To make your visit more enjoyable, we have some
suggestions for you:|
Via Italia is Biella’s main road, which cuts through
the historic center. You will notice that the road isn’t straight: this
is supposedly to block the wind. Also note that the surface is still
slightly V-shaped: until the beginning of the century, after a snowfall
they would divert a river to flood the center of the street. Snow would
be plowed into this temporary river, which would melt it and take it
Typical shopping hours are 9:00-12:30 and 15:00 (or
15:30) to 19:15, with the exception of Sunday and Monday morning, when
most stores are closed. For your convenience, we have listed the hours
of the stores we recommend.
Here is a suggested tour (see map below):
You can start with the tourist office (“Agenzia
Turismo Locale”) (Monday-Friday
8:30-13:00, 14:30-18:00; Saturday 8:30-12:30, 14:30-17:30; closed
Sunday) across from the hotel Agorà
to pick up additional information. On its right is the
Gelateria Chalet Giardini
(7:30-19:30, closed Tuesday), which
offers one of the better gelato that Biella has to offer (especially the
(7:00-2:00, closed Monday)
underneath the portico on the east side of the square at number 16,
makes the typical canestrelli, a delicious Biellese specialty
dating from at least 1805 consisting of two wafers joined by a chocolate
filling flavored with hazelnuts, almonds, and "secret" ingredients.
Other sweets are also worth tasting and make for great gifts. Use the
hotel card for a 5% discount.
Proceeding North in via Italia at
number 7/a, you reach
(9:00-12:30, 15:00-19:30, closed Sunday and Monday
morning), which sells upmarket leather goods,
accessories, and, in a new store across the street at number 8/c,
woman’s fashion. Here you will find brands such as Prada, Gucci, Fendi
If you need train reservations or
tickets stop by
(8:45-12:00, 14:30-18:30, closed Sunday and Saturday afternoon)
at number 11/b. At number 11/e Boglietti
(9:00-12:30, 15:00-19:00, closed Sunday and Monday)
sells fine jewelry, some custom-made.
A small detour down via A. Gramsci to
number 11 brings you to Enoteca Arte del Bere, known as Cortinovis
(9:30-12:30, 15:30-19:30, closed Sunday and Monday morning),
where you can find highly-regarded regional wines like Barolo,
Barbaresco, Nebbiolo, Gattinara and Dolcetto, the local sweet cherry
liquor Ratafià di Andorno, and an assortment of regional sweets like
Canestrelli di Borgofranco or Bicciolani di Vercelli.
Back in Via Italia, at number 13/a you
will find the known
(9:30-12:30, 15:30-19:30, closed Sunday and Monday morning).
Keep on strolling up via Italia, and
stop for a drink or a cup of cioccolata (hot chocolate) at Caffè
(7:30-20:00, closed Wednesday)
at number 43, at the corner of via S. Filippo, where the entrance is
located. The bar dates from 1842, and the wood paneling of the interior
room from 1919.
west on via S. Filippo and on the right at number 16 you will find
(8:00-12:30, 16:00-19:00, closed Sunday and Monday),
the best food store in town. It’s worth browsing, and I can guarantee
that it will be hard for you to leave without buying something
scrumptious to bring home! (Note: meat products and fresh fruits are not
allowed in the U.S.; consult the USDA website for the latest).
piazza Martiri della Libertà 4/a (11:00-20:00 or
23:00 based on weather, closed Wednesday), makes
one of the better tasting gelato in downtown Biella. Highly recommended,
watch out: it is addictive!
For everyday Italian foods like pastas, sauces, etc.,
(Monday 12:00-21:00; Tuesday-Saturday 8:00-21:00; closed most Sundays)
is conveniently located in the shopping area next to the hotel Agorà.
Biella is a center of textile production in Italy, and
several companies have opened outlet stores, where pricing are usually
better than Italian retail and a bargain in comparison with North
American pricing. Here’s a selection of recommended stores:
In Biella and immediate area
via Bengasi 8, 3½ blocks southeast of hotel Agorà, tel. 015 20441
(9:00-13:00, 15:00-19:30, closed Sunday).
Offers a selection of very fine cashmere sweaters at outstanding value.
Sport offers two outlets: one is in town next to its world
viale Cesare Battisti 28, 7 blocks north of hotel Agorà near the end
of via Italia, tel. 015 23138 (Monday 15:00-19:30;
Tuesday-Friday 9:30-12:30, 15:00-19:30; Saturday 9:30-19:30; closed
Sunday). This has a better selection of nicer
clothes. The other one, at
strada Trossi 8, Verrone, Tel. 015 582-1541
(Monday 15:00-19:30; Tuesday-Friday 9:30-12:30, 15:00-19:30; Saturday
9:30-19:30; closed Sunday), has a much bigger
surface but is more focused on lower-end goods.
strada Trossi, Sandigliano, tel. 015 249-6199
(9:00-19:00, closed Sunday). Sells luxury items
such as Ermenegildo Zegna and Agnona (women’s wear) branded items, as
well as Gucci and others. The selection is a hit-or-miss, and prices are
still elevated, but the lure of the brand name is there.
Modesto Bertotto (MB Retail Srl),
strada Trossi 31, Verrone, tel. 015 255-7094
(Sunday and Monday 15:00-19:00, Tuesday-Saturday 10:00-19:00).
Manufacturer of fine woven products since 1889 has a vast selection of
suits, jackets, pants, gowns etc. in super-fine wools (super 120s, super
150s), cashmere, and other fine-fibers at prices a fraction of what you
would pay them in the U.S. They also carry shirts and shoes, and sell
their fine fabric by the meter (yard).
Nouveau Nè (River Srl),
Via Papa Giovanni XXIII 96, Cerrione, tel. 015 258-3651/-3653
(10:00-19:00, closed Sunday and Monday). Carries
all sorts of kid’s clothing with a vast selection of colors and some
accessories. Ages from newly born trough teenager.
Via Repubblica 20, Masserano, tel 015 980790/980286/980326 or 800
010199 (Monday-Saturday 9:00-12:00, 15:00-19:30;
Sunday 15:00-19:30), has a huge variety of
high-quality formal wear (jackets, coats, pants, dresses, even furs) and
casual wear (including sweaters) at discounted prices.
If you’re traveling South towards the Ligurian coast,
or if you’re making a detour, you can find a large
Center with over 150 stores in
Serravalle Scrivia, which is about 1:30 away from Biella. Stores
include Prada, Trussardi, Versace, Ferragamo, Etro, Brioni, Dolce &
Gabbana, Sergio Tacchini, Marzotto, Malo, Luciano Barbera, Aspesi,
Bulgari (jewelry), Fratelli Rossetti (shoes), Frette, Geox; click
for a printable list and map of the stores (in Italian). Tel 0143
609000. (Open Mo-Fr 10:00-19:00, Sa-Su
you purchase more than €155 in a store in the same day
(multiple items/multiple purchases OK) and don't reside in the EU, you
may be entitled to a refund of the value added tax (VAT) if you take
these items unused outside the EU. Most stores use the services
provided by a third party processor such as
Global Refund, which by following the appropriate procedure at
customs, allows you get about 11% of your purchase back. Don’t forget to
ask the shop about this money-saving service, as shops need to issue the
appropriate paperwork on the same day of sale.