The town is located near the Conca di Pila, one of the most important tourist ski resorts, surrounded by hills covered with apple trees and from majestic mountains and lakes of extraordinary beauty. It offers the possibility, in the cold season, to practice all Winter sports, whilst in the Summer trekking, horse riding and hiking are the best options.
The first inhabitants of Gressan were the ancient Salassi, a tribe who populated the Val d'Aosta in pre-Roman times. They were composed by the union of the tribes of local inhabitants and Celts, that arrived in the area between the VIII and V centuries B.C. from central Europe. The Romans arrived in the area in the first century and after defeating the Salassi and enslaved them, they confiscated and divided their lands. The centurions were named as the new owners and each settlement assumed the name of their owners, such as Fundus Grattiani, which over the times became Gressan. There are numerous Roman artefacts found in the area: such as the seven engraved tombstones bearing the names of noble Roman families, now in the Archaeological Museum of Aosta, and the Tower of Plantà, probably dating from the time of Augustus. In the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance, Gressan was the home of many noble families who have left the sign of their presence in many fine buildings that can still be visited today. In January 1789, together with the districts Jovençan and Aymavilles, Gressan bought its independence from the family Challant in exchange for the sum of 71,500 lire that were paid over twenty years.
Not to miss:
The Church of Gressan built in honor of St. Stephen, between 1869 and 1871, on the place where the castle of the noble De Graziano stood. Of the original building, only the base of the tower and a pit in the basement of the presbytery are still visible. Inside it preserves a fine baptistry in Gothic style and a carved door dating back to 1630.
The Church of the Madeleine, built in the XII century in Romanesque style, features a façade entirely covered with frescoes of the second half of the XV century.
The Chevrot's chapel dedicated to St. John, was built in the XII century.
The fortified house of the noble De Balnea built in the X century in La Bagne. This building is supposed to be the birth place St. Anselm of Aosta and later the home of his family. Today there is only one tower and the remains of the walls of the courtyard and a portal.
The fortified house of Lords La Cour built in the XIII century.
The remains of the fortified house of the Noble Du Ru of the XIV century. Today of the original building remain only the foundations and cellars.
The Castle of the Lords of La Tour de Villa. The original structure was not preserved by the work of restoration, so today, the complex is composed of a XII century tower and a semi-circular structure dating from the XV century. Of the Northern and Western parts, not rebuilt, there are only the remains of a room and a large courtyard, from where it is possible to admire the plain.
The Tower of Plantà, built on a promontory, it was inhabited by the noble Family De La Plante between the XIV and the XV centuries. The structure, square and imposing, recalls the walls of Aosta, whilst traces of the Roman times allow to formulate the hypothesis that it was erected on the ruins of a Roman building of the first century B.C.