Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a unitary parliamentary republic in Europe. Located in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Austria, San Marino, Italy covers an area of 301,338 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate and Mediterranean climate. Due to its shape, it is referred to in Italy as lo Stivale. With 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth most populous EU member state, the Italic tribe known as the Latins formed the Roman Kingdom, which eventually became a republic that conquered and assimilated other nearby civilisations. The legacy of the Roman Empire is widespread and can be observed in the distribution of civilian law, republican governments, Christianity. The Renaissance began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe, bringing a renewed interest in humanism, exploration, Italian culture flourished at this time, producing famous scholars and polymaths such as Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo and Machiavelli. The weakened sovereigns soon fell victim to conquest by European powers such as France and Austria.
Despite being one of the victors in World War I, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil. The subsequent participation in World War II on the Axis side ended in defeat, economic destruction. Today, Italy has the third largest economy in the Eurozone and it has a very high level of human development and is ranked sixth in the world for life expectancy. The country plays a prominent role in regional and global economic, military and diplomatic affairs, as a reflection of its cultural wealth, Italy is home to 51 World Heritage Sites, the most in the world, and is the fifth most visited country. The assumptions on the etymology of the name Italia are very numerous, according to one of the more common explanations, the term Italia, from Latin, was borrowed through Greek from the Oscan Víteliú, meaning land of young cattle. The bull was a symbol of the southern Italic tribes and was often depicted goring the Roman wolf as a defiant symbol of free Italy during the Social War. Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus states this account together with the legend that Italy was named after Italus, mentioned by Aristotle and Thucydides.
The name Italia originally applied only to a part of what is now Southern Italy – according to Antiochus of Syracuse, but by his time Oenotria and Italy had become synonymous, and the name applied to most of Lucania as well. The Greeks gradually came to apply the name Italia to a larger region, excavations throughout Italy revealed a Neanderthal presence dating back to the Palaeolithic period, some 200,000 years ago, modern Humans arrived about 40,000 years ago. Other ancient Italian peoples of undetermined language families but of possible origins include the Rhaetian people and Cammuni. Also the Phoenicians established colonies on the coasts of Sardinia and Sicily, the Roman legacy has deeply influenced the Western civilisation, shaping most of the modern world
Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a federal republic in Europe. It consists of 26 cantons, and the city of Bern is the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in western-Central Europe, and is bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland is a country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning an area of 41,285 km2. The establishment of the Old Swiss Confederacy dates to the medieval period, resulting from a series of military successes against Austria. Swiss independence from the Holy Roman Empire was formally recognized in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. The country has a history of armed neutrality going back to the Reformation, it has not been in a state of war internationally since 1815, nevertheless, it pursues an active foreign policy and is frequently involved in peace-building processes around the world. In addition to being the birthplace of the Red Cross, Switzerland is home to international organisations.
On the European level, it is a member of the European Free Trade Association. However, it participates in the Schengen Area and the European Single Market through bilateral treaties, spanning the intersection of Germanic and Romance Europe, Switzerland comprises four main linguistic and cultural regions, French and Romansh. Due to its diversity, Switzerland is known by a variety of native names, Suisse, Svizzera. On coins and stamps, Latin is used instead of the four living languages, Switzerland is one of the most developed countries in the world, with the highest nominal wealth per adult and the eighth-highest per capita gross domestic product according to the IMF. Zürich and Geneva have each been ranked among the top cities in the world in terms of quality of life, with the former ranked second globally, according to Mercer. The English name Switzerland is a compound containing Switzer, a term for the Swiss. The English adjective Swiss is a loan from French Suisse, in use since the 16th century.
The name Switzer is from the Alemannic Schwiizer, in origin an inhabitant of Schwyz and its associated territory, the Swiss began to adopt the name for themselves after the Swabian War of 1499, used alongside the term for Confederates, used since the 14th century. The data code for Switzerland, CH, is derived from Latin Confoederatio Helvetica. The toponym Schwyz itself was first attested in 972, as Old High German Suittes, ultimately related to swedan ‘to burn’
Bionaz is a comune sparso which extends over 143 square kilometres of the North-Eastern Valpelline area of the Aosta Valley region of northwest Italy. The commune lies on the side of the river Dora Baltea. The population of about 240 is dispersed among 20 or more small villages and hamlets including Plan-de-Veyne, which is the main centre. The commune belongs to the Unité des communes valdôtaines du Grand-Combin, thumb|left|200px|Road sign at Plan de Veyne. The commune’s statute designates the following localities, in addition to the capoluogo of Bionaz itself, Regione Autonoma Valle d’Aosta, Bollettino Ufficiale della Regione Autonoma Valle d’Aosta Bionaz at DMOZ
Dora Baltea or Doire Baltée, is a river in northern Italy. It is a tributary of the Po River and is about 170 kilometres long. It originates by Mont Blanc as the confluence of the Dora di Ferret, fed by the Pré de Bar Glacier in Val Ferret, and the Dora di Veny, fed by the Miage Glacier in Val Veny. As it crosses the Aosta Valley, the Dora Baltea flows through the city of Aosta and near all the cities of the lower Aosta Valley, Châtillon, Saint-Vincent, Verrès. It is a place for whitewater rafting and kayaking. Early in the summer, in May and June, the rivers are usually high with snow melt from the mountains, during July and September the water levels are usually lower and the temperature warmer. The Dora Riparia is another tributary of the Po
Arvier is a town and comune in the Aosta Valley region of northwestern Italy. The local wine, Enfer dArvier, had its own DOC designation before being subsumed into the Valle dAosta DOC and it is a blend made primarily from the Petit Rouge grape with lesser amounts of Dolcetto, Neyret, Pinot noir, and/or Vien de Nus. Arvier was the birthplace of Maurice Garin, the winner of the original Tour de France in 1903 and his family migrated to Northern France in 1885
Ayas, Aosta Valley
Ayas is a comune sparso in the Aosta Valley region of northwestern Italy, with 1359 inhabitants in 2010. It is made up of several frazioni, the two major ones being Antagnod which holds the town hall and the parish, and Champoluc. All the frazioni of Ayas were combined under the one parish of Saint-Martin dAntagnod in 1761. They remained combined in this way until the new parish of Sainte-Anne of Champoluc was built in 1946, the comune of Ayas lies up the Ayas valley from Brusson. The most notable of these peaks are Castor and the Breithorn, another important glacier is the Grand Glacier of Verra. It is the source of the Évançon, which flows down the Val dAyas. In the opposite direction from the Monte Rosa Massif is Dzerbion, a 2,720 metre mountain in the shape of a pyramid, which separated the comune of Ayas from that of Saint-Vincent. Seismic classification, zone 4 With respect to flora, the landscape of Ayas is dominated by species of Alpine plant, such as the cowberry, the gentian. The main trees in the woods are the European spruce, the Swiss pine, the fauna which inhabits the area of Ayas is very varied too.
There are marmots in the parts of the territory and foxes in the woods. The rivers and lakes are characterised by freshwater fish, like the marble trout. / The Latin name is Agatius which seems to be the name of the first Roman colony, the etymology of the name is uncertain - there are many opinions. For example, Ayas could be cognate with the river Ayasse in the Champorcher Valley, another theory is that it might derive from giàs, Piedmontese for livestock pen. As for the earliest human settlement in the valley, it is thought that Ayas was initially populated by the Salassi and these people practiced agriculture, pastoralism and fishing up to the Roman conquest in around 25 BC. The Val dAyas became an important route to other territories of the Empire, this role was consolidated and the connections with Valais were expanded. As a result of connections, Ayas became known as Krämertal. Around 515, the territory of Ayas became part of the controlled by the monks of Saint-Maurice dAgaune. This group imposed Christianity on the peasantry of Ayas and this is the period when the first churches were built and the roads connecting the villages were expanded.
Later the control of the Church over Ayas was strengthened, until the Pope gave total control of the valley to the Bishop of Aosta and this is the first certain attestation of Ayas
Breuil-Cervinia is an alpine resort in the Aosta Valley region of northwest Italy. It is a frazione of the comune of Valtournenche, cervinia lies at 2,006 m above sea level, at the foot of the Matterhorn, in a valley surrounded by high, glaciated mountains and the sheer rock face of the Jumeaux. It shares a ski area with Zermatt in Switzerland, connected through the Plateau Rosa glacier, some of the runs are very long, the longest stretches 22 km from the Klein Matterhorn in Switzerland down to Valtournenche in Italy. Cervinia being one of Europes highest ski resorts means low temperatures and good consistent snow fall, temperatures get very cold through the winter months with daily averages being around -5 - -10 for the winter months and only about 8-10c in the summer months. This maintains the snow in great shape throughout the winter season, december usually averages round 40-50cm in resort and 140-160cm on the mountain, January approx 80cm and 200cm, February approx 90cm and 220cm, march 100cm and 240cm, April 60cm - 200cm.
The town hosted the FIBT World Championships in 1971,1975, official website, & Breuil-Cervinia Downhill Snow Report from Aosta valley official website, &