Valle di Gressoney

Fortress of Bard

The most impressive military construction in the Aosta Valley

By: Gressoney Monterosa

Forte di Bard

The Forte di Bard (Fortress of Bard) is the most majestic military structure in the entire region, the scene not only of clashes and battles but also the site of film sets and numerous local and international expositions.

It rises majestically in the narrow mouth that joins the Pianura Padana to the Valle d'Aosta and in its two lateral passages the Dora Baltea and the ancient route of the consular road of the Gauls.

The importance of the site had been known since Roman times, but it is from the 6th century A.D. that we have certain sources regarding the fortification of the area. At that time, in fact, there was a garrison of sixty soldiers in Bard who defended the so-called 'Clausuræ Augustanæ', the defensive system set up to protect the borders of Theodoric's reign. 

Bard is often mentioned in travel chronicles during the early Middle Ages, being an obligatory passage to enter the Aosta Valley. Ruling those lands and the fiefdom was the Bard family of the same name, dependent on the bishop of Aosta, of which we have certain information from the mid-XI century.

In 1242, Hugh of Bard had to cede the castle to the Counts of Savoy, who from then on wanted to personally control this strategic area.  

The castle played a fundamental role during the French invasions in 1704 and 1800. It was on the latter occasion that Napoleon Bonaparte ordered its total destruction after fifteen days of fighting with the defenders. 

The current construction was started in 1830 and completed in only eight years during which the then-young lieutenant of genius Camillo Benso di Cavour was seconded for a few months. Designed by F.A. Olivero, it was divided into three bodies consisting of 283 rooms and connected by protected and covered walkways. 

Now an open-air museum, the Fortress of Bard houses the museum of the Alps, fortifications, the frontier, and the fort's prisons. A venue for numerous expositions and events, the Fortress of Bard and the Aosta Valley were also chosen as the location for many key scenes in Marvel's fantasy colossal Avengers: Age of Ultron.

 

 

Contacts

Forte di Bard

Email: info@fortedibard.it

Phone: +39 0125 833811

Phone: + 39 0125 833818

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