Cervinia might be a bit of an ugly sister to nearby Zermatt, which is just across the Swiss-Italian border, but it has the better pistes...
Cervinia is neighbour to the famous Swiss mountain town of Zermatt - set on the other side of the Matterhorn: weather permitting, you can ski in both resorts on the same lift pass.
Cervinia is by far the less glamorous of the two - high, purpose-built, and a bit haphazard, it's now beginning to show its age. But although it will never win a beauty contest, it does have the better ski area and - often - the better quality snow. The views of the Matterhorn are stunning, too.
Resort height: 2,050m
Most of Cervinia's skiing is contained in a vast bowl that opens out beneath the great spike of the Matterhorn, and its more bulbous neighbour, the Klein Matterhorn. Here, between 2,000m and 3,480m, the terrain is mostly gentle and rolling, and is home to some gorgeous pistes - notably “Red 7”, which drops through 8km and 1,400 vertical metres, and is widely regarded as the best red-rated run on the planet.
Ski it on a sunny morning, when it's been freshly-groomed and you'll probably agree.
Sadly, there's no other piste in Cervinia that can match it for quality and some of the blues in particular are rather bland. But most intermediates won't be complaining - especially as they can ski over into Zermatt in search of variety: together, the two resorts offer a sizeable 313km of piste. There are a couple of great mountain restaurants to be enjoyed on this side of the Matterhorn too - notably Chalet Etoile, which has the most glamorous waitressing team in the Alps - and some of the best pasta.
There's one important caveat about ski holidays in Cervinia however: Cervinia's bowl is a bit miserable when the weather's bad, and when the clouds come down you won't be able to see a thing because almost all the pistes are above the treeline. So bring a couple of good books or a pack of cards for the bad weather days!
Cervina is about two and a half hours from both Geneva and Turin airports...
You can also drive there from the UK in a day.
Cervinia is more skiers' paradise than snowboarders' dream - with a particularly good range of slopes for beginner and intermediate skiers...
Advanced skiers may find the sizeable ski area a bit limiting, though.
The resort of Cervinia doesn't offer much in the way of entertainment for non-skiers, but the après-ski scene livens up on the weekends...
Midweek especially, Cervinia is rather muted. However, the Dragon pub has live bands downstairs, and can be lively - especially before dinner. There's also a huge and rather anomalous club in Cervinia, the White Rabbit, which really belongs in Milan, and only gets busy on Friday and Saturday nights. For dinner, there are lots of pizzerias to choose from (Al Solito Posto is one of the best), but for something a little more distinctive and local, head to La Maison de Saussure.
Unless you're cocooned in the luxury of the Hermitage Hotel, Cervinia is not a place to be wandering around while everyone else is on the slopes. Unless, that is, you come in the spring, and hire a deckchair like the Italians do, stripping down to their bikinis, and microwaving their skin with the help of some tin foil!
Cost of living 8/10
Cervinia ski holidays can be cheap as chips if you bag a late-booking deal from one of the tour operators. As is the case across all of Italy, food and drink tends to be cheaper here than in France, Switzerland or Austria. Private ski tuition is noticeably cheaper too. If you've never had the luxury of an hour on your own with an instructor, this is the place to try it (provided you can be sure he/she speaks good English).
Attractiveness of the resort 5/10
Cervinia would score about 2/10 in the beauty stakes if it weren't for the stupendous Matterhorn. Seen from the southern side, it's less iconic and elegant, but more forbidding and, in many ways, more impressive.