At the head of the valley that overlooks Cogne is the Gran Paradiso (4061m), Italy’s highest peak that sits entirely within its borders. Now a national park, the Gran Paradiso region was a private royal hunting reserve for King Victor Emmanuel, as it held the last ibex, (bouquetin, steinbock) left in the Alps. After 80 years of careful management, the population recovered, and is responsible for the re-introduction of these alpine mascots throughout Europe. Victor Emmanuel III declared the national park in 1922, Italy’s first.
The charming village of Cogne sits in a wide valley pointed right at the namesake peak, and has enjoyed a tradition of tourism since the park’s dedication. Prior to that, farming and ore mining were the primary industries of the Cogne Valley, but now it is a hub for alpinism, hiking and biking, and boasts one of Italy’s best Nordic (X-C) skiing centers, having hosted numerous world cup and pother premiere events.
We love Cogne for its unpretentious charm, wonderful Slow Food restaurants, easy access to unspoiled nature, and one of our favorite hotels in the Alps, the Hotel Bellevue. Whether in summer or winter, there are myriad experiences to be found in this authentic valley, from visiting the Roman acqueduct to spotting herds of stambecco in the wild.