Bard is the smallest Italian municipality and has just over a hundred inhabitants, but its strategic position has always made it the hub of commercial and military activities. In fact, it spreads across an imposing rocky promontory, which invades the valley floor almost to the point of blocking it, and is dominated by the homonymous fortress, which after a careful restoration has become a cultural pole with permanent museums and temporary exhibitions of international level.
The village is full of historical houses and is considered one of the most beautiful in Italy. Interesting historical evidences are also the geosite, with Neolithic rock carvings, and the stretch of the Roman Consular road, built between 31 and 25 B.C.
WHAT TO SEE
● The Bard Fortress, with its access by panoramic lifts and its multiple offer: the Museum of the Alps, the Prisons, the Fortresses and Frontiers Museum. The fortress is also home to important temporary exhibitions that take place throughout the year and to events and shows.
●The medieval village centre, in which there are several houses declared national monuments and many others with valuable architectural details. In order to enjoy fully the visit of the village, tourists can take advantage of the audio-guide Millibard.
NATURE AND SPORT
Bard is crossed by the most famous pilgrimage route of the antiquity and along which an increasing number of people is walking in the last decade: the Via Francigena. This itinerary, in its last step in the Aosta Valley, runs through the whole village at the foot of the fort. Two other paths lead to Albard di Bard and to Albard di Donnas, allowing visitors to observe the village and its fortification from an unusual point of view.
Beyond the village there is the interesting archaeological geological site, characterized by the marmitte dei giganti (giants’ potholes), cavities formed by the erosive force of the sub-glacial waters, by rock engravings and by the women’s slide, which was believed to favour fertility.
EVENTS AND TRADITIONS
● Marché au Fort: an exhibition-market dedicated to the food-and-wine traditional Aosta Valley products, organised in the second Sunday of October. In addition to the producers’ stalls, you can find tastings, popular activities, visits to the area and shows.
● Napoleonica, the French Armée de Réserve at the Bard Fortress: historical re-enaction taking place every two years in the first week-end of September. The event features the reconstruction of the famous passage of Napoleon Bonaparte and his troops which took place in May 1800, in the days in which the fort was the staunch defender from the French invasion, with period rooms, battle scenes and a street market with Napoleonic objects.
FOR THE LITTLE ONES
Inside the Bard Fortress there is the permanent space called The Children’s Alps, a playful-educational space teaching to the younger (but not only) how to approach mountaineering in the best way. From the preparation of the equipment to the knowledge of the dangers to be faced, the route ends with the virtual climb up Mont Blanc. During the summer period are organised in the Fort educational activities according to the site and the exhibitions carried on in that period.
● Altitude: 400 m
● inhabitants: 120
● How to get there by public transport: you can reach Bard by the bus of the line Pont-Saint-Martin/Aosta or by the shuttle Carema/Montjovet, both of them with a stopover along the National Road 26. For timetables and further information, please visit the website of the VITA Group company.
It is also possible to arrive by train, at the station of Hône-Bard, going then across the stone bridge on the Dora Baltea river. of the line Pont-Saint-Martin/Aosta or by the shuttle Carema/Montjovet, both of them with a stopover along the National Road 26. For timetables and further information, please visit the website Trenitalia.
Note - this information is not directly connected to the Cammino Balteo path but it is part of the Aosta Valley tourist offer.