell tower, over 37 meters high, in stone, dating from the XV is incorporated into the structure of the church, adorned with a single row of mullioned windows and surmounted by a spire in the shape of a truncated cone.
The small Parish Museum, located on the right of the main altar inside the church of St. Ilario, gathers works from the church and surrounding villages, including a statue and a bust of the XV century, a Madonna and Child of the same period, a polychrome statue depicting the Virgin of the XIV century, a silver reliquary of the XVIII century and processional Crosses of the XV century.
The Chapel dedicated to Saints Rocco and Margherita in Buthier built in 1625 and restored between the XIX and XX centuries.
The Chapei in Variney, entitled to the St. Shroud, built in the XVII century on request of the noble Family Dossan and rebuilt several times, most recently in 1860.
The Chapel in Seycinod, dedicated to Lady of Mercy, was built in 1678. This is a privately owned building, used for public use, founded by Pierre Passerini.
The Chapel in Planet, dedicated to the Visitation, was erected in 1666 and rebuilt in 1844. At the same time the bell tower in stone with mullioned windows was erected.
The Chapel of Notre Dame de la Protection at Chez-Henry built in 1739.
The hospice of La Clusaz, built between Gignod and Etroubles. Already mentioned in 1234, is today a prestigious hotel.