A worthwhile visit on the Rhone Bend

The museum's offerings range from painting exhibitions and archaeological collections to a vintage car and sculpture park and concerts. An extensive collection of sculptures by renowned artists can be seen in the large park.

The year was 1976, when the engineer, artist and art promoter Léonard Gianadda wanted to build a house in Martigny. However, the construction work unearthed the remains of the oldest Gallo-Roman temple in Switzerland. Gianadda then built a cultural centre instead of a house and established the Gianadda Foundation, not least in memory of his brother Pierre, who had died shortly before.

Since then, the Fondation Pierre Gianadda has been able to receive the works of the greatest artists: Cézanne, Picasso, Matisse, Renoir. The Fondation houses permanent exhibitions of world-famous artists in addition to the top-class exhibitions that change twice a year: The Automobile Museum, which includes some fifty antique vehicles, and the Gallo-Roman Museum, built around the remains of the Celtic temple. On the south side of the eye-catching main building there is the park, a natural playground for 20th century sculptures.

Here you can feel the special location of Martigny, with a view of the vineyards and fruit trees (if you visit the museum at the right time, you can enjoy freshly picked apricots in the garden...). Strawberries and asparagus also grow in the Rhone Valley under the hot Valaisan sun. Celtic tribes, the Romans and Napoleon's troops passed through here and appreciated it. Martigny was already an important trading centre in Roman times; the ruins of the Roman thermal baths, temples, residential quarters and above all the restored amphitheatre, which once had room for 5000 spectators, are then also worth a visit.

Realised by Roland Baumgartner

Pictures: Switzerland Tourism and Fondation Gianadda


All trains between Lausanne and Brig stop in Martigny, walk to the museum or local bus. Motorway exit Martigny-Expo.

Another tip:
On the Great Saint Bernard Pass, Saint Bernard dogs were once bred by the monks, initially as load carriers, then also as avalanche search dogs. The dog museum in Martigny, also nearby, the Fondation Barry, shows many stories and provides interesting information about the Saint Bernard dogs.