8 #PiemonteStories: the Biella region, industriousness in nature and outdoors


From Alpine features to the shores of Lake Viverone, from protected areas to natural reserves, the Biella region ranges from the Alpine landscape of the Oropa Basin and the Rhododendrons’ Path in the Zegna Oasis to the "savannah" of the Baragge moorland where the only DOP rice in Italy is cultivated, and the Burcina Natural Reserve.

Biella is an industrious wool city which is part of the UNESCO Creative City network in the "Crafts & Folk Art" category. It boasts a strong textile tradition and is the only territorial division in Europe to have kept its entire production chain, from start to end product, local and thriving, with an eye to sustainability and high quality.  

In addition to the refined cashmere and clothing outlets, it is worth visiting the medieval hamlet in the high part of the city, accessible by funicular.

The City of Art is unmissable: open for guided tours and on the occasion of exhibitions and events, it is located on the premises of the old Trombetta Wool Factory. In this art house, you can meet artists, scientists, activists, entrepreneurs and representatives from the institutions, within a framework of responsible social transformation. 

While strolling around the city, make sure you try the delicious "Biella canestrelli": crunchy rectangular wafers with a single layer of chocolate inside.

Outside the city in the Oropa valley, it is well worth visiting the Sanctuary of Oropa and the Sacro Monte, a UNESCO World Heritage site with 12 chapels which house life-size polychrome terracotta statues. These were built during the 17th and 18th and are dedicated to events of the Virgin Mary's life. In Sordevolo in the Elvo Valley, every 5 years since 1814, there has been a large representation of the Passion of Christ, the maximum expression of choral popular theatre with 40 repeat performances in 100 days.

Also worth visiting is the Candelo ricetto, a fortified building erected by the rural community in the late Middle Ages, which has stood the test of time intact. One of a kind and among the best preserved ricettos in Europe, it extends over a 13,000 square metre surface and is reminiscent of an old rural world of times gone by.

In the Elvo Valley and Mosso Valley, the skiing resorts of Oropa and Bielmonte are a key reference point, particularly because they are family-friendly. However, there is much more than just skiing available outdoors: there’s the Biellese Horse Trail, 200 km of horse-riding, the medium and low altitude loop of Gran Traversata del Biellese; 250 km of signposted MTB trails in the hills and mountains and then climbing, canyoning on the Elvo, the inebriating sensation of jumping into the unknown at the spectacular Bungee Centre of Veglio-Mosso, nautical skiing and wake-boarding on Lake Viverone (UNESCO Prehistoric Palafitticolo site), and 4 golf fields 2 nine holes, 1 three holes and 1 18 holes. 

All the historic-cultural and landscape trails allow you to discover farmhouses and agricultural companies where you can taste and purchase a wide variety of traditional products: from Macagn cheese to Paletta (a local cold cut), and from the DOP Baraggia rice to the five DOC Biella wines: Bramaterra, Lessona and Coste della Sesia are produced in the East, while Canavese and Erbaluce are produced in the West and the hills surrounding Lake Viverone.