Minimum scheduling and loads of nature: such are the ingredients of a camper holiday, the perfect way to travel for people who love nature and the sensation of freedom they have when sleeping on the edge of an enchanting forest.
Oasi Zegna is the ideal destination for camper folk. The Piazzale 2 service area in Bielmonte, on the Panoramica Zegna Road, offers wonderful views across the upper Valsessera, as well as all the necessary services (showers, dishwashing facility, utility connections). Also in this service area, Bar Wing Over is ideal for evening drinks and dinner.
The “backbone” of this holiday is the 26 km Panoramica Zegna Road.
We recommend driving the full length of the road in your camper to get an overview of our territory and then repeat the journey in the following ten stages, which represent the essence of Oasi Zegna.
1. CASA ZEGNA
Casa Zegna is in the Zegna Wool Mill in Trivero, at the start of the Panoramica. It is Oasi Zegna’s cultural and exhibition center and also houses Ermenegildo Zegna’s historical archives. Visit ‘From Sheep to Shop’, an exhibition on the history of Zegna Group (opening hours and dates at www.casazegna.org), and the temporary exhibition of documentation on Zegna Forest, a new project to renew Oasi Zegna’s woodland that you can actually see in progress along the Panoramica.
2. LA CONCA DEI RODODENDRI
This is a landscaped garden in the mountains created in the Fifties by architect Pietro Porcinai and recently extended by Paolo Pejrone. Beautiful in every season, it becomes a breath-taking spectacle in spring when the rhododendrons blossom. In it, sine 2014, is a steel and glass pavilion, a site-specific work created by the American artist Dan Graham for “ALL’APERTO”, a public art project promoted by Fondazione Zegna. Parking available near the cemetery, where there’s a splendid view across the plains.
3. SANTUARIO DI SAN BERNARDO
One of the most panoramic positions in Oasi Zegna, this is 7 km along the Panoramica, just after the alpine chapel, from which a signposted path (7) goes up to Santuario di San Bernardo. It’s an easy 30 minute walk that can also be done by mountain bike. The Sanctuary is a little over 1,400 meters above sea level, but you feel on top of the world, with the 360° panorama from the Ligurian Apennines to the Alps and across the plains of the Po valley. It’s advisable to park at Stavello.
4. MONTE ROSA VIEW
Farther along the Panoramica, there’s another spectacular view: the imposing Monte Rosa massif, visible from Bocchetta di Margosio. Apart from the magnificent panorama, we also recommend taking a culinary break at the AgriChiosco.
This is a skiing resort built by Ermenegildo Zegna in 1957. In the green season it’s a splendid panoramic point, especially if you take the Monte Marca single-seat chairlift up to Rifugio Monte Marca, a mountain hut at 1,620 m asl. Another pleasant surprise here is Elena’s cooking: stop for lunch and order the “Sacocce di Fra Dolcino”. And to return to Bielmonte, try the Rolba Run for wheel bobs, a 640 meter descent, all bends, an exciting alternative to the chairlift. Yet another idea for lunch in Bielmonte: the Albergo Ristorante Bucaneve, where chef Ernesto Tonetto has devised a menu that also has fish dishes, a novelty in the Oasi Zegna uplands. A final tip, for those wishing to (temporarily) abandon their camper for 2-wheeled transport: at Chalet Bielmonte you can hire mountain bikes (and pedelecs), the best way to discover the Upper Valsessera.
6. UPPER VALSESSERA
This is the wildest part of Oasi Zegna, inhabited by deer and roe deer (and the rare and protected Carabus olympiae, a beetle). It has hiking and mountain bike paths linking the grazing grounds, panoramic points and old mining sites, thus enabling you to walk or ride from Valsessera as far as Valsesia on the 20 km road between Bocchetto Sessera and Alpe di Mera.
7. FOREST OF SMILES
Trees are good for our health. And make us happy. As you can find out in the Forest of Smiles, on a route from Bocchetto Sessera (camper park) into Upper Valesessera. It was designed by bioenergetics expert Marco Nieri, who studied the trees in this area and put up signs along the path indicating the effects that larch, fir, birch and beech trees have on our energy and psycho-physical system. Effects that vary the species of tree that we can not only read about but actually breathe in and live on this easy walk (4.6 km), which also has pleasant rest areas with stone benches and large size cedar wood books featuring forest-inspired tales engraved in them.
8. STONE HUT HIKE: THE ALPE ARTIGNAGA WAY
From Bocchetto Sessera, path 16 (also for mtb) takes us up, in an hour, to one of the most beautiful grazing grounds in Oasi Zegna, Alpe Artignaga, which will surprise you with its typical stone huts (called tegge and recently renovated) nestling in an ample depression beneath the massive Cima delle Guardie. In winter, the Artignaga Way is a favorite with cross-country skiers, who have several trails starting out from Bocchetto Sessera.
9. POLENTA IN THE HUT AND A DIP IN THE STREAM
A genuine mountain hut, at 1,100 meters, in Upper Valsessera (open from June to October and hosting parties and events all summer, including September), the Rifugio Piana del Ponte sleeps 24 people. On the menu: polenta and various local dishes, and homemade bread and cakes. It can be reached on foot or bike on a mostly downhill path from Bocchetto Sessera, along the trail marked as F10, which follows the banks of the Sessera to reach Piana del Ponte in 35 minutes (walking). To cool off on arrival, there are three small natural swimming pools in the stream by the hut.
10. VALLE CERVO
From Bocchetto Sessera, the Panoramica Zegna Road descends towards Valle Cervo, creating new impressions as the landscape changes, becoming harsher and craggier. Modelled by glaciers and the stream it’s named for, Valle Cervo is the only valley in the Biella area that’s truly alpine in appearance, the mountains here being hard and grey, like the magmatic rocks, including syenite, that characterize it. Don’t miss the villages of Sassaia and Rosazza, the latter having interesting architecture and an air of mystery due to the presence of certain esoteric and Masonic symbols.