Walking through the panoramic view of the Zegna Oasis, you immerse yourself in a place to find serenity and inner harmony among the trees, surrounded by the scents and sounds of nature.
Nature, if listened to, transmits a great vital force to us, and the smile becomes our travel companion, capable of infecting even those around us.
This is the right time for walks along the paths of the Sacro Monte di Oropa Special Reserve that wind through the slopes of red, yellow, ocher, magenta and purple.
The great restoration site of the Upper Basilica overcame the pitfalls of the lockdown by returning to the people from Biella and to all the great people of the faithful of Oropa the great Basilica that has a fundamental role in the life of the sanctuary and unmistakably marks the physical and spiritual landscape of the Alps Biella.
The Sanctuary of Oropa is the most important Marian sanctuary in the Alps. It is located in a unique and uncontaminated setting at an altitude of 1200 m, just 20 minutes from the center of Biella.
The complex is spread over three terraced squares: the heart of the Sanctuary is the Ancient Basilica where the Black Madonna is kept. Since the fourth century, it has been a point of reference for travelers who passed from the east towards the Aosta Valley.
In 1620, with the completion of the church, the first of the solemn coronations was held that every hundred years have marked the history of the Sanctuary.
On 30 August 2020, with the reopening ceremony of the Basilica, the devotion and gratitude to Mary, Queen of Oropa was renewed for the fifth time.
The facade, designed by architect Francesco Conti, is ennobled by the darker portal that welcomes pilgrims as they cross the threshold with a greeting.
The cycle of frescoes focusing on the Virgin and some saints constitutes a precious testimony of sacred iconography that culminates with the statue of the Black Madonna kept by the first bishop of Vercelli, St. Eusebius for the spread of Marian devotion.
Towards the seventeenth century, the need was felt to build a new church given the high number of pilgrims.
The first stone was laid in 1885, the works continued with great difficulty through the two world wars, but in 1960 the imposing 80 m dome of the upper Basilica in all its grandeur was consecrated.
The story of the life of the Virgin welcomes visitors inside the large and grand hall, while in the side halls you can admire an interesting and rare collection of nativity scenes from all over the world.
As a last stop, you will find the “wood cemetery”, in the middle of a beech forest, many important people decided to build tombs as small mountain chalets, a way of showing that death is nothing more than a continuation of normal daily life.
In this period, it is possible to savor autumn in the restaurants of Oropa, which offer, in addition to the famous polenta concia (polenta with melted cheese inside!), the dishes of the Biella tradition with the typical products of this season, from mushrooms to chestnuts exclusively from the are. Here you will find the Biella Maccagno produced on the plain below Mount Cossarello used for the polenta concia!
A place that almost seems to be outside time and space, worth seeing once in life. Better also if accompanied by the super tasty dishes from Biella!