I’m in Donnas in Aosta, a valley in the Italian Alps. I knew that the valley had a long association with France, courtesy of the House of Savoy. Many road signs and tourist information signs here are in French as well as Italian.
I hadn’t realised quite how far back the association went until I walked through old town and found myself on the Roman Road to the Gauls, complete with arch cut out of the rock.
This road is more than 2,000 years old. It was built in 25 BC. Since then we’ve tamed the river and added a railway and a modern highway but the Roman Road endures.
Now it’s an almost quaint piece of antiquity. When it was built, it delivered that peculiarly Roman form of domination: the enablement of trade and the promise of being able to deploy troops at speed.