More than 100 km of ancient tunnels narrate the history of one of the highest mine of Europe. Exploring the mines of Cogne (Aosta Valley, Italy) is a unique experience. Today it is possible to do it by boarding a small and vintage train that enters for 1 kilometer inside the mountain, on the slopes of Monte Ceya, in Valle D’Aosta, and offers to the visitors a breathless landscape including Mont Blanc and Gran Paradiso.

The rattles of a vintage train of the miners, the darkness and the cold silence of the mountain. In a few minutes we arrive into the hearth of the mines, where the miners worked for the extraction of the mine until 1979. The history of this place is very old, it was already mentioned in a document of the year 1332 when the area was under the episcopal property and was exploited for the extraction of iron.

The mine of Cogne is not only an incredible proof of industrial archeology, but also of the history of the citizens of Cogne. Indeed, for centuries they defeated the mine from foreign investors obtaining the purchase by the municipality of Cogne. In the 19th century, the mine was managed in a “communitarian way” by the inhabitants of Cogne who decided the schedules and the way of working and managed the extraction, the transport and the sale of the material.

Historical picture of the miners of Cogne
Picture of the miners inside the mine of Cogne – picture of the Cooperative Mines de Cogne via Facebook

When we arrive into the hearth of the mines of Cogne it seems to travel back in time. The buildings, the funicular railways and the cableway are exactly the same used by the miners who worked there more than 40 years ago. Everything is extremely original and authentic. We observe the places that once were daily used by the workers of the mine that include even a library and a cinematograph.

A trip into the mountain, the mine and the history !

We begin our  underground experience with a beautiful walk around Cogne, the small village that has been developed around the business of the mine and saw it grown together with his citizens. We take a look around and we admire the breathless landscape, the nature and the magnificence of the mountains that surround us and will follow us until Costa del Pino.

When we arrive at the mine, we are overwhelmed by a magical atmosphere, as suddenly we were carried back in time. Around us everything has the previous aspect: buildings, instruments, salt, landscape and even the small vintage train contributes to make us travel through time.

The mountain and the mine of Cogne offer a unique experience: after wearing helmets and thermal jacket, we get in the train used by the miners and we leave to the discovery of this underground world.

We visite the room, the old machinery for the extraction of the magnetite and we live the experience of a trip into the history. The guide tell us the histories of the place by carrying our itinerary through the dark, cold ( the temperature inside is around 7 degrees), humide and silent tunnels of the mine.

The visit of the mines of Cogne give us a fantastique view over the mountains from Mont Blanc to Gran Paradiso.

The beautiful landscape of the mine of Cogne over the National Park of Gran Paradiso – picture of the Cooperative Mines de Cogne via Facebook.

Useful information for the visit of the mines of Cogne

Starting from August 2017, one of the tunnel of the mines (approximately one kilometer long) is opened for the public and visitable. Moreover, there is an ambitious project of rescue and valorization in progress to give a new life to other parts of the 100km of tunnels of the ancient mine.

For information and reservation of the guided tours of the Mine of Cogne: (+39 0165.74835) e (+39 0165.749665).

Where to sleep in Cogne? Discover all the eco-friendly hotel of Cogne and surroundings.

If you are curious and interested in discovering something more about the history of the mine, you can deepen the knowledge at the permanent exhibition “The mine of Cogne” in the Alpinart exhibition centre.

Underground Tourisme in Cogne and surroundings

A part for the mine of magnetite in Cogne, you can visit the ancient mine of silver of Valleille and the one of copper of Ecloseur, or you can have a walk and relax in the green of the beautiful National Parc of Gran Paradiso.

It will be a unique experience, are you ready?


You might also like:

Aosta Valley: an Italian region that will surprise you

Slow holiday in Gran Paradiso Park

The Wonders of Berchtesgaden

Author: Elena Bragantini

I am Elena, a 24 years old curious and optimistic student with the passion for travel. My studies and my travels helped me to understand the importance of social entrepreneurship for improving the life of people and protecting our planet.
More posts by Elena Bragantini →

This entry was posted in journeys and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.