COGNE, THE HEART OF THE GREAT PARADISE

A pearl of the Alps

Cogne rises at 1,544 meters above sea level and its highest peak, with 4,061 metres, is the Gran Paradiso, the only "four thousand" completely in Italian territory. Once an important mining center for the extraction of iron, Cogne is today one of the Pearls of the Alps, a well-known, but quiet and welcoming tourist resort, particularly appreciated for having been able to develop quality hospitality in respect and protection of its heritage natural.

In the beautiful Cogne, in addition to the mines and the Castle of Graines we can see:
- the Paradisia Alpine Botanical Garden , especially for those who want to get to know the variety of Alpine flora and the visitor center of the Gran Paradiso National Park;
- the Maison Gérard-Dayné ethnographic museum, an example of traditional Aosta Valley architecture;
- the permanent exhibition of bobbin lace, with the traditional laces of Cogne;
- the permanent exhibition of the sculptor Dorino Ouvrier, a well-known artist from Cogne who exhibits his mighty wooden sculptures.

Cogne offers an extensive network of paths, pedestrian paths on the snow and itineraries for snowshoes, for walking in every season in the heart of the Gran Paradiso National Park.
With 80 km of cross-country skiing trails, Cogne is one of the most famous Aosta Valley resorts for Nordic skiing, theater in February of the Marcia Gran Paradiso , a classic technique cross-country race. However, there is also space for downhill skiing , with some medium-difficulty slopes and the ski school field on the Sant'Orso meadow for beginners. Cogne is also internationally known for ice climbing , with over 150 waterfalls. Among the most famous are the Lillaz waterfalls which, during the summer, become a popular destination for families for a pleasant walk.

Cogne is highly appreciated for having maintained a strong link with its traditions: the Lou Tintamaro folk and choral group, whose members wear the original and ancient costume, perform with accordions and drums decorated with colored ribbons and rattles. Even the local gastronomy proposes the flavors of the past: typical dishes are the Seupppetta de Cogne, a soup made with rice, bread, fontina cheese, butter and spices and for the sweet tooth the Crema di Cogne, with cream, eggs and chocolate. Among the most famous holidays:
- Cantine Gourmet , itinerant tasting to discover the Aosta Valley winemaking tradition and the typical dishes of Cogne.
- Gran Paradiso Film Festival , international festival dedicated to naturalistic cinema.
- Deveteya , parade of the herds that come down to the valley from the pastures at the end of the summer.
- Year-end torchlight procession with tasting of the "Mécoulin", a typical dessert of Cogne, at the Lillaz bakery.

In winter, a snow park is equipped on the Sant'Orso meadow with tapis-roulant, inflatables, donuts and a skiable slope for children. Guaranteed fun on the ice skating rink. Possibility of horse riding with sleigh and, in summer, in a carriage or with ponies. Some itineraries in the valley floor, such as Valnontey, the ring road on the Sant'Orso meadow and the pedestrian path to Lillaz can also be easily traveled with a stroller.

Not to be missed is a visit to the Gran Paradiso National Park Visitor Center , an experimentation laboratory, with explanatory models, multimedia systems and interactive games, numerous role-playing games, and an original "sensory space" which offers visitors the opportunity to appreciate the scents of nature and hear the characteristic sounds of the forest.

The Gran Paradiso National Park extends over 70,000 hectares of high mountain territory, between the 800 meters of the valley floor and the 4,061 meters of the Gran Paradiso. In Valle d'Aosta, the Gran Paradiso National Park has three visitor centres, in Cogne, Valsavarenche and Rhêmes-Notre-Dame. The visitor centers allow you to explore the various naturalistic aspects of the protected area in every season.
The history of the Gran Paradiso National Park is linked to the protection of the ibex. In 1856, in fact, King Vittorio Emanuele II declared these mountains a royal hunting reserve and thus saved the ibex from extinction. The king also created a body of specialized guards and had a road network built for the protection of fauna and for excursions. In 1920, Vittorio Emanuele III donated the reserve to the Italian state to make it a park. The Gran Paradiso National Park was actually established in 1922.

It is difficult to go on an excursion in the Gran Paradiso National Park without spotting its animals, often even up close. The ibex is rather confident and is easily encountered in the pasture. The males, recognizable by their long curved horns, live in small groups, while the females, with shorter horns, stay with the young. The chamois is also common, but much more reserved and difficult to observe.
Another protagonist of the park is the marmot, a friendly rodent that digs long tunnels to escape danger and prepare for winter hibernation.
Birds of prey are represented, such as the golden eagle, and many small passerines. The park's most recent acquisitions are the bearded vulture, a large vulture that disappeared in 1912 and returned to the Alps for an international project, and the lynx, a splendid small predator.
In the woods at the bottom of the valley there are larches, spruces, stone pines and silver firs. Going up, the trees are replaced first by alpine pastures, full of flowers in spring, then by rocks and glaciers. Among the rare flowers of the Gran Paradiso National Park we mention: the Potentilla pensylvanica, which grows in the arid meadows above 1,300 metres; the Astragalus alopecurus, which is found only in Valle d'Aosta; the Aethionema thomasianum; the Linnaea borealis, a glacial relict that has found refuge in coniferous woods; the Paradisea liliastrum, a white lily from which the Paradisia alpine garden in Cogne takes its name.

The visitor center of the Gran Paradiso National Park of Cogne, TutelAttiva Laboratorio Parco , presents the complex and dynamic evolution of the protected area as in an experimentation laboratory: explanatory models, multimedia systems, interactive games and an original "sensory space" that offers visitors the opportunity to appreciate the scents of nature and hear the characteristic sounds of the forest.
The exhibition itinerary does not have a fixed linear path: choose your "path" according to your interests and the level of detail you desire.
Village Minier - 11012 Cogne (AO)
Telephone: +39 016575301
Internet: info@grand-paradis.it

Easy to reach from the town of Lillaz   a 10-minute walk, following a porphyry path, you can reach the famous waterfalls with three waterfalls in the Urtier torrent for a total height of 150 meters.

The waterfalls can be admired in their fullness thanks to the paths that run alongside them and which allow the discovery of the three levels of which they are made up, a feature that distinguishes them from more vertical waterfalls but which makes them unique in their kind.
The waterfalls are an easy day trip suitable for families with children that have become one of the best known excursions in the area. The walk is a classic route for those staying in Valle d'Aosta and is very popular especially in the summer. In winter, the waterfalls become a destination for ice climbing enthusiasts.


Restaurants:

  • BELLEVUE RESTAURANT: The best known and most renowned in the area, boasts a Michelin star, thanks to a refined and innovative cuisine. In fact, it is difficult to define the cuisine, you cannot use trivial adjectives such as good, tasty, creative, classic... The cuisine follows the rhythm of the seasons, it uses very fresh products cooked on the spot. You will measure the quality of the cuisine by its digestibility and originality, without however ever denying the Italian tradition. Chef Fabio Iacovone will be happy to talk about cooking with guests who wish to.
Open every day
Rue Grand Paradis, 22, 11012 Cogne
Telephone: +39 016574825
Internet: www.hotelbellevue.it
  • LA CAVE DE COGNE: Enoteca with kitchen, wine bar, tea room and take-away gastronomy. An innovative place but closely linked to tradition and the territory. Thanks to its flexibility, both in terms of structure and times, it will be able to tease you with a proposal at any time. Everything is homemade, from bread to pasta to desserts. Local cuisine, but lightened where possible, and an eye for vegetarian cuisine. Often, in addition to meat, it is possible to find fish, even if we are in the mountains. Thousands of bottles of wine and craft beers that you can buy, taste for an aperitif or to accompany lunch or dinner, in the room of sober and informal elegance. There are dozens of highly selected teas and herbal teas, chocolate, homemade mulled wine, to be sipped with home-made cakes and biscuits. However, being a wine shop, you will be able to buy the best local wines and liqueurs to take as souvenirs to friends and relatives!
Open every day from 12.30 to 14.30 and from 19.00 to 21.00
Closed Wednesday
Rue Bourgeois, 50, 11012 Cogne
Telephone: +39 0165 74498
Internet: info@lacavedecogne.com
  • LA BRASSERIE DU BON BEC: At the Brasserie du Bon Bec you are sure to find an alpine-style and refined environment united by the conviviality that characterizes these mountain areas. In fact, here you can taste the best dishes to share such as grills, fondues, etc. The Brasserie retains its simplicity and good nature thanks to popular dishes and a nonchalant cuisine that twirls to the rhythm of tradition.

Open every day from 12.00 to 14.30 and from 19.00 to 22.00
Closed on Monday
Rue Bourgeois, 72, 11012 Cogne
Telephone: +39 0165 749288

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