The name Ayas derives from the Latin Agatius, a name that would seem to derive from the first Roman colonist who settled in the valley which was originally occupied by the Salassi, a population of Celtic origin who devoted themselves to agriculture.
Initially it was a place where breeding, agriculture and hunting were practiced, but with the arrival of the Romans it also became an important commercial passage towards the Valais and therefore took the name of Krämertal, the valley of the merchants. In 515, the territory became part of the property of the monks of Saint-Maurice d'Agaune in Valais who introduced Christianity and influenced its culture. In fact, with the arrival of the Walser populations, the local language, the patois, underwent many influences and even today the dialect spoken in these places is very different from the other Valle d'Aosta patois. Even the architecture is similar to that of Valais and the upper Lys Valley and the important migrations made the village of Saint-Jacques take the name of Canton of the Allemans (Canton des Allemands). In the 1300s numerous territories in the valley became the property of the powerful Challant family, viscounts of Aosta, until the 1700th century and therefore the valley took the name of Challant-Ayas.
You can find out more through the MUSEO DIFFUSO project, currently under construction.