Forte di Bard
A strategic place for the control and defense of the territory: since the time of Theodoric, in the 6th century, a garrison of 60 men was established here. The Forte di Bard stands on a rocky promontory 384 meters high, overlooking the Dora Baltea, right at the point where it narrows into a gorge. The position has meant that the fort has always been a very important outpost, still today an interesting place of history and culture with a very ancient history. Today, in fact, the Forte di Bard is an important complex that hosts museums, exhibitions, cultural and musical events. Inside, the activities are numerous: from museums to laboratories, to nature walks: you are spoiled for choice!
Inside, the activities are numerous: from museums to laboratories, to nature walks: you are spoiled for choice!
The monumental complex is already in itself very particular for its structure: the three main bodies are placed at different levels. Opera Ferdinando, which is located at 400 meters, is in turn made up of two structures, one of which houses the Museum of Fortifications and Borders. The Opera Mortai, located behind it, and the adjoining Polveriera host the rooms intended for educational workshops and are also used for temporary exhibitions. A little further up is the Opera Vittorio, which houses the Alps of the Boys, and the Opera Carlo Alberto at 467 meters. Higher up, the most imposing: formed by a wall on which all the buildings rest, it encloses the Opera di Gola, with its courtyard, placed in defense of the south side, and the Opera Carlo Alberto with the large quadrangular courtyard of the Piazza d’Armi, surrounded by a large portico. The first floor of the Opera houses the Museum of the Alps, while on the ground floor there are spaces dedicated to temporary exhibitions (Cannoniere, Cantine, Corps of Guard) and the Vallée Culture space. Inside the Carlo Alberto Opera there are also the 24 cells that made up the prisons, which were later transformed into warehouses. This space hosts a multimedia path that reconstructs the history of the fortress, showing the phases of its development.
The Forte and Borgo di Bard complex is the new cultural center of the Western Alps. Thanks to the recovery of the Savoy fortress and some areas connected to it, a project was created that merges, within a single structure, innovative spaces and services for culture and high quality accommodation facilities. The museum spaces have been designed to integrate the historical tradition of the museum with the educational purpose that distinguishes its mission, the innovative vocation of the center is to be a place of interpretation, communication and decoding of the territory.
It is very nice to try the landscape route created along the north side pedestrian street: an open-air itinerary, accessible free of charge by the public, created to make the territory of the fortress better known. The itinerary intends to introduce the visitor to the environment in which the fort is located, through a series of viewfinders and illustrative panels, illustrating the environments, the geological and plant features, the botanical and faunal species, but also human intervention. The surrounding landscape is beautiful, with the main valley shaped by the Balteo glacier, the Champorcher Valley, the Corma di Machaby with its smooth wall, the path of the Dora Baltea, the waterfalls and tributaries, the presence of debris testifying to the ancient glacier.
In 2014 the fortress was chosen by Marvel to host some scenes from the Avengers: Age of Ultron movie.
A bit of history
We know that an armed garrison of the Ostrogothic king Theodoric stood here already in the 6th century, precisely because of the strategic position for the control of the transits that the narrow gorge of the Dora Baltea always represented. This is where the route of the Via Consolare delle Gallie passed in Roman times, mostly cut into the rock, of which important remains still exist.
The first written records concerning the presence of a real fort date back to 1034: at that time the fort belonged to the Viscount of Aosta Boso, and passed to the Savoy dynasty in 1242. The ancient building was surrounded by mighty walls consisting of towers and bastions that reached the nearby village of Bard.
It was Duke Carlo Emanuele II who transformed the fort into the garrison of the forces of the Savoy family, transferring all the artillery here; the structures of the fortress were modified.
One of the most famous episodes in the history of the fort was the resistance opposed by the army of Vittorio Amedeo II of Savoy to the French troops in 1704, during the war of the Spanish succession. But even more famous is the siege of the French in 1800, to which the fort, under the command of Captain Stockard von Bernkopf, bravely resisted. It was then that Napoleon had the fort razed to the ground. It was in 1827 that Carlo Felice wanted to redesign a fortress here: the works ended in 1838, creating the structure that we can still admire today!
Since the end of the 19th century, the fortress has been a prison and subsequently a weapons depot, gradually approaching its decline.
After being acquired by the Autonomous Region of Val d’Aosta in 1990, the revaluation project was studied by an interdisciplinary working group which included, in addition to the recovery of the structure, also that of the medieval village, as part of the European contributions for the recovery of declining industrial areas. The project was born with the desire to enhance and promote the cultural tourism of the area.
In 2006 the Forte di Bard opens its doors to the public with the Museum of the Alps, the temporary exhibition space and the Spazio Vallée Culture. The first cultural activities take place.
Numerous are the organized activities, shows, exhibitions, educational workshops, within the Bard Fortress.
To visit inside
– Children’s Alps: it is an interactive play area, in which visitors can try their hand at a simulated ascension of Mont Blanc, through a path that develops in nine rooms. It is the visitor who chooses the easiest itinerary and the most suitable equipment to face the mountaineering undertaking that awaits them. Everything has been designed as a preparatory path for frequenting the mountains and the practice of mountaineering. Nice for kids, but also for adults!
Museum of the Alps
To reach it, a real ascent is carried out at high altitude, thanks to futuristic external crystal elevators that from the medieval village of Bard, at the foot of the Fort, go up to the fortress. From there, along an imposing glass and steel staircase, you reach the heart of the fortress complex, where the Museum is located. Located on the first floor of the Carlo Alberto Opera, the Museum of the Alps is a multidisciplinary, multimedia and interactive journey to discover the Alps and understand the mountains. The itinerary unfolds in 29 rooms, divided into four sections. It is directly the insiders, the naturalist, the geographer, the anthropologist, the meteorologist who accompany us on this journey into Alpine culture! Sounds, videos and projections give shape to sets, reconstructions and multimedia games.
The plunge into history that can be made inside the Opera Carlo Alberto and inside the Prisons is formidable. Through videos, documents and 3D reconstructions of great impact, visitors can learn about the architectural evolution of the fortress and get to know the characters who have marked the main historical events from the year 1000 to its reconstruction in 1830, up to the present day. The Prisons are one of the most fascinating places in the Fort. They house 24 cells, all very small in size, about 1.3 x 2 meters, arranged along four sections preceded by an entrance gallery that was dedicated to the iconographic representation of the Fort: antique prints, paintings, author reproductions. Three-dimensional models show the historical and architectural evolutions of the fort in the various eras.
Il Ferdinando, Museum of Fortifications
Through historical settings, models, films, authentic or reconstructed weapons, miniatures of armies, the new museum illustrates the progress of the defense techniques and architectural solutions adopted over the centuries, from the Roman era to the nineteenth century, up to the progressive abandonment of fortresses, due to the advent of new war techniques in the twentieth century.
Il Ferdinando, Museo delle Frontiere
The section of the Il Ferdinando Museum dedicated to borders offers a path centered on the concept of the border and its evolution, from a political, economic and cultural point of view.
Associazione Forte di Bard
11020 Bard (Aosta), Valle d’Aosta. Italia
Info: T. +39 0125 833811 T. +39 0125 809811 Fax +39 0125 833830
Booking of visits and workshops: from Monday to Friday from 10.00 to 13.00 and from 14.00 to 16.00
Tel. +39 0125 833818
every day 9.30 – 19.30
Assisted visit to the monument € 65.00 every 25 pax (by reservation).
Museum of the Alps
– Full price € 8.00
– Reduced € 6.00
-Children 6/18 years and schools € 4.00
Il Ferdinando: museum of fortifications and borders
– Full price € 9.00
– Reduced € 7.00
-Children 6/18 years and schools € 5.00
The ticket includes admission to the exhibition The White War, Photographs by Stefano Torrione
The Prisons of the Fort
– Full price € 4.00
– Reduced, children 6/18 years and schools € 3.00
Le Alpi dei Ragazzi
– Full price € 6.00
– Reduced € 5.00
-Children 6/18 years € 4.00
-Assisted tour (by reservation, max. 21 pax) € 65.00 + € 2.00 admission
Exhibion “Henri Cartier-Bresson. Landscapes”
– Full price € 8.00
– Reduced € 7.00
– Schools € 5.00
Exhibition “Henri Matisse. Sulla scena dell’arte”
– Full price € 9.00
– Reduced € 7.00
-Children 6/18 years € 5.00