What do the Avengers and Mont Blanc have in common? Bard Fort, obviously! All the Italian locations of Avengers are located in the Aosta Valley: in Age of Ultron the fort is the seat of Hydra, the terrorist organization from where Ultron plans to destroy the planet. If you are not familiar with the movie (you see the fort in the opening scene), make sure to at least watch the trailer. And Mont Blanc? Mont Blanc is the “theme” of a museum especially designed for kids and teens.
The imposing Bard fort is located at the entrance of the Aosta Valley and was built in the XIX century by the Savoy family. Today it is the “home” of several museums and temporary exhibitions.
Bard Fort is formed of three main defence stations positioned at different levels, and five distinct constructions. It is accessible on foot or by a system of modern glass funiculars (they are free); however, you need to buy tickets for the museums. Ticket offices are not clearly indicated: you can find them on the first and third level. The Children’ Alps Museum, which I’m going to tell you about, is located on the second level – so remember to buy tickets beforehand. We didn’t know, so we ended up wandering all over before finding one of the ticket offices. The easiest one to spot in on the first level, inside the “Ferdinando, museum of fortifications”. But not in the entrance hall (that would be too obvious!), but in the second room.
The Children’ Alps Museum
The Children’ Alps Museum is an interactive exhibition (or better a “virtual climb”) that you visit roped up to your child. It is all about climbing Mont Blanc and mountaineering in general. At the entrance you are given a helmet, a harness (so think twice about wearing a skirt – as I did!!!, a notebook and pencil. Then you are roped up and ready to go!
The aim to answer all the questions and score the maximum number of points. There are nine rooms to visit on this virtual ascent, with short movies, easy balance or ability games, interactive simulations, a yeti (which has nothing to do with Mont Blanc but kids love it), a backpack to fill with the right climbing equipment, and many quizzes and useful information about mountain climbing.
Reaching the top of Mont Blanc
In room number 6 you can take a picture of yourself in front of Mont Blanc, with an ice axe. You need a USB flash drive to save the photo. When I visited, the computer was defective, and it would not save the picture, so that we don’t have pictures of our amazing ascent. You can bring home the notebook, as a souvenir, and my son Stefano is very proud of his score. 700 points (the maximum score). What can I say? We are proficient climbers…