Il Ferdinando. Fortresses and Frontiers Museum
Closed in October
Located in the Opera Ferdinando on the first level of the Fortress, this museum offers an exciting journey into the evolution of defence techniques, blockade systems and the ‘border’ concept.
The need to provide further historical information and material regarding the site and the Fortress was the starting point of a project that later revealed the need to expand this itinerary of knowledge – both in terms of time and space – to include the configuration of the 19th century Fort into the history of fortification systems in view of the Alps as a physical boundary, obstacle, natural barrier, mobile frontier, territory and a political border where people have lived, crossed, explored, defended and fortified throughout the centuries.
The museum is organised in three separate sections:
- ”Fortress Museum and Defensive Walls”
- ”The Fortified Alps (1871-1946)”
- ”The Alps, a frontier?”
Fortress Museum and Defensive Walls
A tour of this first section outfitted in the Opera Ferdinando Superiore makes it possible for guests to fully experience a series of historical settings furnished with models, film clips and authentic weapons. The narrative development highlights the evolution of forts in the Western Alps through the progression of military weapons and strategies as well as construction materials and techniques from the time of the Romans up to the new architectural and ballistic solutions of the 20th century.
Guests are launched into a different era as they go from room to room thanks to explanatory devices enhanced by original maps and clips of famous film sequences of war scenes such as: Kingdom of Heaven (Ridley Scott, 2005); Masada (Boris Sagal, 1981); The Profession of Arms (Ermanno Olmi, 2001); Alatriste (Augustin Diaz Yanks, 2006); The Last Valley (James Clavell, 1971); Revolution (Hugh Hudson, 1985); The Last of the Mohicans ( Michael Mann, 1992); Glory (Edward Zwick, 1989); Cold Mountain (Anthony Minghella, 2003).
The Fortified Alps (1871-1946)
The second portion of the museum is located in the Opera Ferdinando Inferiore and is dedicated to the transformations that took place between the late 19th and 20th centuries. The Bard Fortress is included in the system of 19th century forts and is presented through scenic reconstructions and scale models for the purpose of the highlighting the most representative traits of forts found throughout the Alps and to showcase these mountains as the very stage for the technological transformation that has made them “the Italian frontier”. A tale of the evolution of fortresses through the progression of weapons (and vice-versa). The change in construction materials and techniques, the gradual thickening of the walls, the placement of forts in areas that had become increasingly dominant as well as the development of strategic methods and architectural solutions. All of this is constantly linked to the offensive ability of the enemy and the possibility of a break through on the part of blockading armies.
The question of militarized mountains is explored in the sections dedicated to the First and Second World Wars and the Resistance, enhanced by the evocative impact provided by a multi-media approach.
The Alps, a frontier?
The third and final section asks a question that puts visitors in the condition of thinking about the itinerary they have just concluded and the true meaning of the term “frontier”: boundary or barrier? Obstacle or bridge?
The exhibit itinerary articulates and conveys a complex and well-structured view of the Bard Fortress as well as a historical, social, cultural and geo-political context that includes perspectives from different historical eras: a journey into the past which ends with an extremely timely reflection upon our own days.
In this way, guests become the main players in the exchange with the place they are visiting. They are on a quest for the identity of the constantly evolving Alps – the crossroads of great events of the past as well as the history of mankind made up of simple actions and memories.