Biella and its surroundings

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Biella, stories of strongholds and saints

There’s a treasure of art in the spell of the Italian landscape; it is the town of Biella, smaller than Turin but great in its possibilities: besides being an International wool market – it is the town of Ermenegildo Zegna, one of the icons of the Italian style – it is featured by three urban cores: Biella Piazzo with its old face, Biella Piano, the modern town and Biella Chiavazza on the left shore of the river Cervo..

And what can we say about One of the most important monuments is the Church of S. Sebastiano, a stunning example of the Renaissance architecture while the Cathedral dates back to the XVth century. On the left of the Cathedral there is the Baptistry, one of the most important pre-Roman constructions in Piedmont, featured by a squared plan and a Roman low relief on the main gate. In the area of Biella there are places you cannot miss. The most famous one is probably the Ricetto di Candelo, listed among the most beautiful villages of Italy, a fortification that dates back to the IVth century with two-hundred “cells” (cellule) that is small houses that now belong to private owners – featuring a clay floor cellar. A journey back in time with crenellated walls and four round towers; then on your way again to visit Gaglianico with its castle that is one of the best kept ones in this area, already mentioned in 1152. Northern of Biella there is the green area of the Natural Reserve of Burcina Park “Felice Piacenza”, a very long name for a mansion of around fifty-seven hectares of threes and rare essences coming from all over the world. Not far from this Reserve there is Sordevolo, where a steep and curvy street leads to the sanctuary of Graglia, around eight hundred meters of height, plunged into the chestnut and beech woods. Dedicated to the Madonna of Loreto, it was started in 1616 and completed in 1785 while its huge dome – 38 metres high – decorated by Fabrizio Galliari in 1870 makes the interior, shaped as a Greek cross, great. .

Towards the North you can reach the Sacred Mountain of Oropa, that belongs to thee Unesco’s World heritage. It is a huge complex at 1.180 metres of height that include the sanctuary dedicated to the Madonna that is one of the most ancient in the Western world and 17 chapels where a number of statues made of polychrome pottery stand out. The foundation of the sanctuary is ascribed to S. Eusebio (IVth century) but the first sure information about that go back to 1.207. Near the church a cable way enables you to reach the lake of Mucrone that has an ice origin where skiing facilities are available..

Luciana Francesca Rebonato

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