A few minutes beyond the French-speaking village of Pont St. Martin, you pass through the narrow Gorge de Bard to reach the fortress that has stood guarding the valley entrance for more than eight centuries. In 1800 Napoléon entered Italy through this valley, using the cover of darkness to get his artillery units past the castle unnoticed. Ten years later he remembered this inconvenience and had the fortress destroyed. It was rebuilt in the 19th century and now houses the lavishly multimedia Museo degli Alpi, dedicated to the history and culture of the Alps and the Valle d'Aosta region. There's also a fun section for young children that's dedicated to the geology and history of the region.
Bard, Aosta Valley, 11020, Italy