Culture, Architecture & Sightseeing
Unlike Chemp, the imposing Fortress of Bard (14km) is hardly a secret. However, the encircling borg, not visible from the road, is quite extraordinary. Houses are still riddled with musket holes from a Napoleonic fight while frescos and fountains are aplenty. The nearby Borg of Donnas with its Roman archway and stunning stone terracing are no less dramatic. All are connected by the famous pilgrimage route of the Via Francigena that once ran from Canterbury, England until Rome. The exterior of the fortress (free) offers great views of the valley whilst its interior houses an interesting Alpine Museum. The impressive counterbalance lift to and from the fortress is also free and well worth a ride. Issogne with its sublime frescos and furniture is just 24km away. Do not miss the opportunity to visit this castle. It seems impervious to decay and is like walking through a period drama. If history is not your thing then make this the acid test.
The Gressoney Valley can also be explored by car. The 20km drive up to Saint-Jean (1700m) is beautiful in itself but this quaint town has much more to offer. A guided tour of the Savoia Castle and its pleasant botanical gardens are well worth the modest admission fee. You will also witness a sudden change of dialect and cuisine. Things become more Germanic as you enter into the abode of "The Walsers". If pizza and vino could ever become tiresome then wash down your strudel with a fine Weiss bier.