Located at the entrance of the Lys valley, away from the major tourist flows, Perloz has kept the evidence of its rich history and rural culture alive.
The long domination of the Vallaise family has left two castles (Vallaise Castle and Charles Castle), while the agricultural tradition can be found in the remains of the grehe, buildings once used for drying chestnuts. The visit of the numerous villages scattered throughout the territory leads to the discovery of ovens, mills, rus and rascards that tell the story of the local population.
The municipality of Perloz was awarded the bronze medal for military valor for the indomitable struggle of the population against the Nazi-fascists. The memory of one of the first armed actions of the Resistance, in December 1943 in Marine, and of the roundup, followed by the fire of Perloz, Chamioux and Marine, in the summer of 1944, from which only the parish church came out undamaged, is still alive. In memory of these events, the Lys Brigade Museum was established and, in the Marine locality, the “Partisan’s Bell” was erected which every day, with its tolling at 9.15 a.m., commemorates the birth of the Resistance movement.
WHAT TO SEE
● The Museum of the Resistance – Lys Brigade: it is located in the main hamlet, in the building where the III Lys Brigade had his seat. It documents the life and actions of the partisan brigade, protagonist of the first Resistance action in the lower Aosta Valley and of the liberation struggle throughout the region.
● L’école d’autrefois (The school of the past): inaugurated in 2001, this exhibition collects furnishings and objects that illustrate school life of past times.
● The Shrine of Madonna della Guardia: built in a very panoramic position, dominating the valley floor, where, according to tradition, a small statue of the Holy Virgin with Child was accidentally found.
● The ancient press in the village: an interesting testimony of the history of viticulture and rural traditions of the area.
● The hamlet of Tour d’Héréraz with its ancient tower and the Pont Moretta (Moretta Bridge), which for centuries has overlooked the deep gorge of the Lys stream.
NATURE AND SPORT
In the landscape of Perloz chestnut groves dominate up to about 1000 metres above sea level, while at higher altitudes there are mainly larch forests. Several excursions by foot are possible to discover the local history and culture.
Along the Chemin de la Vallaise (Vallaise Path), which starts from the village centre and arrives at Tour d’Héréraz, you can appreciate numerous examples of local architecture (castles, the press, the bridge and other special features of the municipality).
In memory of the Resistance, you can follow the “Partisans’ Path” , an itinerary winding through the places of the partisan struggle.
A naturalistic peculiarity: walking, towards the end of May and the beginning of June, the path of peonies, which leads up to Col Fenêtre, in an area classified as SIC (Site of Community Importance), you can admire the spontaneous blooms of the wild peony (Paeonia Officinalis).
EVENTS AND TRADITIONS
● The Féhta dou Pan Ner (Black bread Festival): it is held on the penultimate Sunday of July, but the making of traditional rye bread, at the centre of a real bread-making competition, starts as early as Friday. The bread is baked in the very ancient oven in Marine. During the festival there are evenings with themed dinners, dances and guided tours of the area.
● The traditional chestnut festival has been held for decades at the beginning of November with roasting chestnuts cooking competition and awarding of the prize of the “Castagna d’Oro” (Golden Chestnut).
FOR THE LITTLE ONES
Both Plan de Brun and Tour d’Héréraz have a playground while a rather simple excursion, lasting about an hour and a half, leads children to discover an “enchanted” place: Chemp. It is a long-abandoned village in which the artist Angelo Giuseppe Bettoni (known as “Pino”) still lives for most of the year. He decided to revive this place by populating it with art works, created by him and several other artists. Among the alleys and in the shelter of the ancient houses you can ‘meet’ a clochard who sleeps covered in newspaper, a woman who feeds her chickens, threatened by the fox that peeps out a short distance away, an orchestra conductor and many other sculptures. Chemp offers a beautiful view of the Lys valley and a unique atmosphere and, for some years now, can also be reached by car.
● Altitude: 660 m
● Inhabitants: 460
● How to get there by public transport: Perloz is reachable by bus with the line “Pont-Saint-Martin – Gressoney” and, in schooldays, also with the line “Pont-Saint-Martin – Perloz”(see timetable on the VITA Group site).
Note - this information is not directly connected to the Cammino Balteo path but it is part of the Aosta Valley tourist offer.