Fort Bard open from Thuesday to Sunday

A land of castles

Aosta Valley is famous for its castles and towers, which, once upon a time, towered over vast areas of the region. Just a few kilometres from the Fortress are two castles open to the public for tours all year round: the elegant Issogne manor house of the Challant family and theVerrès Castle (photo),at the entrance to the Ayas Valley. The Issogne Castle, overlooking a large courtyard and Italian garden, boasts an invaluable portico embellished with a series of lunettes frescoed with scenes of everyday life and pictures of shops, and in the middle of the courtyard is the famous fountain in wrought iron said to represent a Pomegranate tree, a symbol of prosperity. Not far away, built on a rocky peak towering above the village below and the Collegiate Church of Saint Gilles, we find the Verrès castle, mentioned for the first time in 1287. An inscription carved in Gothic characters bears witness to the fact that it was Ibleto of Challant in 1390 who started the works that gave the building its current appearance.

Between Bard and Verrès, be sure to visit the Vallaise Castle, a stately home, in Arnad, to admire its 17th century form (currently undergoing restoration and temporarily closed to the public). From here you can take a pleasant walk to the Machaby shrine, dedicated to Our Lady of the Snows. The shrine’s origins appear to date back to the 14th century.

Heading back up the Valley towards Aosta, you will find many sites worth stopping at: the Gamba Castlein Chatillon, the monumental sites of theCity of Aosta, the Sarre Castle…