Hello from Cogne in Valle D’Aosta!
It is the season of cows parades in Valle D’Aosta, and I came to Cogne to see one of them. The small village is nestled between the formidable mountains in a beautiful Alpine valley, in the Gran Paradiso National Park. Old traditions are strong here and every year the locals celebrate the Devétéya, the return of the herds down from their summer pastures in the mountains to the valley. The cows parade through the streets of the village, decorated with handcrafted bells, leather collars, ribbons and flowers. The shepherds and farmers, dressed in traditional costumes, accompany the herds to St. Ursus Meadows on the edge of the village
For a long time, these 55 hectares of green lush grass have been used as pastures and for haymaking. Part of the local heritage, the meadows remain free of any kind of construction and have received recognition as a “wonder of Italy”.The celebration of Devétéya takes place every year on the first weekend of October. People from nearby villages come to see the parade, buy fresh produce and local crafts at the fair and have lunch in one of the many pretty restaurants in the village. It is a small event: only a few hundred cows, bulls and sheep parade down the streets of Cogne, yet everyone looks excited, cheers and the atmosphere is jubilant.After the procession I went to take a close look at the big happy cows that chewed juicy grass, unmoved by the crowds. Their bells chimed softly filling the crisp mountain air with a peaceful melody of the Alps. I looked around at the snow-capped peaks, the weathered proud faces of the farmers, and realised that this moment would stay with me for a long time. The tiny village of Cogne is one of those places that sticks in your mind and makes you want to come back again and again.