The devotion to the House of Savoy was one of the features in the process of identity construction of the Aosta Valley’s elites before, during and after the completion of national unity. Between history and myth, the Savoy dynasty marked, in fact, the passage from the Savoyard stage of history to the Italian one. Either in literature or in the political and intellectual reflection, we find a constant reminder to the continuity of the sovereignty of the House of Savoy over the Duchy of Aosta, as well as the theory of the «free and voluntary dedication» of the Aosta Valley to the Savoy dynasty affirmed by Jean-Baptiste de Tillier in the 18th century and taken by politicians and writers from the mid-19th century. The attachment to the House of Savoy was designed, in this sense, as a cornerstone of the construction of the identity of the Aosta Valley and it played a fundamental role in the formation of regional elites. In addition, the image recalled by de Tillier of the Aosta Valley territory as «infra montes» was in great success in the following centuries, reflecting the reality of a region which is an integral part of an «Alpine civilization» that transcends national borders. We must not forget the role played by the clergy in identity formation between history and myth. It is in the ecclesiastical and cultural environment which took its origin that historiographical current which contributed in an essential way for the construction of regional identity by looking for a «specificity» of the Aosta Valley. But it was in this same medium that the ideals of particularism of the Aosta Valley germinated and took shape the idea of «the «patrie valdôtaine», whose devotion to the House of Savoy was a decisive element; this idea will meet much luck during the first decades of the 20th century.
Merlo, S. (2015). La Maison de Savoie et la Vallée d’Aoste : un facteur identitaire entre histoire et mythe. In La Maison de Savoie et les Alpes: emprise, innovation, identification XVe-XIXe siècle (pp.17-26). Chambéry : Université Savoie Mont Blanc.