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you are here: Home Valle d'Aosta Gran Paradiso Saint-Pierre

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Saint-Pierre

Description

Its name honors one of the town's patron saints, Saints Peter and Paul. A mountain village located a few kilometers from Aosta, whose municipality includes an endless series of districts, Saint Pierre is located on the border with Avis, Villeneuve, Sarre, Saint Nicolas, Gignod and Aymavilles, from which it is separated by the river Dora Baltea. Located in a strategic location, so important that two castles were built to protect this area. Besides the archaeological and historical traces found here, the center has several chapels, a superb Parish church, the Priory of Saint Jaqueme and a large amount of buildings, realized in a traditional architectural style.
The hill of Chateler features the evidence of a village dating back to 3000 B.C. In pre-Roman times, when the Val d'Aosta was inhabited by Salassi, the Route des Salasses was built and connected the centre to Gignod and to the upper valley. Strong warriors, the Salassi were defeated by the Romans, who left no signs of their presence in Saint Pierre. In the Middle Ages, instead, characterized by the dominance of the families of Sancto Petro and of Sarriod de la Tour, numerous buildings were erected, some of which are still present, like the two castles. The Sarriod de la Tour descended from Marc of Bard, who was proclaimed Lord of the lower area of the village by the Count of Savoy Aimone. The family of Sarriod split into two branches: Sarriod Introd and La Tour: the latter inherited the castle near Dora and ruled over Saint Pierre de la Tour, whilst the Sancto Pedro ruled the top of the village, Chatel Saint Pierre d'Argent. Later, the Count of Savoy Aimone assigned part of the territories to the family Gontard, which ended with no heirs in the late XV century. After the domination of the Sancto Pedro, succeeded by the Vuillet, the Roncas, the Biandrate, the Carpeneto and, finally, Emanuele Bollali, in the late XVIII century the two communities were united and became an independent municipality.

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The Castle of Saint Pierre is located on a cliff overlooking the village. In Roman times, it was a guard tower, whilst another two towers were built only after the building was enlarged and modified in the XVII century, when it became property of the family Roncas. The more fundamental changes to the facility were completed in the XIX century by Baron de Saint Pierre, who remodeled the castle, as we see it today, with four towers on top of a central bastion. Today it houses the Museum of Natural Science.
The Castle Sarriod de la Tour, the historic residence of the family, is located West of the village. It was originally composed by one tower, over the years it has been expanded several times until the XV century, when it acquired its current appearance. Inhabited until 1922, the building is in excellent condition and is surrounded by walls and features a chapel which contains paintings, dating back to 1470. The main hall features a coffered ceiling with 171 cassettoni of carved wood.
The Church of St. Peter's was built, in 1871, on the ruins of an existing building of which remain only part of the foundations under the existing pavement. This building, erected prior to the year 1000, over the centuries it has been altered several times. The church proposes a rectangular shape building with a single nave and features a series of artworks, like the decoration of the main altar, attributed to the Artari brothers. It also houses a beautiful canvas of Stornone, dating back to 1889, placed in a frame work of the sculptor Comoletti. The church retains an XVIII century carved pulpit in walnut of great historical and artistic importance, with its carved panels that depict the life of St. Peter, a copper cross of the XIV century, a silver plate cross of the XV century and a silver reliquary of the XVI century. The adjacent Bell tower dates from the XII century.
The Priory of Saint Jaqueme. The small church of Saint Jacques and adjoining building became, in 1145, on request of the bishop of Tarentaise, the hospice of the Piccolo San Bernardo, and the Prior, himself, often spent his Winter Seasons here. After many vicissitudes, including a fire in 1676 that nearly destroyed it completely, in 1752, the Priory of Saint Jacqueme was offered to the Mauritian order, that made it a residence of the diocesan missionary. Later it was converted into a nursing home and in 1960 the whole complex was renovated and enlarged. The octagonal church was rebuilt in the XVIII century and houses a superb black marble altar decorated with white marble ornaments.
The Museum of Natural Science, founded in 1905, but since 1977 it is housed in the castle of Saint Pierre.
The Chapel of Rumiod, which dates to the second half of the XVI century and was restored at the beginning of the XVIII. It features a carved and painted wood triptych of great value of the XVII century, a statue of the Madonna, dating from the XV century, and a richly decorated wooden altar of 1720.
The Chapel of Vetan, whose existence is attested before the XV century, was restored completely in the XVII century. It presents an elegant Bell tower and preserves statues of excellent workmanship and a fine wooden altar.

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