Avenches or Aventicum, the former capital of Roman Helvetia, is located on the top of a hill, from where it gazes down at the vestiges of its glorious past, three quarters of which still slumber in the soil. Although the archeological site is one of Switzerland’s most important ones, today’s village has kept its charm boasting central streets complete with arcades, irregular stairs, a 13th-century castle, medieval monuments and historic buildings.
At the entrance to the village, the amphitheatre impresses by its size and remains the country’s best-preserved Roman monument. The famous ancient arenas serve as a setting to several festivals of international renown (Rock Oz'Arènes and Avenches Tattoo). Above them rises a square tower that plays host to the cultural treasure of the Roman Museum.
Avenches also accommodates the prestigious Swiss national stud farm and is at a stone’s throw from Switzerland’s longest sandy beach. In view of all these assets, it is not surprising that people of all times wished to settle there.
Although Aventicum has grown silent, Avenches remains alive and a wonderfully preserved architectural gem.
The guide "Les Plus Beaux Villages de Suisse" is available from the Tourist Office in Avenches or on the website of the Association of the Most Beautiful Villages in Switzerland.
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