|Minimum Stay||4 - 7 nights|
This is a ground-floor flat with direct access to a small garden which overlooks the valley, but it is slightly smaller than Flat 5. There is a large kitchen/lounge/dining area with a sofabed, which has direct access to the garden from a full height glass door, which also means the lounge area benefits from excellent natural light. The lounge has a wood-burning stove in addition to the central heating.
There is a double bedroom with a double wardrobe, plus a smaller bedroom with two bunk beds.
The bathroom is spacious and luxurious, while the kitchen is very well equipped.
Terra Alpina is a 19th century farmhouse that was completely rebuilt in 2007-2008 and converted into six luxury apartments. The apartments are between 66 and 100 m2 each and all feature excellent bathrooms (many with en-suite) and kitchens. All apartments overlook the valley and have either a balcony or a small private garden, together with shared access to a communal garden of 1.5 acres. Even by the standards of the Alps, the views are spectacular. Terra Alpina is located above the village of Gignod, 15 minutes drive from the city of Aosta in the direction of Switzerland. In winter, it is convenient for the major ski resorts of Pila (20 minutes), Courmayeur and La Thuile (45 minutes) and Cervina, Monte Rosa and Verbier (all under one hour). In summer, it is surrounded by beautiful walking country (the major hiking route from western Italy to Switzerland passes 300 metres from Terra Alpina), it is two kilometres from a nine hole golf club and many other outdoor activities are close by.
Local attractions: Aosta is an extremely historic city, with more Roman remains than any city outside Rome itself, including much of its original city walls. Aosta has always been the principal gateway between Italy and France, so there are numerous beautiful castles, such as Forte di Bard.
In the city centre, the pedestrianised main street, has endless shops and cafes and also links many of the Roman ruins with the main square, Piazza Chanoux.
During the summer holidays, there are performances, sound and light exhibitions and concerts in the Roman ruins (five minutes walk from Piazza Chanoux). There are also concerts in the many castles in the Aosta Valley, and frequent festivals of local arts and crafts including some beautiful wood carvings.
There are also carnivals that go back hundreds of years, food and wine festivals which demonstrate the cuisine of the Aosta Valley and organised adventures, such as winter hiking (complete with snow shoes).
When we started the rebuild of Terra Alpina, our intention was to create interiors that would do justice to the outside of the building and the setting. We used local craftsmen who worked to an extremely high standard.
We wanted to provide accommodation that had all the benefits of a traditional chalet (wood burning stoves, great views, a warm atmosphere), but with a modern twist. The interiors are light and airy - we did not want the pine cladding and the dark woods of so many Alpine places.
We were also determined that each room should be a decent size. Anyone who has stayed in a purpose-built French ski resort will know what we mean. We could have squeezed in a lot more bedrooms, but we wanted apartments that we would be delighted to stay in.
Obviously, we love skiing in the winter, but it is also a fantastic location in the summer - something we had not originally anticipated. It is high enough to avoid the humidity of Milan or Turin, but still warm - on sunny days, the temperature is normally in the high twenties (or high seventies in old money). The mountains around are groaning with fruit trees: you can pick as many cherries as you can carry from the local paths, and there are plenty of strawberries, raspberries growing wild all around. We used to go hiking in Switzerland in the summer, but the Aosta Valley is every bit as beautiful and the paths are a lot quieter.
Gignod is 15 minutes from the city of Aosta. Aosta has more Roman ruins than any city in Europe outside Rome, and has been the gateway to the Alps for 2000 years. It is full of historic buildings as well as great shops and restaurants.
Gignod itself is on the main road to Switzerland, the St. Bernard Pass. Terra Alpina is surrounded by spectacular mountain peaks and has plenty of amenities for summer holidays. There is great walking, mountain biking, a local golf course plus white water rafting close to Aosta.
In winter, the closest major ski resort is Pila, 20 minutes away, but there are five other international resorts within one hour, from Verbier to Courmayeur. There are also small local resorts such as Crevacol, within 20 minutes drive, that give you the chance to sample the charms of skiing way from the crowds. It is also possible to ski from Switzerland (Super St. Bernard) back into Italy - a spectacular and little-known run.