The itinerary through the lands and wines of the Biella district departs from Lake Viverone, a popular resort surrounded by the slopes producing the Doc wines of Canavese and Erbaluce. In addition to the water sports offered by the resort, the lake's natural environment is perfect for pleasant for pleasant rambles on foot, bicycle or horseback. Roppolo Castle, headquarters of the Enoteca Regionale della Serra, is nearby where all the region's wines can be tasted and purchased. From there, Biella is within easy reach by road, where it is possible to visit the the town's medieval centre, Piazzo, try Canestrelli, the town's delicious traditional sweet, or Ratafià, a characteristic liqueur produced in nearby Andorno, before visiting Europe's third largest Sanctuary at Oropa, a monumental place of pilgrimage. This is also an obligatory culinary pause to enjoy the Sanctuary's renowned hot chocolate, or a plate of polenta concia (maize porridge with fondue cheese) in one of the numerous nearby restaurants. From Biella it is possible to visit Candelo, known for its beautifully preserved late medieval fortification, the Ricetto. Spread over 13,000 square metres, this Ricetto (the italian name means "refuge") is listed as one of the best conserved in Europe. Candelo itself is surrounded by one of the district's nature reserves, the "Riserva Naturale della Baraggia", a wild and evocative apparently flat plain linking Biella with the Po valley, which has a suggestive "savannah-like" appearance. From Candelo, the itinerary proceeds toward the east of the district, along the modern highway between Biella and Cossato, to visit the district's other Doc wine producing areas, "Lessona", "Bramaterra" and "Coste del Sesia". This is the green heart of the district stretching from Masserano, where a visit to the medieval centre is a must, to Sostegno, an enchanting little village immersed in the green hills. A well known haunt for mushrooms hunters, the area is also the ideal place for rambles through its beautiful vineyards in any seasons, along the footpaths that lead to the Valsessera, a mountainous area between Biella and the Sesia valley. This wonderfully uncontaminated environment is still home to chamois, deer and marmot. Naturally, the area has a good number of restaurants offering the district's traditional dishes, accompanied by the wines these splendid sun-kissed hills produce each year.
THE SERRA REGIONAL WINE CENTER
Enoteca Regionale del Biellese e della Serra
Via XI Febbraio 13 - 13853 Lessona
346 0057982 www.enotecadellaserra.it Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Enoteca-Regionale-della-Serra-135145418848/
ECOMUSEUM OF WINE-MAKING
Candelo, a small town a few kilometres from Biella, was said to produce 1,250,000 litres of wine back in the 17th century. From this and other interesting historical facts one can grasp the importance that wine held for this tiny community, as well as the main purpose of its fortified medieval centre, the Ricetto: an enormous store serving as a communal wine cellar as well as refuge in times of need. This is the idea behind the wine-making museum being developed in a number of the cellars under the patronage of the Province of Biella. Its intention is to restore antique wine-making apparatus and revive traditional techniques through the creation of a "museum-vineyard". Visits to the first of these "museum-cellars" can be organized by calling the Pro Loco in Candelo at: 015/2536728. In October, every year, the Ricetto plays host to "Vinincontro", a wine-oriented event with concerts and tasting.