Aosta holds a prime position on the borders of France and Switzerland that gave it considerable strategic importance to the Roman Empire. Situated in a valley at the confluence of the Great and the Little St Bernard passes, Aosta is a classic Italian town modelled on a Roman plan.
Aosta is the principal city of the Valle d'Aosta — the Valley of Augustus named after the Roman Emperor Augustus. The ancient Roman town walls of the Augusta Prætoria Salassorum are still preserved almost in their entirety. The main road divides the city into two halves, running from east to west. This arrangement was created to make guarding the road priority of the town. The town is a mix of modern and ancient with the façade of the Roman theatre that held up to 4000 spectators still remaining amongst other contemporary buildings. The Piazza Émile Chanoux in the centre of town is classically Italian and great place to stop and enjoy the views, the architecture and a beverage. Home to the town hall, its name belies its beauty and many cafes and shops the piazza is on the route towards the town's ruins.