Cogne lies at an altitude of 1534 metres some 27 kilometres from Aosta and is located at the widest point of the valley. Early settlements grew up in the Urtier Valley. The first parish church was built by Saint Orso. From 1200 onwards the Cogne Valley was governed for seven centuries by the Bishop of Aosta. The earliest document to bear witness to this administration is a bull of Pope Eugenius III dated 1152. The magnetite mines in Cogne have played an important role both in the valley's economy and in that of the Aosta Valley as a whole. They were worked by the Salassi and then by the Romans, and continued to operate up until the '70s.
There is a wide choice of winter sports. The cross-country ski tracks cover nearly 90 kilometres and provide the setting for the Marciagranparadiso cross-country skiing race. A chairlift and four ski-lifts serve the downhill slopes of Montseuc and a small train will soon link Cogne with the ski resort in Pila. Valnontey, Valeille and the Grauson and Urtier Valleys offer well-known alpine skiing trips. The ice cascades are an excellent playground for piolet-traction enthusiasts. The Gran Paradiso National Park enables visitors to get close-up views of chamois and ibexes. Dentelles, pieces of lace which are finely worked on lace cushions, are among the many handicrafts products worth noting.