Who we are (eng.)

Since 1985 the Centro per la Documentazione e Tutela della Cultura Biellese ("DocBi") has worked with the purpose of "ensuring the recovery and safeguarding of Biella's identity, along with the knowledge, the documentation and the keeping of Biella's culture and environment from the following different points of view: history, traditions, customs, art, architecture, landscape, literature, material culture, etc.". Supported by a qualified voluntary service, in collaboration with a group of specialists in several fields of repairs and research, DocBi has partnered with local administrations, superintendents of cultural heritage and also with research centres and Universities.
In 1993, DocBi acquired the patrimony and the moral heritage of Centro Studi Biellesi, founded in 1961, and therefore changed its name to DocBi-Centro Studi Biellesi.

Cultural Resources Preservation

The careful work of DocBi to preserve the cultural resources of Biella area is evidenced by more than 170 repairs completed.
Thanks to the collaboration of local administrations, companies and service clubs, important works of art have been restored. Among these, the baroque altar of San Teonesto at Masserano, fifteenth - century frescoes at Sostegno and several seventeenth - century paintings.
Furthermore, cultural resources once considered "minor", are catalogued, studied and safeguarded as follows: religious wall paintings, pictorial votive offerings kept in several sanctuaries of Biella area and votive pillars, expression of that popular religiousness which has deeply marked the life of our past generations.

Industrial Archaeology

The study of "industrial heritage" is one of the main fields of research for our association.
Besides the setting up of many exhibitions, our activity is directed to the survey of several factories, to the study of industrial archives (some of which have been saved and catalogued), and to the collection of oral sources, essential to go researching particularly interesting subjects, like "the paths of workers".
But our work is not limited to studies and researches. Also included in this field of study, we try to contribute directly to safeguarding some interesting places, like the “Factory of the wheel” at Pray and the Hemp Beater at Rialmosso.
Further, in collaboration with the Polytechnic Institute of Turin, DocBi is planning the route of industrial archaeology called “The Road of the Wool” that, through several meaningful places, will link Biella to Borgosesia.

The Workroom Museum of Mortigliengo

At Mezzana Mino, not far from the "Outdoor Museum of Contemporary Art" created at Bonda, the Workroom Museum of Mortigliengo rose. It was set up in a house built in 1807 and completely restored.
In this museum, which is part of the "Ecomuseum of Biella Province", objects connected with the material culture are shown accompanied by the techniques once used in essential activities of Mortigliengo's rural economy. These are reproposed with the intention of revitalizing them, and include the walnut oil preparation, the chestnut cultivation, the hemp cultivation and weaving as well as several others.
The Museum of Mortigliengo will be linked to the Factory of the Wheel in the context of a route that, including the ex Mill Susta at Soprana, will allow us to retrace several steps of the Biella area's industrial development.

The Church of San Germano

The ancient parish Church of Tollegno, that was defined as "one of the Biella area's most remarkable buildings", was bought by our association with the purpose of saving it from the gradual structural decay.
The dedication to San Germano attests to the ancient origin of this holy building that was probably enlarged during the XII century, as the romanesque bell-tower suggests.
During the Renaissance, the church was rebuilt in its present forms, with a nave, two aisles and a polygonal apse.
After the roof collapsed in the 1970s, it seems that the destiny of the church, long since deserted, was already written. But the beginning of the repair process prevented its complete decay. Most recently, a temporary roof has been constructed, in order to preserve the remains of the ancient frescoes.
It is our present hope that with the collaboration of several local administrations and associations, we can continue restoring and preserving this building of great historical and artistic interest, until the restoration process is completed.

The "Upper Sessera Valley" Project

The territory of Upper Sessera Valley has important environmental, ethnographic and cultural characteristics that have yet to be studied in detail.
This "project" aims at studying and discovering, through publications, exhibitions and conferences, the Upper Valley historical, geological, naturalistic and environmental aspects, analysing even its potential resources from productive, touristic and sporting points of view.

The "Rich Art" Project

The "Rich Art" Project, coordinated by Carlo Gavazzi and Mauro Mazzia, intends to promote the knowledge of modern and contemporary sculpture through documentation and spreading of news about lives and works of both Biella area sculptors, as well as sculptors from outside our area, but who still operated in our province.

The Bessa Project

In 1997, with the assistance of Alberto Vaudagna, DocBi created a study plan concerning the Bessa area, which included wall structures and heaps of pebbles of the ancient roman mines.
The project main focus was to catalogue the erratic blocks with more than 600 engravings, mainly hemispheric shaped, commonly called "cup marks". In addition, during the research, an anthropomorphous stele was discovered.
Moreover, at the conclusion of the works, an archaeological map of Bessa was elaborated upon, and through a GPS survey, several Bessa findings were pointed out.

The Park of "Arbo" (Dialectal form of the Word "Chestnuts") at Riabella

The park of chestnuts was realized in collaboration with local Pro Loco, at Riabella, in the Mountain Community "La Bursch", always well - known for the extention and the quality of its chestnut groves.
In a locality called "Sa' di Vegge", a few hundreds of meters from the village, at an altitude of about 850 meters, some plurisecular chestnuts are preserved and clustered in an area of about one hectare, crossed by a mule track that leads to sienite quarries and then to San Paolo Cervo.
The dimensions of some of these chestnuts are remarkable, in so far as the trunk circumference of the biggest one measures more than seven meters, while another chestnut exceeds, at its base, eleven meters. Even the other "arbo" are so imposing that their whole is by now a rare example of the typical Biella area environment reminiscent of the time when there existed the "civilization of the Chestnut", which in present day is being rediscovered.
The park of "Arbo" is linked to the inhabited center by a route along which varied ethnographic and environmental aspects - like the "casit" (chestnuts dryers), the hemp rettery, etc. - are pointed out.

The Ethnographical Route Cerale - Bocchetto Sessera

Along the ancient mule track that rises from Cerale of Camandona to Bocchetto Sessera, through didactic panels, some activities that till few decades ago characterized the mountain people's economy and life, have been reconstructed and described. These include the production of vegetable coal, the sand and stone pits, the transhumance, the beekeeping, the chestnut cultivation, as well as several others.
Besides the ethnographic aspects, some ecological and naturalistic peculiarities of the mountain environment were also pointed out along the route.

The "Transhumance Project"

In 2004, a study project dedicated to transhumance was initiated with an objective of deepening the ethnographical, historical, artistic and archaeological aspects of this thousand year tradition, by studying medieval routes, cadastal maps, wall paintings and pictorial votive offerings.
Inside the "Transhumance Project" the researches of Alberto Vaudagna are placed within the "Upper Valleys Project". Archaeological campaigns in the Biella Alps aim to identify traces of ancient human presence, correlated to the initial stage of the settlement in mountain pastures area, between 1000 and 2000 meters of altitude. The research consists of ground analyses, the cataloguing work and the GPS survey of archaeological findings, along with the elaboration of a digital archaeological map.


Since the year 2000, an original event called "Transhumancing" takes place, organized in collaboration with Zegna Oasis and the Mountain Communities of Valle di Mosso and Valsessera. "Transhumancing" is a day spent following an herd, from Cerale of Camandona up to Bocchetto Sessera, along the road of the Alps. This event is included in the task of rediscovering, promoting and making known the world of the alp and its traditions, which is an essential elements of Biella's identity.

(translated by Elisabetta De Biasio)

Aderisci al DocBi. Sosterrai concretamente la nostra azione di tutela e valorizzazione del territorio biellese

Il 5 per mille al DocBi. La tua firma (che non costa nulla) a vantaggio del territorio, per ripartire attraverso la cultura

P. IVA 01483110027

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