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Bimbe in Viaggio

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What to see in Biella in a day

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On the occasion of a long weekend with the aim of going to the Father Christmas Village in Ricetto di Candelo and the Sanctuary of Oropa, we decided to also visit the town of Biella, which is roughly halfway between the two destinations.

Biella is a town with medieval origins, situated at the foot of the Alps.

The centre can easily be visited in a day.

Below, you will find a list with the main places to visit in Biella and information on what to do in the surrounding area.

What to see in Biella in one day

The city of Biella is divided into two parts: Biella Piazzo or Upper Biella and Biella Piano or Lower Biella.

Biella reminded me a lot of the cities of Bergamo and Mondovì, which are also divided into the upper and lower parts.

Biella Piazzo or Biella alta corresponds to the old quarter of Biella located, precisely, in the upper part.

If desired, it can also be reached by a very atmospheric funicular railway .

Biella Piano, on the other hand, is the modern lower part.

What to see in Biella: Biella Piano

Our walking tour began in Biella Piano, i.e. in the lower part of the town.

The historical centre is characterised by elegant buildings and cobbled alleys.

If you want to do some shopping, Via Italia is the street for shops.

Here, you can find quality articles, clothing and typical products.

Arriving at the Zumaglini Gardens, you can make a short stop and, if you are travelling with children, let them play in the enclosed playground.

Attractions not to be missed in Biella Piano are the Museo del Territorio Biellese and the Duomo.

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Museum of the Biellese Territory

The Museum of the Biellese Territory was opened in 2001 inside the former Convent of San Sebastiano.

The permanent exhibition brings together evidence of the surrounding territory, from prehistory to the 20th century.

A historical-artistic section and an archaeological section can be admired.

The cost of the ticket is €5.00 and on the first Sunday of the month admission is free.

The opening hours are as follows: Thursday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. / Friday 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. / Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

For the visit, which can be done independently, count approximately one hour.

Biella Cathedral

Biella Cathedral (Santa Maria Maggiore or Santa Maria in Piano), was built following a vow made by the population during the plague of 1399.

The Cathedral stands on the remains of a small 11th-century church, some capitals of which can still be admired today.

In 1772, Biella Cathedral was completely renovated in neo-Gothic style and, in later years, extended with chapels and aisles, sacristy and pronaos.

Biella Cathedral is located in Piazza Duomo and is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Monday to Sunday.

Next to the Cathedral, you will find the Baptistery, in Romanesque style, built on a burial ground at the beginning of the 11th century and can only be visited externally.

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What to see in Biella: Biella Piazzo

Biella Piazzo is located high up and therefore in a panoramic position with respect to Biella Piano .

As mentioned, it is the old part of the town and can be reached on foot via a fairly steep cobbled alley, or with the free funicular railway .

Piazzo is the oldest part of the historical centre around which, in the past, the residences of the great noble dynasties of Biella were built, some of which are still perfectly preserved and can be visited.

A must-see in Biella Piazzo is undoubtedly Piazza Cisterna, the heart of the village and seat of the municipality until the second half of the 19th century.

The square is surrounded by characteristic medieval buildings and is home to Palazzo Cisterna, one of the most beautiful palaces in the Biella area, dating from the 15th to 16th century.

Under the arcades of the square, there are several bars and restaurants.

Also not to be missed are the Parish Church of San Giacomo, the oldest medieval building in Piazzo, and Palazzo La Marmora, a historic 16th-century residence that still belongs to the Ferrero della Marmora family.

The perfectly preserved and furnished rooms are well worth a visit.

For opening hours and prices, please refer to the official website.

UPDATE DECEMBER 2023 – Biella’s funicular is closed indefinitely because, unfortunately, it did not pass the last test.

Where to stay in Biella

B&b Il Cortile – Location immersed in nature, peace and silence, a stone’s throw from Biella.

Really well-kept rooms and excellent breakfast included.

Free parking and the possibility of requesting, also free of charge, a cot for children aged 0-2.

There is a swimming pool, open during the summer – book here.

What to see in and around Biella

Biella can be the starting point for many attractions such as historic villages and natural beauty.

Below are the main things to see around Biella.

Sanctuary of Oropa

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The Sanctuary of Oropa is one of the main places of pilgrimage in Italy.

You will be amazed at its imposing structure consisting of two main cloisters, two basilicas (upper and lower), and the collection of cribs in a truly suggestive mountain setting. Continue reading

Burcina Park

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A few kilometres from Biella is the Burcina Park, the ideal destination for nature lovers.

The Burcina Park extends into the Biellese pre-Alps and offers easy walks in the green while admiring the blossoms that bloom throughout the year.

In particular, the park is taken by storm during the spectacular blooming of the rhododendrons. Continue reading

Ricetto of Candelo

Ricetto of Candelo is a perfectly preserved medieval fortified village built between the 13th and 14th centuries.

Located only 10 minutes’ drive from Biella, it is surrounded by medieval walls and defensive towers and is often used as a location for various events such as Candelo in Fiore (Candelo in Bloom ) or the Borgo di Babbo Natale (Father Christmas Village).

It may be useful to know that it is a little tricky to travel the cobbled streets with a pushchair.

It would be better to equip yourself with a baby carrier or backpack.

Entrance to the village is free of charge if no event is taking place, otherwise an entrance ticket must be purchased, the amount of which varies according to the type of event.

For the Father Christmas Village, for example, we paid €6.00.

Meet (and adopt) a donkey

Another of the things to do around Biella is to go to the Rifugio degli Asinelli, in Sala Biellese.

During your visit, you can be in the company of donkeys, mules and hinnies, scratch them and walk with them along the park’s paths .

Most of these animals came to the refuge following abandonment or mistreatment, and the association takes care of them.

It is forbidden to feed the donkeys, but you can leave apples, carrots and fennel with the staff and they will distribute it.

At the end of the visit, you can also decide to adopt a donkey, supporting the Foundation in a concrete way.

To see the opening hours of the refuge, have a look at the official website.

Conclusions

These are my tips on what to see in Biella and the many points of interest you can find around the city.

One day is enough to get around Biella, but if you also want to explore the surrounding area, it is best to stay for a long weekend, so that you can see everything at your leisure.

Continue reading:

1. Visiting Asti

2. Itinerary in the historic centre of Genoa

3. Fortress of Bard

4. Burcina Park

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