Paola and Nica are the spiritual and also very physical power behind hotel La Torretta in the Aosta Valley, and a lot more. They have restored Paola’s family possession into a beautiful house for resting your mind and your body, and they have funded a local organisation of hotel owners in the Aosta Valley, where the focus is on ”Slow”. Or as they declare in their programme: ” the most important thing is to stop in order to know places, spaces, silences, perfume, colours…” http://www.slowholiday.it/index.php/filosofia-eng.html
Except for the name of the club, ”Slow Holiday”, the ladies are really sparkling, and filled of energy and fresh enthusiasm. Probably a consequence of the application of this philosophy.
This is again coherent with some of the ideas behind the ”genuine tourism” that I am working for today. Thus La Torretta http://www.latorrettahotel.com/ is the hotel where I invite my guests during this October tour.
It is a place as I mean with a soul, where the same family has been living for more than a century and therefor left their footprints everywhere. The house was an inn already for hundred years ago, and people from the high valley of Ayas (Champoluc) were passing here with their whares (cheese, handicrafts, animals) going to the marketplace in the valley, once per season. Not even to tell that they often stopped for more than one night, after the market, when they had some coins more in their pockets.
Paola and Nica have used old things, sometimes as old as from the 17th Century, to restore the house: a door from a stable, a sledge, a 10 meters long pole for the ceiling.
In the past the nearby village was so important that it was given the name of the most powerful family in Aosta Valley, the Challand family. Today it is still a passing point, but we move fast in our modern lives, and we do not think we have time to loose stopping by.
Citizens as I am, from Milan and Turin, stress away from city life as fast as possible, given the cues on the motorway of people from other cities going to spend their week end in the mountains. We come to our holiday loft, which possibly lies directly on the ski slope, to avoid missing one pist, especially when the cues are so long to buy the ski pass and so slow at the lift station.
The only positive result I can see is that we can externalize our frustration on the ”criminal” standing on our skis instead of getting mad at our family members. But this is true if we are frustrated. And how could we not, when everything has to go so fast that we’re not able to hang on?
The Swedish group I brought to La Torretta in October was anyway not frustrated after 2 nights spent in this place off the more obvious touristic route, not even when they could not see the mountains they had come to this place to see, because of the thick fog of these fall days.
We had also the chanse to visit a marketplace: the ”Marché aoux Fort” in the castle of Bard.
Ok, this is only a touristic attraction nowadays, but in fact all the main villages in Aosta Valley have their ”real” market each week. It is a tradition that does not disappear.