Biella General Info - Presentation
Biella is situated at the feet of the Biellesi Prealps, at the confluence of the Cervo and Oropa streams.
The city is divided into a low part (Biella Piano) and a high one (Biella Piazzo), reachable, as well as through the characteristic lanes, also with a cable car. Biella Piano, on the right bank of Torrente Cervo, is the oldest and encloses monuments of the medieval period: the Cathedral (XV century – restored in the XVIII) with its Baptistry (X century), the Bell Tower of the former Church of Santo Stefano (XII century) in roman style, the Church of St. Sebastian in Renaissance style. To be visited the Civic Museum.
Biella Piazzo, founded by bishop Uguccione in the 12th century, and for some time seat of power of the area, retains some medieval monuments: the Dal Pozzo della Cisterna Palace, the San Giacomo church with its bell tower dating back to 1300 and the Ternengo Gromo Palace. The fascination of the Biella area unfolds along its naturalistic itineraries among parks, valleys, chestnut groves, and historical and artistic pathways. So the splendour of blossoming peonies at the beginning of May marks another spring at the Oropa botanical Garden,while fir trees, rhododendrons, and hydrangeas colour the Oasi Zegna reserve, which gives outdoor activity lovers the chance to take long mountain‐bike rides or mushroom‐hunting hikes.
One of the key routes to take is the so called “la strada della Lana”, the route of wool that runs from Biella to Borgosesia. Its fifty kilometres tell the story of the birth of the textile industry in an area that was once rich with wool makers, whose industrious hands wove the threads of the history of the Biella province. Members of the Sella family, a rich family of wool producers, were pioneers in the sector and the main protagonists in the textile boom of the early 19th century. They were the first to build factories for industrial wool processing in the mid‐nineteenth century. Many of these early wool mills have been lost, but others have been transformed, thanks to the renewed interest of the local communities for the “places” of industrial archaeology.
An example is the former Trombetta wool mill, and old factory that is now the seat of the Cittadellarte‐Fondazione Pistoletto, a centre dedicated to contemporary art where conferences, exhibitions, performances, and concerts are held. This is an emblem of the fact that industrialization didn’t spoil the surrounding area, but found a way to hold progress together with the needs of the countryside and to preserve the integrity of historical values and beauty. Local attractions include the Burcina Natural Reserve (which reaches its peak beauty at the end of May), the La Bessa Natural Reserve, the medieval burgh of Ricetto, in Candelo, the S. Secondo’s church in Magnano, the Sanctuary of Oropa, and theOasi Zegna panoramic road and reserve. Nestled in the alps, the area around the town is a natural set for hikes of all types, from easy ones with gorgeous views on paths carved on the side of the mountains, to the more strenuous one leading up to a peak.
This terrain is also ideal for mountain biking, and rental (and instruction!) are also available. Italy’s best golf course (and one of Europe’s best) is the Golf Club Le Betulle, located 30 minutes away from town. The course (18 holes, par 73 measuring 6497m) was designed by the famous English architect John Morrison, and has a high degree of technical difficulty. It should come to no surprise that food and wines are both very good and very affordable.
Biella has several restaurants, 25 pizzerie, and a brewery, Menabrea, whose beer won the gold medal prize at the World Beer Championship in Chicago in 1998, 1999, and 2000. As mentioned, Biella is the center of Italian production of fine wool and cashmere products, which can be bought directly at a discount from the outlet stores of labels such as Ermenegildo Zegna, Fila, Cerruti, Piacenza.