A complete and ultimate guide to what to see in Biella Italy focused on Biella Piazzo. The ancient part of the town is a perfect starting point for a tour.
What to see in Biella Italy? If you are on this page it is because you are searching for an answer and you already know about the town. Well, here you will get tips and inspiration. But keep in mind that you will find not all the information about the town but about one part. It is called Biella Piazzo and it is the best and the highest neighborhood with the same shape designed some centuries ago.
If someone talked to you about this small town in Piedmont or if you read this name for the first time it doesn’t matter. Prepare yourself to get a guide to plan your visit. Biella Piazzo is a must despite the time spent in the place. A few hours or some days don’t make any difference. You need to go up on the hill and have a tour. This is surely the most important tip you can get learning what to see in Biella Italy.
What to see in Biella Italy: Piazzo and history
Piazzo is a medieval village located 480 meters above sea level. It is part of the town, but in a higher position than the downtown. To connect the center with this neighborhood there is a funicular realized in 1885. The local administration substituted the cabins with a type of elevator, but the design is quite similar to the old one. So it is easy to go up then you can easily walk around.
Piazzo is sure what to see in Biella Italy because of the architecture and the art. Some of the buildings remind of the origin in the Medieval age. In the 12th century the bishop of Vercelli, a town 40 kilometers far from Biella, Uguccione moved there to escape from the battles. He founded the municipality and to get inhabitants he gave to people three privileges.
There was justice administration, the chance to slaughter the meat, and to have a public market weekly. The bishop lived in a castle that was destroyed in 1377 when Biella passed under the domain of the Savoia royal family. The origin of Piazzo should suggest to you what to see in Biella Italy, but I want to tell you one by one of the attractions.
What to see in Biella Italy: the attractions of Piazzo
You won’t need so much time to go around the neighborhood. You can have a tour in an hour, but you should keep more time free. Why? Because walk around gives you a good overview of the place, but there are museums and buildings to visit. What to see in Biella Italy? In Piazzo you have many options and I guess you would love to check out all of them.
I will go to give you a tour idea. But let me start to give you some information about all the things you have to see on the hill.
The square represents the center of the neighborhood in Biella Italy. In this place, there was the town hall, until the 19th century. Also, the local market was held in the square. It is all surrounded by arcades and two or three floors buildings. Now, thanks to bars and restaurants it is one of the theatres of local life and the main events in Biella. In one of the corners, you can find a hostel. The building that hosts it was the local jail until the 80s.
Piazzetta di San Giacomo
This small square is connected to the main one and close to the ancient town hall. Here you can see some of the jewels offered by the town. They are the main elevation and the bell tower of the parish church dedicated to St. James (San Giacomo). Plus there is the Gromo di Ternengo Palace. If you ask locals what to see in Biella Italy, they will mention these attractions.
Corso del Piazzo
This is the name of the main street that crosses the neighborhood. You can see an ancient sundial. Important buildings are located on this street. Like Ferrero della Marmora Palace, still inhabited by the descendants of the family that had it built in the 18th century. Among their ancestors, there is also the founder of the Bersaglieri Corp. Inside the palace, you can sleep because they have a residence in a part of it.
From this street you can cross Via Avogadro, entitled to the physician Amedeo Avogadro, that takes you to Piazza Cucco. A small square from where to admire a unique panorama.
Palazzo Cisterna is one of the most important buildings in the neighborhood. It is located in Piazza Cisterna. The facade shows nice decorations realized in the 16th century, made in terracotta. On the first floor, there are amazing frescoes related to some events of ancient Rome. The municipality of Biella owns it and it opens for some events, plus it allows some organizations to make their activities. So there are some chances to visit it.
What to see in Biella Italy: other attractions in Piazzo
Around Piazza Cisterna and on the main street you can see Casa Antoniani, close to the funicular station. Then there is a group of houses where the physician Avogadro stayed during some periods of his life. In the main square, the oldest building is Casa Teccio, while the classic arcade is part of Casa Vercellone. If you like terracotta decorations, you have to see Casa Vialardi. It was built in the 14th century. Now it is a primary school so that you can see it from outside. You find it in Piazza Cucco.
I already mentioned the Chiesa di San Giacomo, located in the square entitled to the same saint. It works since 1227 and shows some of the most important artworks in the town. In via Avogadro you see Chiesa della Confraternita di Sant’Anna, realized between the 17th and the 18th century, the tower bell was built in 1753. Then it is awesome to visit the Chiesa della Confraternita del Santo Sudario, they started to build it in 1667 and they finished in 1765. At the entrance of the neighborhood the small chapel of Oratorio di San Rocco, always open, welcomes visitors. The building show a jewel not so known in Biella Italy.
What to see in Biella Italy? If you go to the Piazzo neighborhood you have to observe the gates. Porta della Torrazza was build during the Medieval period and substituted in 1780 by a decorative gate to celebrate the visit of the King of Sardinia to Oropa Sanctuary. You can see the original red bricks. Porta d’Andorno was realized in the 14th century and was visible a fresco about Holy Shroud. Then Porta di Ghiara, built-in 1300, shows the original battlement. In the origin, they used a drawbridge, but it was substituted by portcullis in the past.
Parks and panorama
Piazzo has a couple of beautiful parks from where to enjoy the panorama. The view over the center and the mountains all around is unique. Unfortunately, during my trip, it was raining, but imagine how wonderful are the landscapes with the sun. I let my pictures tell you more.
Curiosity on what to see in Biella Italy
The next pictures show a private house. In the past, the building was a monastery, and nuns were taking care of abandoned babies. The small window was the space where anonymous mothers left their babies. Inside someone took them. That was common in past centuries.
History of Piazzo in brief
Now you know what to see in Biella Italy, but it is good to know a bit about the history of the Piazzo neighborhood. In 1160 the Bishop of Vercelli, Uguccione, escape from its town and went to Piazzo. He needed to protect himself from Ghibellines. So he gave people privileges to move the heart of the town to Piazzo. He built a castle for himself, destroyed in 1377 when Savoia took the power of the kingdom. After two years Biella makes an act of dedication to the Savoia family.
How to reach Biella Piazzo
It is time to tell you how you can arrive at the destination. Biella is located in the northern part of Piedmont, at around 90 kilometers from Turin and around 100 kilometers from Milan. So in around one hour from the two cities, you can easily reach the town. You can directly go to Piazzo by car if you have one. There is parking on the two sides of the neighborhood. Anyway, I suggest you start from the center of Biella. You can climb the hill by walk (there are many streets) or, this is the best solution, go up with the elevator that substituted the old funicular. While it goes up and down you can admire the panorama. Plus it is free of charge.
Where to eat in Biella Piazzo
It is useful to know what to see in Biella Italy, but what about some food? A tour can be a bit tiring, that’s why a break to get new energy is a need. Well, I want to suggest a couple of places. The first one is called “Due Cuori“, generally is open only in the evening, except in summer. The setting is very simple, like in a house with different chairs, tables that look like taken from some old kitchen. The owner is very kind and welcoming. They propose local cuisine with some innovation. The prices are maybe a bit high, but it worths it. In the summertime, they have also outside tables, under the arcade in Piazza Cisterna.
The second place is called “La Civetta“. It is located in front of the funicular station. The setting is similar to a private house mixed with the typical old Italian “trattorie”. The owner and the staff are very kind and they always do everything to make you happy. The cuisine is typically Italian, with recipes coming from different regions. If you like Italian food, this is the right choice. During the warm season, they put also tables outside, under the arcade of the oldest building of the neighborhood, a beautiful medieval construction.
Where to sleep
If you stop in Biella for one night or more, you can use the neighborhood to stay overnight. You reach the center comfortably via the lift and you have bars and restaurants for going out after dinner as well. The hotels are located in the center, but in the medieval village, there are excellent solutions. Here they are.
Ostello di Biella (hostel): located in a former prison of the seventeenth century, it offers single or double rooms with bathroom multi-bed rooms with shared bathrooms, in addition to the breakfast room.
Palazzo La Marmora is a historic residence of the sixteenth century located in the historic district of Biella. The Palazzo is a precious example of a Casa Museo and is owned by the important and historic La Marmora family.
Conclusions about what to see in Biella Italy
Biella is a lovely town, so there is something more to see around it, not only in the Piazzo neighborhood. As well the surroundings deserve a visit. I suggest you start here because you can see the best part, explore the history and watch the panorama to plan the next steps of your tour.
You can stay for a few days and there are very good hotels. Directly in Piazzo, you find the hostel and the residence I already mentioned plus some bed and breakfast accommodations or Airbnb apartments. There are some other hotels in the center of the town. Check them out on Hotels.com to get special rates. For your reservations, you can use as well a debit card. To plan your trip see my other posts to get inspired about Biella province and Piedmont.
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