We are lucky to have some 🖼 wonderful museums 🏔 au Pays du Mont-Blanc, many housed in architectural gems (old, renovated and new) . . . and as well as their permanent collections, they also offer 🖼 temporary exhibitions and 🎨 workshops for children and families over the school holidays!
We are also lucky if we live in (or are visiting!) the 🏔 au Pays du Mont-Blanc, as we are at the crossroads with two other countries, and there are some wonderful museums in these neighbouring countries :
- Switzerland (either over the col de Forclaz from Vallorcine to Martigny or towards Geneva from Sallanches);
- and 🇮🇹 Aosta Valley, Italy (through the Mont-Blanc tunnel);
⇒ see other MBFF articles:
- 🖼 MUSEUMS & EXHIBITIONS au Pays du Mont-Blanc & in the Chamonix Valley here;
- 🖼 OUTDOOR ART EXHIBITIONS au Pays du Mont-Blanc here;
- 🖼 OUTDOOR ART EXHIBITIONS further afield here;
- 🖼 MUSEUMS & EXHIBITIONS in nearby FRANCE here;
- 🖼 MUSEUMS & EXHIBITIONS in nearby SWITZERLAND here;
This article concentrates on 🖼 the museums and exhibitions in our neighbouring 🇮🇹 Aosta Valley, in Italy.
Pays du Mont-Blanc
AOSTA town museums
Roman ruins (Aosta)
In Aosta town there are some impressive Roman ruins to see, as well as an archaeological museum.
With the same ticket, you can visit lots of these Roman ruins (your ticket gives you entry for a year) and another couple of sites:
- the Roman theatre;
- the Forensic cryptoporticus (Augustan era);
- the early Christian Basilica of San Lorenzo;
- and the regional archaeological museum;
opening hours: October to March daily 10h to 13h and 14h to 17h; April to September daily 9h to 19h;
price: 7€, under 18s 2€ and FREE for children under 6 years;
website address: Aosta, Italy / tel: (+39) 335 7981505
Museo archeologico regionale della Valle d’Aosta (MAR)
A good collection of Roman (and other) items excavated locally . . .
website address: MAR, Piazza Roncas, 12, 11100 AOSTA (AO), Italy / tel: (+39) 0165 275902;
AOSTA VALLEY museums
You’ll notice that the Aosta Valley has made innovative use of its historical buildings to house museums. An old castle is used to house a modern natural history museum, a fortress and an old manor house are used to display art . . . I LOVE this juxtoposition, and the renovation of OLD to house NEW!
The valley is dotted with strategically positioned castles, and many of these are open to the public. I shall write an article with some suggestions for Aosta Valley castles to visit soon !
Starting with the museum closest to the Mont-Blanc tunnel . . .
Museo regionale Scienze naturali Efisio Noussan (Castello Saint-Pierre)
A natural science museum in a stunning location dominating the Aosta Valley ! This museum was recently renovated and re-opened to the public ! You need to reserve, as only a few people are accepted at a time!
FB page address: Castello Saint-Pierre, località Tache, AOSTA (AO), Italy / tel: (+39) 0165 275902;
Forte di Bard (Bard)
This is one of MBFF’s favourite museums !
This impressive fortess, which you may have driven past if heading up or down the Aosta Valley, was entirely renovated a few years back to accommodate a cultural complex: temporary exhibition spaces, museums, accommodation and hospitality all together!
The Forte di Bard opened to visitors in 2006, and you can now make your way to the exhibitions and museums at the top of the fortress by way of a series of funiculaires – not only do you get art and culture, but adventure en-route! The views from the top are amazing, there are sculptures along the path to the top, and there is a lovely café / restaurant.
[ ⇒ for more details about the wonderful Forte di Bard, or to plan a family visit, please see MBFF article ]
The museums on offer here are:
- The Museum of the Alps;
- Children’s Museum – Le Alpi dei Ragazzi (only open to the public on Sundays and during holidays);
- the Prison Museum;
- Il Ferdinando: Museo delle Fortificazioni e delle Frontiere;
[ ⇒ to see a list of the current temporary exhibitions, see here ]
As well as regular, changing art exhibitions, every year the Forte di Bard hosts the fabulous Wildlife Photographer of the Year from February until June / ⇒ see MBFF article for more information;
website & FB page address: Forte di Bard, 1020, Bard (AO) Valle d’Aosta, Italy / tel: +39 0125 833811;
Castello Gamba (Châtillon)
Another juxtaposition of castle and modern & contemporary art in the Aosta Valley! This time in the town of Châtillon, a renovated 20th century castle now houses the region’s art collection . . . and also, not to be missed are the most magnificent gardens & park surrounding the castle, with a majestic California redwood and more!
This museum comes highly recommended by MBFF!
[ ⇒ read more about the MBFF family’s visit to the Castello Gamba in separate article here ]
website & FB page address: Località Crêt-de-Breil, 11024, Châtillon, Aosta Valley, Italy;
Aosta Valley outdoor art exhibitions
The Aosta Valley also houses some outdoor art exhibitions:
- Etroubles (near Aosta) – a deligthful village, with a « museo a cielo aperto »;
- Musée à ciel ouvert de Chemp (Val d’Oùta, Aosta Valley) – un village “ un rêve porté par le vent ” dotted with art;
- Rifugio Mont Fallère (Saint-Pierre, Aosta) – a hike, dotted with wooden sculptures, to a mountain refuge . . . this will delight families !
[ ⇒ see separate MBFF article 🖼 OUTDOOR ART EXHIBITIONS further afield here for more information about these villages and refuge ]
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