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Biella- La Marmora Palace

Foto La Marmora Palace -  of historical value  of artistic value
Foto La Marmora Palace -  of historical value  of artistic value
Foto La Marmora Palace -  of historical value  of artistic value
Foto La Marmora Palace -  of historical value  of artistic value
Foto La Marmora Palace -  of historical value  of artistic value
Show to visit in the Biella area:
Places  of historical value  of artistic value in the Biella area: La Marmora PalaceLa Marmora Palace, which has always been the property of the Ferrero della Marmora family, is located in the Piazzo quarter and represents one of the most prestigious buildings in Biella. The palace can be visited for a fee, to admire its numerous halls rich of decorations, paintings and objects of historical relevance, the square tower and the large garden with a panoramic view over Biella and the plain. For information: Palace and Visits.

It is difficult to say exactly when the first version of the palace was built. However, it is known, based on available documents, that the Ferreros already owned land in the Piazzo district as early as the mid-fifteenth century. The octagonal Masserano tower dates back to that first period and was built by Sebastiano Ferrero, one of the most prominent figures of the family, feudal lord, politician and diplomat linked to the Savoy and who lived between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. He was responsible for the octagonal tower. It should be noted that this tower never had a defensive function. Indeed, legend has it that Sebastiano Ferrero, long-time minister in Milan at the time of Ludovico il Moro, when he returned to Biella let it build in order to be able to see, at least from afar, the spires of the Cathedral of Milan under construction.
During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the palace was enlarged through the progressive merging of adjacent buildings and their renovation.
It was in 1789 that the structure still visible today was given to the palace. The grand staircase and the neoclassical style façade date back to this period.
The eighteenth-century interventions on the palace were commissioned to the architect Filippo Castelli of Turin by the Marquis Celestino Ferrero della Marmora.
Originally the palace was part of a single large property which included four different architectural nuclei: Palace Ferrero of Masserano with the octagonal tower, Palace Ferrero della Marmora (commonly known, in fact, as La Marmora Palace), the Church of San Sudario and House Braja, located between Palace Ferrero of Masserano and the church. The ownership then broke up, with Palace Ferrero in particular being sold to the Municipality of Biella at the beginning of the twentieth, with the exception of the octagonal tower, which remained the property of the La Marmora family.

The overall structure of Palace La Marmora is complex and includes five courtyards, buildings from various periods for a total of approx. 6000m2, the large garden, the aforementioned octagonal tower and a square panoramic tower.
The building is located along the main street of the Piazzo district and the property overlooks the steep slope that connects the Piazzo district with Biella Piano, the lower part of Biella. Unlike the other buildings on the same side of the street, it is however set back, with a large garden on the side that looks towards the lower city. In fact, this garden appears almost like a large panoramic terrace, being surrounded by the building on the other three sides.
The façade of the eighteenth century in neoclassical style facing the street follows the course of this one. With only two floors, it cannot be easily appreciated due to the narrow width of the street. Above the portal there is the only balcony. At the top of the central part there is a large pediment containing, in an oval frame surrounded by garlands, the coat of arms of the Ferrero La Marmora family.

Entrance courtyard
Entering through the door you enter a courtyard apparently square, but in reality with an irregular trapezoidal shape (Fig. 1). On the side wall of the loggia in front of the entrance there is a detached fragment of a painting on wood from the first decade of the fifteenth century, attributed to the Master of the Braccioli Chapel and depicting a Madonna with Child holding a goldfinch in his hand i>. Originally the painting was located in Florence, in the Alberti family oratory dedicated to the Blessed Virgin of Graces, on the Rubaconte bridge.
Below is a description of the various rooms following the probable route of the visit.

Fireplace Hall
(Fig. 3) Equipped with a lowered groined vault, it is so called due to the presence of a large seventeenth century fireplace in red marble engraved with the Ferrero motto: Non nobis domine sed nomini tuo da gloriam.
At the center of one of the walls thre is a large fan-shaped family tree from around the mid-seventeenth century of the Florentine branch Alberti family. At the base of the tree trunk there is a detailed landscape that couldn't be well identified.
It includes 272 names of male members of the family, from 1100 to 1649. In addition, there are 87 women in the family tree by virtue of marriage to male members.
The frame is valuable, characterized by a golden chain decoration on a blue background, to which decorative plant-themed elements are added externally.
On the walls there are also various paintings depicting family members.
Hall of Castles
The name of the room derives from the fact that the ceiling frescoes (from the first quarter of the seventeenth century) include numerous depictions of castles. In fact, inside the sails and lunettes of the vault are depicted 32 localities in the Biella area and of other neighboring areas that had feudal ties with the Ferrero La Marmora family, all of which possessed castles or fortifications at the time.
In the center of the vault there is the oldest historical depiction of Biella. In it the village of Piazzo with the Masserano Tower, the city surrounded by walls and the Cervo stream are recognisable.
At the base of the vault runs, along most part of the walls, a band with the coats of arms of the families who are linked to the Ferrero La Marmora family through marriage bonds from the fifteenth century to today.
On the walls there are numerous paintings depicting family members. Next to the fireplace there is another large family tree. At the base of it are depicted, on the left, the Galluzzo Charterhouse in Florence, on the right Biella, with the Masserano Tower highlighted.
Green Hall
(Larger picture): The name comes from the color of the walls. The vault is richly decorated with grotesque frescoes painted in the first half of the seventeenth century by the painter from Assisi Girolamo Marinelli (hence the depiction of Assisi in the lunette of the French window). They were created to celebrate the union between the Solaro di Moretta and the Ferrero della Marmora families through two marriages that took place in 1623, a date in fact reported in the center of the vault. The frescoes are full of allegorical images. In particular, we recognize the allegories of Justice, Temperance, Fortitude and Prudence.
Biella is depicted in two lunettes, with the Masserano Tower and the no longer existing Church of San Domenico recognizable.
The green French "papier peint" wallpaper from the eighteenth century with symbolic representations of the five senses, the mirrors, the painted iron chandelier, the Venetian-style flooring are from the eighteenth century.
There is also no shortage of paintings of various family figures and of persons linked to the family.
Alcove Room
The name comes from the fact that it was originally a bedroom. Completely built at the end of the eighteenth century, it is characterized by the fact that it is divided into two parts: one with a marble floor and one, slightly raised, with a wooden floor, where the bed was originally located. Wallpaper and curtains are still the original ones.
The panels containing the two mirrors contain portraits of Charles Emmanuel IV, King of Sardinia, to whom the La Marmora family always remained faithful, despite the adversities linked to Napoleon's conquest of Piedmont, and of his wife, Maria Clotilde of Savoy.
Since the seventeenth century, the La Marmora family has been closely linked to the House of Savoy.
This room is also equipped with a valuable colored iron chandelier and fine wooden paving.
Hall of Mottos
Seventeenth century room. The vault is richly decorated. In the lunettes animals are depicted, each of which corresponds to a medallion containing a motto of wisdom.
Also this room is equipped with a valuable colored iron chandelier and a fine terrazzo floor, in the non-raised part.

Ballroom (or Salone Gallieri)
(Fig. 4) It is a large hall with a rectangular plan characterized by the fact that all surfaces are covered by trompe l'oeil frescoes in only two colors (gold and various shades of grey) in neoclassical style created at the end of the eighteenth century by Giovannino Gallieri.
The longer walls are occupied by a simulation of paneled boiserie, some of which depict the muses.
On the short ones there instead are two loggias delimited by fluted columns with Corinthian capitals. In one there is an ephebe playing the lyre, in the other an old man holding a winged sandglass which seems to want to escape. The latter is an allegorical representation of death and of fleeting time.
The vault of the room is surrounded at the base by a depiction of a marble balustrade from which small cherubs rise and is decorated with simulations of geometric and floral elements in relief.
It is a passageway where there are numerous portraits of historical figures connected to the family's history and some interesting furnishings, in particular two large wooden lions.
Billiard room
It originally housed a billiard table. It is currently a museum room dedicated to the four general La Marmora brothers. It contains objects linked to the lives of the four soldiers, important figures of the Italian Risorgimento.
Grand Gallery
(Fig. 5) This very elongated room was the living room of House La Marmora until 1945 and only in 2021 it was made accessible to the public. The wallpaper in two shades of dark green, the parquet floor, the light ocher vault and curtains and the gold of the stucco work and of the frames of the many paintings give the living room a very warm atmosphere. The term gallery is due both to the elongated shape and to the fact that it houses a large number of paintings, furnishings and objects linked to the history of the Ferrero La Marmora family. The canvas by Pietro Ayres from 1928, The La Marmora Family, in particular, represents an important historical testimony of the Restoration era in Piedmont.

Actually a turret, rather than a tower. It rises from the center of the building and, being open on all sides, offers a splendid 360° panoramic view.

The garden has a late Renaissance layout but today, following the changes made in the nineteenth century, it is a romantic English garden. It includes a flat part (Fig. 2), on the same level as the building and with a panoramic terrace overlooking Biella and the plain, a ramped part along the slope that descends towards Biella Piano and also a nymphaeum, which however was not possible to visit.
To the left of the garden (coming from the central body of the building) is the large winter garden, a large portico with double columns closed at the end of the nineteenth century by large windows. Inside, an entire wall is occupied by a bicentenary Ficus repens, whose branches extend through the vault to reach the opposite wall where they form festoons and plant bells.

La Marmora Palace can be visited for a fee. Furthermore, its spaces can be rented for conferences, weddings, concerts, book presentations and various types of events.
There are also three furnished apartments that can be rented as a holiday home.
For all the details, please refer to the official website of Palazzo La Marmora.

Categories: Places of historical value of artistic value

Corso del Piazzo, 19, 13900 Biella BI
La Marmora Palace: Further pictures in the section Photography
Biella (Italy): Alcove room in La Marmora Palace
Biella (Italy): Hall of the Mottos in La Marmora Palace
Biella (Italy): Hall of the Castles in La Marmora Palace
Biella (Italy): Window in the Grand Gallery of La Marmora Palace
Biella (Italy): Main entrance of La Marmora Palace from the garden
Biella (Italy): 200 years old Ficus repens in the winter garden of La Marmora Palace
Biella (Italy): Terrasse with sight over Biella in the garden of La Marmora Palace
Biella (Italy): Entrance court of La Marmora Palace
Biella (Italy): Allegory of death and fleeting time in La Marmora Palace
Biella (Italy): Ancient depiction of Biella in La Marmora Palace
Biella (Italy): Vault of the Green Hall of La Marmora Palace
Biella (Italy): Detail of the vault of the Hall of the Mottos in La Marmora Palace
Biella (Italy): View of Biella and the Biella Alps from the turret of La Marmora Palace
Biella (Italy): Red marble fireplace in La Marmora Palace
Biella (Italy): Fireplace Hall in La Marmora Palace side opposite to the fireplace