This is an excerpt from the book “Aosta Valley Itineraries”.
Sarre Castle – Cogne Gran Paradiso National Park
5 km from Aosta, direction Courmayeur on the right side at Sarre you can visit its castle bought in 1869 by the king Vittorio Emanuele II of Savoy and transformed as a hunting residence: the internal hall is decorated with hundreds of trophies of ibexes and chamois. The castle is open to the public all the year round.
Back on the main road, crossing the bridge over the Dora River you can see Aymavilles castle (now under restoration). It preserves very little of its original look since, during the 18th century, it was transformed into a grandiose residence with a central square tower and 4 round corner towers.
If you want to taste a good wine, you can visit the winery “Cave des onzes communes” that produces more than 350 bottles of the famous red wine Torrette and another 5 DOC wines.
3 km from Aymavilles on the road to Cogne it’s worth visiting the aqueduct bridge at Pondel dating back to the 3rd year b.C. Its 52m high archspan is one of the best preserved in our region.
17 km further up the road you will come to Cogne, one of the nicest villages in the region. From Cogne you can take a cable car to Montzeuc (2400m) where you can enjoy a wonderful view on the Gran Paradiso massif and on Cogne Valley. From Cogne you can easily reach Valnontey and visit the “Paradisia” botanical garden set up in 1955 with a variety of environments (rocks, peat-moors, marshland, little lakes and streams) exhibiting 2000 species of European and non-European flora (the garden is open from June to September).
At Lillaz, another village very close to Cogne, the wonderful waterfalls are not to be missed, with three falls of totally 150 m. of height.
Cogne is a popular base for excursions in the Gran Paradiso National Park. Established in 1922, it originated in the hunting reserves of the Italian Royal Family. The park defends and preserves the wonderful natural environment as well as the precious flora and fauna species in it; it is the kingdom of chamois, ibexes and marmots.
There are numerous events and exhibitions; the pillow-lace permanent exhibition is very interesting and during summer the traditional soirees of “veille” that evoke old local customs are very popular.
As far as gastronomy is concerned, do not forget the “Seupetta a la cogneintze” made with rice and fontina cheese, and the “meculin” a particular type of Italian currant cake.
At Saint-Barthelemy there are several ancient kilns for lime.
Already Boniface of Challant, at the end of the fourteenth century, lime was purchased by the lords of Nus for work on the castle of Fénis.
Where to stay in Cogne
There are high quality hotels, apartments, condo hotels and guesthouses available, check them out and make a reservation here.