By far the smallest Italian region is located on the border with France and Switzerland. The area is enclosed in a horseshoe shape by the Valais and Cottian Alps. Viticulture was carried out by the native population of the Salassi long before the turn of time. In 25 B.C. the Romans founded the fortress "Augusta Praetoria" (today's capital Aosta) and from here they controlled the Alpine passes over the Little and Great St. Bernard. They also brought their wine culture with them. After the Romans, the Benedictines and Cistercians came and laboriously drove the terraces into the rocky slopes. In the middle of the 20th century the highest vineyards were to be abandoned, which was prevented by the initiative of Abbé Alexandre Bougeat (1916-1972). From the 9th century onwards, the Aosta Valley came under French influence again and again as part of the two former kingdoms of Burgundy and Savoy. The bilingualism that still exists today, which also appears on the bottle labels of the wines, dates from this period.