Biella, Province of Biella, Piedmont
- Altitude: 420 m a.s.l
- Population: about 43,900 inhabitants in 2018
- Zip/postal code: 13900
- Dialing Area Code: +39 015
- Frazioni: Barazzetto, Chiavazza, Colma, Cossila San Giovanni, Cossila San Grato, Favaro, Oropa, Pavignano, Vaglio, Vandorno.
Provinces of Piedmont
History: Antiquity and Middle Ages
The city's name appears for the first time as Bugella in a document of 826 recording to the donation of Bugella to Count Busone by Louis the Pious, son of Charlemagne, Holy Roman Emperor. In the 10th century the town was inhabited by Alemanni, Lombards and Franks, who built the first walls as a defense against barbarian invasions. On April 12, 1160, Uguccione, bishop of Vercelli, granted important trade privileges to anyone residing on Piazzo hill: this was the birth of the Borgo del Piazzo. Bishop Uguccione's castle was destroyed in a revolt in 1377 that led to the subjection of Biella, along with its dependent comuni, to the house of Savoy.
History: from the Renaissance
The 17th century saw a similar competition between French and Spanish forces; in 1706 Pietro Micca, a Biellese soldier, saved nearby Turin from a siege that would have meant the invasion of Biella by the French as well — but paid for it with his own life.
In 1798 Biella was once again occupied by the French, and after the battle of Marengo, Biella was formally annexed by France. The Congress of Vienna returned it to Savoy. In 1859 Biella was besieged by the Austrians but Garibaldi forced an end to the siege, and the town became part of the province of Novara, and was transferred to the province of Vercelli in 1927.
What to see
- The Lombard Romanesque Baptistry and the adjacent church of Santo Stefano, around which the town grew: it is today's cathedral, although the original 5th century building was demolished in 1872.
- Nearby natural beauties and notable tourist attractions include the outlook at Zegna with the ski resort of Bielmonte.
- The Burcina Natural Reserve.
- The moors to the south of town.
- The sanctuary of Oropa.