The Fort of Bard, protecting the culture of the mountains
This is a grandiose cultural hub dedicated to the Western Alps: the Fortress of Bard, in Valle d'Aosta, is an ancient fortress that defends the entire valley below. Today it is a museum, where tradition and technology go hand in hand, with very special effects. History, nature, architecture and geology combine in a multi-sensory journey through videos, 3D displays, sounds and projections. It's exciting for everyone: adults, students and children.
All the way to the top on futuristic lifts
The first emotion you will experience at the Fort of Bard is that of the futuristic, fully glazed lifts that will take you from the village to the top of the fortress. It feels like climbing a skyscraper, except that the view takes you back here, into the heart of exuberant nature.
The panoramic cabin skirts the rock face, then touches the imposing structure of the fortress, arranged on several levels in a masterpiece of defensive architecture. And there is a clear view of the valley and the river that created it, the Dora Baltea, the villages around it and the peaks on the horizon.
If the lift gives you vertigo, the walking route is just as spectacular. The slow pace will reveal the scenery in all its details.
Climbing Mont Blanc, but virtually
Have you ever climbed the extraordinary mountain that is Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps? If the answer is no, then this is your chance.
Thanks to the interactive route offered by the Fort of Bard, you can experience the thrill of an exhilarating simulation: under the supervision of a guide, you find yourself in a roped climbing group, with harnesses, ropes and carabiners, just like a mountaineer.
Before setting off, the weather is checked, backpacks are carefully prepared and the best route is studied. The climb begins, and the guide explains all about the natural environment, which differs from one altitude to the next. You will encounter obstacles, risks and surprises before finally reaching the summit. A yeti awaits you at the end of the experience, to congratulate you and accompany you to the exit.
When Napoleon arrived here
Through projections and authentic scenography, learn about the long history of the Fort of Bard, from the year 1000 to its complete reconstruction in 1830. Among the many characters you come across along the way is Napoleon Bonaparte, whose army took two weeks to defeat the Austrian enemy forces barricaded inside the fortress in 1800. There was such great displeasure over the long siege that it was decided that the building should be dismantled, only to be brought back to life by Charles Felix of Savoy in 1830.
At the Fort of Bard, you will find yourself in a cell, since over the centuries it has also been a fearsome prison. Inside the 24 cells, a set design recreates the cramped atmosphere, while films and 3D reconstructions lead you into the Great History. In the 29 rooms of the Museum of the Alps, you will find yourself face to face with naturalists, geographers and anthropologists, who speak to you from video clips about the many aspects of Alpine civilisation, flora and fauna, revealing a world of absolute fascination.
5 things to do before leaving the fortress
● At the end of your visit to the Fort of Bard, take a break at the Caffetteria di Gola or at the La Polveriera Restaurant, inside the museum complex, where you can order charcuterie and cheese platters, crespelle alla valdostana (stuffed pancakes) and a walnut and honey dessert.
● If you're a Marvel fan, look inside the fort for replicas of Iron Man, Captain America and the Hulk, evidence of the set built right here for several scenes from the film Avengers: Age of Ultron.
● Explore the village below, perhaps with the same technological approach as during your visit to the museum spaces. Millibard is a project consisting of ten stations equipped with QR-codes on special panels. Using your smartphone, you can access all the information about the village, which is definitely worth a wander through the ancient streets full of craft workshops.
● The best place from which to admire the Fort of Bard from afar and take in all its grandeur, coupled with its strategic position perched on the cliff, is from the bridge over the Dorea Baltea. Take a short rest at this natural vantage point.
● Not far away, in the valley, the village of Arnad is famous for its gastronomic excellence: Arnad lard PDO. It’s wonderful enjoyed on traditional black bread, freshly warmed and drizzled with a little local honey.
For more information