Cogne is a mountain locality with a population of about 1,500 in the Alps in the north west part of Italy and a popular tourist destination. It is an old community that has a long history and the herding people that have lived there for centuries can trace back their ancestry to the distant past. It's difficult to pinpoint when the community began, but they have always been at a crossroads and participated in historical trade routes that led through their mountain valleys, going from the Italian to the Iberian peninsulas through the Alps.
The town has a famous bridge built by the Romans and it is also probable that Hannibal passed through here with his army on the way to Rome during the Second Punic War.
During the summer the locality is a beautiful high-mountain series of valleys and meadows wedged between the soaring peaks of the Alps, with wild flowers and pine forests for miles in every direction.
In the winter the landscape is transformed into an alpine wonderland with snowy plains in all directions, challenging cross country trails that go through forests and across ridges, as well as ice falls for professional and skilled climbers.
Tips for Britons
The currency used in Cogne is the Euro, as in the rest of Italy. You can exchange money in Cogne at local banks or money-changers. Whether you choose to visit in the summer or the winter it is important to have appropriate gear and clothing for the mountains, as it is located at 1,500m above sea level and many of the activities go much higher than that, above the tree-line.
Summer Fun Festival
Throughout the summer, at various times during each week, there are concerts and public shows available in town including live concerts, festivals, evening events and even a tournament. The events change every year, but the venues are roughly in the same place.
Summer festivals highlight the beauty of the high mountain wilderness, with brightly coloured banners and natural green colours everywhere. As a tourist town and one of Italy's prime Alpine resort localities, Cogne has activities almost every day throughout the summer to entertain tourists from all over the world.
Summer Camp in Cogne
From June to August each year the city has a summer camp facility for children from all over Italy and worldwide. Instruction and activities are in Italian, so this is a great way for children who are learning a foreign language to spend their summer days in activities with professional teachers and camp counsellors.
While the kids are in camp you can spend the time with your partner in the mountains around the town hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing, cycling as well as many other challenging and fun activities.
Devétéya de Cogne
Every October in Cogne locals celebrate the Devétéya de Cogne, a festival in the mountains. The festival is related to the harvest and the return of the herds from the mountains in the summer. Many people in Cogne own herding animals such as sheep and cows, and there are community shepherds who take care of them and graze them out in the wilderness during the summer season.
When the herds return, the central streets of the town are blanketed with flowers, flags, banners and traditional, Renaissance and medieval music streams from the various instruments and voices of the musicians. Sheep, goats, domesticated ibex, cows, horses and donkeys can be seen everywhere and a British tourist can easily get the taste of an older and more pastoral way of life. This really is a place to relax and forget about the stresses of the rat race.
As part of the festivities, there is a parade of the herds through the streets showcasing all the animals in their glory. Then there are exhibitions and stalls with many other animals demonstrating how they are cared for. It is a great learning experience for young and for old.
There is also an exhibition of local arts and crafts as well as samples and sale of locally grown food at the farmer's market.
On the first Saturday of every October, at the Piazza Chanoux Cogne in the centre of town, there are traditional workshops to educate visitors about the local crafts, such sheep shearing and tailoring. In addition there is traditional cooking and you can find local delicacies and cuisine in many of the fine restaurants.
A great way to see the mountain festival is to book a bed & breakfast for as little as a few hundred pounds for 2 nights, so you can see the festival in comfort and convenience. Without a doubt, Cogne is a wonderful place to spend a few weeks at an affordable price.