Almost intact from the moment of its construction, Fort Bard represents one of the best examples of early 1800 military strongholds.
The Fort Bard is formed of three main defense stations positioned at different levels upon a high imposing rock spur, the lowest at 400m above ground and the highest at 467m. The Ferdinando Opera is the defense structure at the bottom, the Vittorio Opera in the middle, and the Carlo Alberto Opera at the top. There are a total of 283 rooms in the entire fortress.
The Ferdinando Opera is a tenaille (pincer-shaped) structure and is formed of two buildings, the Inferior Ferdinando Opera and the Superior Ferdinando Opera. Both are presently inaccessible to visitors.
The Mortai Opera with the Polveriera next to it are found behind the Ferdinando Opera; these two buildings are used for educational workshops.
The Vittorio Opera hosts The Children's Alps, a highly interactive museum entirely dedicated to the young. Through playful activities the children learn about mythology and take on the challenge of a virtual climb up Monte Bianco (Mont Blanc).
At the very top of the rock sits the most impressive of the defense stations, enclosed by a wall upon which all the buildings are sustained. Defending the south side is the Gola Opera with its internal courtyard, and overlooking the north is the Carlo Alberto Opera with its magnificent Piazza d'Armi, a great quadrangular courtyard surrounded by a wide arcade. The first floor of the Carlo Alberto Opera hosts the Museum of the Alps.
The fortress is managed by the Fort Bard Association for the Development of Cultural Tourism. This non-profit organization was established in October 2005 with the aim of promoting and enhancing the distinctive historical, cultural and monumental characteristics of the Fortress, the medieval village of Bard and its surrounding territory.
The Association, composed of a board of directors and a staff team, plans and organizes the exhibitions and the extensive program of shows and events that take place within the fortress. External collaborators are responsible for the museum and reception services.
The Fortress Regeneration Project has been realized by the Autonomous Region of Valle d'Aosta under the supervision of the Regional Office of Cultural Heritage. The project has been funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the State Rotational Fund for the regeneration of areas in industrial decline.
The planning and implementation of the project has been undertaken by Finbard S.p.A., a joint-stock company.
The role of managing the fortress was entrusted to the Fortress of Bard Association in October 2005; its founding members are the Autonomous Region of Valle d'Aosta, the Compagnia di San Paolo and the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Torino.
The Fortress of Bard Association is managed by the following board of directors:
President: Augusto Rollandin
Councillors: Gabriele Accornero, Roberto Domaine, Ugo Curtaz, Giuseppe Isabellon
The finance accounts are audited by the Auditors Committee: the accountants are Massimo Ciocchini, Gianni Maria Stornello and Carlo Alberto Parini.
The main aims of the Association
The Fortress of Bard Association is a non-profit making organization. Its primary mission is to promote the Fortress and it complex cultural heritage both in Italy and abroad. The main gateway to Valle d'Aosta, the Fortress (together with its microsystem formed by the Communes of Bard, Donnas and Pont-Saint-Martin) has a great deal to offer and the aim is to make it the central fulcrum for the development of cultural tourism throughout the whole of Valle d'Aosta.
The Association manages the accommodation, refreshments and commercial facilities, making sure that the needs of the visitors are catered for and that their experience at the fortress is an enjoyable one.
The Association encourages marketing activities to promote the site and its surrounding territory. It organizes meetings and guided visits for media journalists. It also promotes co-marketing activities with other organizations and institutions with the aim of working together towards a common goal: to create a highly integrated tourist system in the entire Region of Valle d'Aosta.