Aosta's nuances are French. The result is a hybrid culture known as Valdostan, a long-ago mingling of the French Provençal and northern Italian that is notable in the architecture, the food and in the local language, Valdôtain.
Italy's famed crescent of Mediterranean coast, where the Alps and the Apennines cascade into the sea, is defined by its sinuous, giddy landscapes. The Italian Riviera, synonymous with the Ligurian region, is shaped by its extreme topography.
Medieval towns, gentle lakes hemmed in by steep hillsides, vast plains, prehistoric rock art and mighty mountains make this part of the Lombard region one of northern Italy's most underrated corners.
Italy's second-largest region is arguably its most elegant: a purveyor of Slow Food and fine wine, regal palazzi and an atmosphere that is superficially more français than italiano.
These are the top experiences and sights in the Aosta Valley, Liguria, Lombardy & Piedmont, according to Lonely Planet.