The northern Italian city of Biella is located in the region of Piedmont. In 1992, it became the capital of the then newly created province of the same name. It is an important center of textile and wool production. The city is divided into two parts. Bella Piazzo is the historical part of the city and is located at the top of the hill. The lower, and for tourists less interesting part, is generally referred to as Biella Piano.
Biella travel guide
Tourist information office: Via Quintino Sella – Biella (phone: +39 015 2529345)..
Town hall: Via Battistero 4 – 13900 Biella (phone: +39 015 35071).
Railway station: Stazione di Biella San Paolo.
Nearest airport: The Biella- Cerrome Airport is not used for tourist flights.
Public transport inside the city: There is a (free) funiculare from the lower part to the historical center.
The main and most interesting square in the historical center of Piazzo is the Piazza Cisterna. This square is surrounded by several medieval buildings, including the Palazzo Cisterna.
The Church of San Giacomo is the oldest medieval building of the city.
The panoramic garden provides a view over the more recently constructed part of town.
Although the San Giacomo Church is the oldest church of the city, the most important religious buildings are the Cathedral and the Baptistery.
The Via Italia is the main shopping street of the city, which is lined with historical buildings with elegant balconies.
Two other interesting streets are the Via Mazzini and the Via Losana.
Other churches are the San Sebastiano, the San Filippo and the Santissima Trinità Church.
Historical buildings in the lower part of the city include the Palazzo dei Principi del Pozzo and the Palazzo dei Conti Gromo di Ternengo.
The Palazzo del Comune is of medieval origin.
The Santuario of the Madonna di Oropa is located outside the city itself. Situated on a 1180 meter hill, it offers a beautiful panoramic view of the surroundings.
A brief history of Biella
The territory of present day Biella was already populated in the Iron Age. Under the Romans, it was known as Bugella. In fact, the earliest known document mentioning the city sill uses that name, in 826.
During the Middle Ages, Biella was the center of struggles between the bishops and the local population. It was also during the Middle Ages, that the division between the two parts of the city, Piazzo and Piano, started.
Biella was involved in the struggles between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines. The former were led by a local family called Avogadro, the latter by the Visconti family.
Towards the end of the 14th century, the bishops were expelled and Biella came to be ruled by the Savoy.
In the next centuries the territory was often fought over by the Savoy and the French.
At the end of the 16th century, the city was hit hard by a Plague epidemic.
After the French revolution, a Jacobin government abolished all feudal privileges.
In 1815, it returned to the Savoy. During the fight for independence, the Austrians occupied the territory.
During World War II, the city became the scene of reprisals by the Nazis.
Originally part of the province of Vercelli, in 1992 Biella became the capital of the newly founded province of the same name.
How to get to Biella by car
The A4 between Milan and Turin passes not far from the city.
Whoever arrives in the city by car, can park for free at the foot of the funiculare.