[April, 2023] Valle d’Aosta, the north western tip of Italy, is famous for its many old castles.
On the second day in Aosta, the region’s capital, the weather forecast was not good, but we went to see the Bard Fortress as planned.
First, we took the train to Verres, about 30 minutes away, and from there took the local bus to the fortress.
The train is €3.45, and the bus is a little over €1, which were much cheaper than expected.
This bus seems to cover the surrounding villages one by one, crossing one river many times before finally reaching the fortress.
The name of the village where this fortress is located is read as ‘Bar’, but it is written as Bard.
Generally, Italian words are pronounced as they are written, but French seems to have a strong influence in this area.
Due to its strategic location, the fortress on the hill was already a stronghold in Roman times.
It is famous for holding out for a long time during Napoleon’s march, and it is said that an angry Napoleon destroyed the castle after his final conquest.
It was later rebuilt in the early 19th century.
The view looking up at the fort from the riverside right after getting off the bus is impressive.
With the snowy mountains in the background, the fortress is built as if to wrap around the hill, giving it a powerful appearance.
There seemed to be several types of entrance fees, but we bought a €15 ticket that allowed us to see two exhibitions.
Basically, it consists of three main buildings, standing at heights of 400-467 metres.
However, you do not need to worry because there are three elevators to go up and down.
According to the pamphlet they gave me, there were 283 rooms in all, and they could accommodate 1,000 soldiers.
Currently, the rooms are for exhibitions, and we saw an exhibition that introduced the nature and people’s lives in the Alps and a reproduction of the prison of this fortress.
In addition, art exhibitions that require an admission fee were also held.
The exhibits were worth seeing, and the buildings were huge, so time passed quickly and we got tired of walking.
So we decided to have a light lunch at a restaurant inside the fortress.
We shared a ham and cheese platter and blue cheese salad, and a glass of wine each for €36.70, which I thought was reasonable for a restaurant within a tourist attraction.
The foods were good, too.
After that, we walked down without taking the elevator, and the view of the lower world was wonderful.
The information board says that the valley below was once a glacier 10,000 years ago.
I also enjoyed the view overlooking the Bard village of grey houses.
We took the exit to the village, which was different from the entrance, and walked back to the bus stop along the village road.
It’s a small village with a really nice old feel.
There was also a house with bullet holes left by Napoleon’s army.
As a result, we spent a lot of time inside the fortress, but what left the biggest impression on me was the view of the fortress from the outside.