Summer resort in the valley of the Dora Baltea Fénis, Fénis is composed of several villages that are situated on either side of the road between Tillier and Misèregnè. The forested areas are the home of a varied and rich fauna. Most of the territory, situated in the valley, is intensely cultivated, formed by sediments carried downstream by the torrent Clavalitè. This valley is dominated by Mount Tersivar, that in the past featured a mining area. According to some historic sources, the area was traversed by a pre-Roman road, which was a part of a major network that connected all the centres of the Canavese - Valdostane valleys. There are a lot of paths and routes to follow: starting with a boat ride across the river Clavalitè, passing through Cerise and its nearby evergreen forest of conifers until one reaches several huts, then through the valley of La Clavalitè, from Fénis to Ponton, or from Fénis for La Morgnetta, a famous place remembered for the Partisan struggle during the Last World War, at the foot of Bec Corbo. From the recently opened bivouac, entitled to Egidio Borroz, at 2150 meters in area Queneus, it is possible to enjoy a beautiful view over the valley of La Clavalitè. It is an important point on the Path of Lakes and is a starting camp for climbers that desire to reach the peaks of Tersiva, Mont Glasier and other mountains that surround it.
The village, like most of the other towns throughout the Val d'Aosta, in medieval times were under the rule of local lords. Fénis belonged to the Family Challant. The first documented evidence, that dates back to 1197, is a deed in which the feuds are shared between more than one family, each with its area of influence. Fénis was also ruled by the nobles of Sarre, those of Nus and those of the Tour de Gressan. In the XIV century the Challant Family successfully succeeded in driving away all the other nobles and took over the area, except for the possessions of Plèod and Rovarey which remained under the rule of the lords of Gressan until the XVIII century. Aimone and his son Boniface I of Challant ruled for over a century and ensured to the lands an economic prestige and a political fortune. After the death of Fénis Bonifacio, the development suffered a drastic slowdown. In 1705 Fénis passed to the Challant Chatillon Family who ceded their rights to the Saluzzo Paesana Family to deal with the various economic difficulties. Francesco Castellar of Saluzzo Paesana kept the feud until the end of the XVIII century, when feudal rights were abolished. The effects of the French Revolution arrived with some years of delay in Val d'Aosta with the annexation in 1792 of the Duchy of Savoia to the French Republic, except for a brief period when the Austro-Hungarian troops helped the Savoy to return in Aosta . In 1800 a revolutionary government proclaimed Fénis as its main centre. During the fascist period the town was united into one centre with the town of Nus, despite the determined opposition of the population, until 1946, when the towns were separated again.
Not to miss:
The Castle situated on the slopes of Mount Saint Julien. Its origins are uncertain and it is hypothesized that it may have been built on an old building. In fact the first documented the Castrum Fenitii "date to the first half of 1200, when it was already owned by the Visconti di Aosta. The building submitted its first refurbishments in 1340 on the will of Aimone of Challant. It was expanded in the subsequent years, probably in four steps, including the period of Boniface I. The imposing structure has a pentagonal plan with double rows of crenellated walls, round towers and a square base. It represents one of the best preserved building of its era and preserves inside a series of frescoes of G. Jaquerio, probably the most important artist of the Gothic period, all recently restored, and furniture that date from the XV and XVI centuries.
The Parish. A primitive structure which has no precise building date due to the lack of archival records. The first documented reports date back to the XV century. In the XVIII century the structure was rebuilt in late Baroque lines. The Bell Tower of particular beauty dates back to 1421.
The Chapel of San Grato on Mount Saint Julien, hidden in the woods, has an octagonal shape.
The Chapel of the Holy Shroud in Cuignon, built in the second half of the XVIII century, features frescoes on the façade, artwork of Joconde Gnifeta, that date back to the XVIII century, the. Inside it preserves a wooden carved altar, which depicts the Holy Shroud in Baroque style and dates back to the XVIII century.
The Chapel of San Rocco in Miséregnè (XVIII century), has a carved wooden altar on which are depicted various images, including San Rocco.
The little white Chapel of Our Lady of the Snows in the valley of Milanaz Clavalitè.
The Chapel of St Bernard of Menton in La Cerise (XIX century) located along the old path that leads to the valley.
The Chapel of Santa Barbara in Barches (second half of the XVIII century) presents a decorated façade and keeps inside a fresco dating back to 1823.
The Chapel of Our Lady of Healing in Pommier built in 1864 with a decorated façade and wonderful frescoes.
The Chapel of Our Lady of La Salette in Tillier built in the XIX century.
The Chapel of St. Leonard at Cretes built in the XVIII century along an ancient road that leads to Fénis.