SkiAlp from La Rosière
The SkiAlp trail includes the use of ski lifts on some portions of the trail.
Skis and skins then become an incredible way to explore this area straddling Italy and France, in a succession of ascents and descents in fresh snow, enveloped in the perfection of nature and filled with beauty.
The Traversette redoubt
On the ruins of the old fort destroyed during the French Revolution, the present fort was built in 1891, taking advantage of its strategic location for the military surveillance of the national borders. Initially, it was only occupied in the summer and later throughout the year to train the troops in the difficult mountain conditions.
In the 1930s, the fort was equipped with gun emplacements, radio equipment, fittings for the troops and their supply in response to the great defence project, the Vallo Alpino, desired by Mussolini.
On 10 June 1940, Italy declared war on France and began a massive mobilisation on the borders. On 21 June, an air and ground attack kept the brave soldiers stationed at the fort led by Lieutenant Desserteaux busy for four days. The fort was occupied by Italian, then German troops and liberated after bitter fighting in April 1945.
Today in ruins, it is located directly on the slopes of the Piccolo San Bernardo international ski area, which unites the resorts of La Thuile in Valle d'Aosta and La Rosière in Haute Savoie.
The Petit St Bernard Pass
Just beyond is the Cromlech, a circle of 46 stones precisely aligned by the Celts who studied celestial phenomena and practised rituals here. At the summer solstice there is a unique phenomenon: at sunset the shadows of the two peaks behind the Sacred Circle are reflected on the ground and embrace the perimeter, leaving only the centre of the circle to the sun.
To more recent times dates the La Chanousia Alpine Botanical Garden, founded in 1897 by Abbot Chanoux, rector of the Petit St Bernard Hospice for almost half a century. A lover of mountains and science, he wanted to cultivate specimens of Alpine flora here to make them known and protect them. The garden covers 10,000 square metres and is now home to around 1,200 species.
From up here, it is impossible not to notice the massive, slender silhouette of the hospice, a home for travellers, linked to the figure of Saint Bernard archdeacon of Aosta. The first hospice dates back to the year 1050, since 1752 the crusader emblem of the Mauritian Order has appeared and still represents the soul of the Colle that welcomes and unites.
The most recent evidence dates back to the Second World War: bunkers, bivouacs, artillery observation posts and anti-tank barriers were part of the Western Alpine Wall defending the Italian borders in the great defence project that spanned the entire Alpine arc. In mid-August 1939, a contingent of soldiers was sent to guard the borders and the declaration of war was not long in coming...
Access and parking
Arriving from Italy: SS 26 of Valle d'Aosta as far as La Thuile.
Arriving from France: D1090 as far as La Rosière.
Report a problem or an error
If you have found an error on this page or if you have noticed any problems during your hike, please report them to us here: