The origin of the town's name is unclear: for some historians the origins are Franco-Provençal and honor St. Porciero or San Porcaro, for others it derives from the Latin "porcarius" (pastor of pigs), whilst according to another school of thought it refers to the French word "Champ" (field for pigs). It is a municipality located at more than 1400 meters above sea level, on the border with Piedmont, in the first valley in the Val d'Aosta, characterized by a countryside, rich meadows and woods of larch with the presence of numerous waterfalls, lakes, springs and streams. Lots of mule tracks, that mark the area, lead to points from where it is possible to enjoy a beautiful scenery. It is a touristic center for all Seasons: in Summer it is possible to practice various sports: hiking, trekking, horseback or mountain bike, while in the Winter, it is the ideal destination for lovers of nordic skiing and alpine ski, thanks to its 8 miles of trails through a beautiful pine forest, to the 5 ski lifts, its 9 slopes with different degrees of difficulty and the 25 kilometers of downhill tracks. The local art craft is famous for hemp and flax weaving (the old looms are kept in a museum) and for the gourmet products including bread and a local cheese, known as sargnun.
According to the legends, the emperor Maximian had ordered the massacre of the Theban Legion, who were conducted by San Maurizio. Porciero, a warrior of the legion managed to escape and sheltered in Champorcher, where he started his work of evangelization. The first documents that evidence the existence of a community in Champorcher date from the XIII century, when the area was dominated by the lords of Bard. Subsequently it was divided between the two brothers Ugo e Guglielmo of Bard in two dukedoms. In 1242 the castle and part of the territory which belonged to Ugo, was ceded to the Savoy, after his refusal to recognize the supremacy of Amedeo IV of Savoy. From this date until the late XVIII century, this part of the town was submitted to numerous local rulers. The part that belonged to Gugliemo Bard, later Lord of Pont Saint Martin, was ruled by the same Family until 1737, when the family died out and the feud was incorporated into the territories of the Savoy and sold in 1746 to the Frydoz Family. The local authority of Champorcher was founded in 1762, when towards the end of the XVIII century, the inhabitants obtained the liberation from the feudal lords and by census it acquired title over the lands. The municipal area included also Pont Boseta, until, in the second half of the XVIII century, when the Royal Delegation divided the area into two zones with separate communities. In the fascist period Champorcher was named Capo Laris.
Not to miss:
The Castle of the Lords of Bard, of feudal origin, was destroyed in 1212. At present remains only a crenellated tower dating from the XI century.
The Notre Dame des Neiges, overlooking the lake Miserin, is a pilgrimage destination and departure point for excursions to Courmayeur. It is located at 2583 meters above sea level. Built in 1658, the construction was rebuilt in 1881, then partially destroyed by fire in 1945, it was restored again.
The Church of St. Nicholas, as it appears today dates from the XVIII century and was built on the ruins of the castle, in fact the presbytery seems to have been the Chapel of the Lords of Bard. A first building was erected back in 1532. Inside it preserves precious altars, including the high altar, built in 1741 by Giovan Battista Gilardi in late Baroque style, and the one entitled to St. Anthony, the oldest, which appears to be of the same school. The entrance to the sanctuary features a exquisite example of workmanship with a triumphal arch decorated with crucifix and statues dating from the XVIII century. The frescoes date back to 1895. The Bell tower preserves a bell dating from 1548.
The Parish Museum, housed inside the church, preserves sacred objects and statues from the church and the chapels of the various nearby districts, including: a copper reliquary of the XV century, a pewter box of the XIV century and a Cross of the XV century .
Lake Miserini, one of the most picturesque Alpine lakes.
Plan de Finètre, which offers a spectacular panorama across the valley.
The Chapel in Vigneroisa, one of the oldest of the area, it seems that the building already existed in 1600.
The Chapel in Mellier, founded in 1635.
The Chapel in Verana, dating back to 1744.
The Chapel in the Grand Rosier, built in the first half of the XVII century, it was rebuilt in 1709.
The Chapel in Petit Rosier, built in 1878.
The Chapel in Outre Leve on the left bank of the Ayasse, which was rebuilt in 1752.
The Chapel in Salleret probably dating from the XVII century.
The Chapel in Chardonney, the exact date of its foundation is unknown, but it was rebuilt in 1778. It features a stone Bell Tower topped by a pagoda shaped spire.
The Chapel of Mont Blanc built in 1742 and rebuilt in the late XIX century.
The Chapel in Gontier founded in 1866.
The Chapel in Coudreyt, perhaps built first in 1757, was rebuilt in the early twentieth century.
The Chapel in St. Anne, founded in 1777, the building is located upstream in the area of Rosier.
The Chapel in Echelly, which dates back to the XVIII century, from the open area in front of the building it is possible to enjoy a stunning panorama.