In the heart of the Gran Paradiso National Park lies Cogne, considered the “capital” of the Park. The town is situated in a large basin at the edge of the Sant’Orso meadows, one of the largest expanses of alpine grassland in Europe.

Once famous for its iron mining industry, today Cogne is a popular holiday destination, thanks to the skill the town has demonstrated in developing quality tourism services while at the same time safeguarding the area’s superb natural heritage. Cogne is perfect for sports enthusiasts, families and nature lovers, and offers a whole host of activities in both summer and winter: from trekking to mountaineering and free climbing and from horse-riding to mountain bike.

In winter it is a cross-country skier’s paradise, and downhill fans will also find 9 km of runs suitable for all levels. And then of course there is the superbly equipped Snow Park for children and beginners, as well as walking routes, sled dog, horse-drawn sledge trips and, for those looking for more of a challenge, ski mountaineering and the chance to try ice-climbing on over 150 frozen waterfalls.

Cogne boasts a rich history and culture, as well as some superb craft traditions: from the famous pillow lace, which can be admired at the “Les dentellières” Cooperative, to beautiful objects sculpted from wood. One of Cogne’s best-known artists, Dorino Ouvrier, displays his striking sculptures, which tell incredible tales from everyday life, at the “Atelier d’Arts et Métiers” Exhibition Centre. Those interested in learning more about the traditional architecture of the Aosta Valley should take a look around the Maison Gérard-Dayné, where traditional mountain culture and civilisation are attractively illustrated in depth.

The former miners’ village today hosts the Visitor Centre of the National Park, equipped with multimedia systems, interactive games and an original “sensory space”, which offers visitors the opportunity to appreciate the scents of the nature and the characteristic sounds of the woodland.