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Bard fort
ZOOM - Forte di Bard di notte
Already during Theodoric's reign (VI century A.D), Bard was a garrison of sixty soldiers, defending the "Clausuræ Augustanæ" (a defence system on the borders of the Empire).
In 1034, it was described as "inexpugnabile oppidum", in one of the oldest references to a castle in Val d'Aosta. The Savoys became the Lords of Bard in 1242, with Amadeus IV, driven by the insistence of the local inhabitants, who were tired of the abuse of power by Hugh of Bard, who exploited the position of his castle to levy heavy duties on travellers and merchants.
From that time on, the castle was controlled by the Savoys who held a garrison there. In 1661, even the armies from other Valdostan fortresses, including Verrès and Montjovet, converged in Bard.
The castle was once again the protagonist with the passage of the French army in 1704 and particularly on Napoleon Bonaparte's arrival in May 1800, who formed a garrison of 400 Austrian men within the fortress. The defence structures of the fort were so efficient that Napoleon's army took about two weeks to overcome the Austrian defences, with success due only to cunning tactics. The fortress was then dismantled by Napoleon, to avoid further danger..
The current reconstruction work was commissioned by Carlo Felice, in the middle of the Restoration, who, from 1830 onwards, turned it into one of the most important military structures in Val d'Aosta. The fortress began to deteriorate at the end of the nineteenth century. It was used as criminal baths and then as a weapons depot. It was decommissioned in 1975 from military state property and was purchased by the Val d'Aosta regional authority in 1990.


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