Panoramica Zegna: a journey in 10 stages

From Trivero to Valle Cervo: the most beautiful mountain huts and villages, paths and panoramas along the road built by Ermenegildo Zegna

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In Trivero, gateway to Oasi Zegna at the start of the Panoramica, stop and visit this cultural center and exhibition facility opened in 2003 in the grounds of the Zegna Wool Mill, in a Thirties building that was part of the family’s home. Throughout the year it organizes a program of exhibitions, workshops for kids and other events, as well as housing the Ermenegildo Zegna historical archives and their invaluable fabric sample collections, books, documents, photos and videos: a 100 year journey through its industrial and entrepreneurial history. Info: 
A garden in the mountains, a landscaped artwork designed in the Fifties by architect Pietro Porcinai and recently expanded by Paolo Pejrone, where nature is a spectacle every spring with the explosion of variously colored rhododendrons that has earned it the title of “most beautiful blossoming in Italy” and every year, in May, makes this little valley in the 4th bend on the Panoramica Zegna the most visited attraction in Oasi Zegna. Since 2014, the Conca dei Rododendri has been home to a glass and steel pavilion, a site-specific work that American artist Dan Graham produced for the “ALL’APERTO” public art project promoted by Fondazione Zegna. Another six installations, including Daniel Buren’s colored flags flapping on the panoramic terraces of the Zegna Wool Mill, can be admired in other parts of Trivero.  

7 km along the Panoramica, just after an “Alpini” chapel, is the start of a signposted path (no. 7) up to Santuario di San Bernardo, on the top of Monte Rubello (now called San Bernardo). This is an easy and immensely pleasing walk, a mere half hour, partly in the shade of conifers, which is also possible on a mountain bike. At just over 1,400 meters above sea level, the Sanctuary seems to be on the roof of the world, with a 360° view ranging over the Ligurian Apennines, the Alps and the Po valley plains. One of the most panoramic points in the entire Oasi Zegna.

Continuing along the Panoramica, we have another spectacular vision: the daunting massif of the Monte Rosa group that comes into view at the Bocchetta di Margosio. There’s another reason, beyond the magnificent panorama, for stopping off here: the goat cheeses at Alpe Margosio. Cacio ricotta, caprino fresco and other raw milk products at a family run farmstay/dairy, which also has a lovely outdoor kiosk where you can stock up on cheeses and/or lunch on platters and craft beers, whilst enjoying the awesome view. In the warm season, Alpe Margosio also organizes visits to see the milking and dairy process and enjoy the alpine pasture experience.  

Build a ski resort from scratch, a place to take kids skiing in “Biella’s mountains”: this was the dream of Ermenegildo Zegna that gave rise to Bielmonte. A dream that came true in 1957, when the first ski-lifts, including the one at Monte Marca, entered service. That one, albeit single-seat, is still working and takes you up to the refuge of the same name at 1,620 meters. The panorama awaiting you on the hut’s sunny terrace is spectacular, but there’s another nice surprise, Elena’s cooking. Stop for lunch and order some “Sacocce di Fra Dolcino”, one of her specialties. And to return to Bielmonte, don’t be afraid of trying the Rolba Run for "mini-bobs" with wheels, a 640 meter downhill course full of bends, an exhilarating alternative to the chairlift. Another idea for lunch at Bielmonte is Albergo Bucaneve’s restaurant. A final tip for 2-wheel fans: Chalet Bielmonte hires out mountain bikes, the best way to discover the Upper Valsessera.  

This is the wildest part of Oasi Zegna, inhabited by deer, roe deer and the protected rare beetle species Carabus olympiae. It’s crossed by trekking paths and mountain bike trails connecting alpine grazing grounds, panoramic view points and old mining sites. Only on foot or on two wheels is it possible to cross from Valsessera into Valsesia, along a 20 km road separating Bocchetto Sessera from Alpe di Mera. Upper Valsessera also falls within the confines of the Sesia Valgrande Geopark, one of the 10 Italian geoparks recognized by Unesco. 

Trees are good for us. They make us happy. It’s what you discover in the Forest of Smiles, which extends from Bocchetto Sessera, about half way along the Panoramica Zegna, into Upper Valsessera. The route was designed by bioenergetics expert Marco Nieri, who studied the plants in the area and has put up info boards along the path to explain the effects that larch, fir, birch and beech can have on our energy and psycho-physical systems. Influxes that differ with the type of trees, which we can not only read about here but breathe in and experience on the easy 4.6 km walk. There are pleasant rest areas with stone seats and big cedar wood “books” on which forest-inspired tales are carved (great for kids).  

An hour’s walk from Bocchetto Sessera on path 16 (OK for mtb too) takes you up to one of the most beautiful alpine pastures in Oasi Zegna. Alpe Artignaga surprises with its renovated stone huts (called tegge) in an ample basin beneath the towering Cima delle Guardie. Artignaga in winter is a favorite route with cross-country skiers, who have various trails leading up from Bocchetto Sessera.  

An authentic mountain refuge, at 1,100 meters, in Upper Valsessera, open from June to October and animated by festivals and other events all summer through to the end of September. It sleeps 24. To eat, polenta and other typical dishes, and homemade bread and cakes. This hut (Rifugio Piana del Ponte) can be reached by a mostly descending path from Bocchetto Sessera, or by leaving a car at Casa del Pescatore and taking path F10 along the banks of the Sessera to Piana del Ponte (35 minutes). To cool off on arrival, you can bathe in the stream, in three natural pools, near the hut.    

From Bocchetto Sessera, the Panoramica Zegna descends into a different world, the landscape changing into something harsher and more vertical. Shaped by glaciers and its eponymous stream, Valle Cervo is the only valley in the Biella area with true alpine characteristics. It’s hard, grey terrain characterized by igneous rocks, including syenite. Visit the village of Rosazza, which has interesting architecture and an atmosphere of mystery due to certain esoteric (masonic) symbols that can be seen.  

Oasi Zegna
Trivero (BI)
+39 340 1989593

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