Panoramica Zegna, Italy by Massimo Ruggerone

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Picture Story

Some years ago I have owned a house in the upper Biella area where I spend the summer months. In early November, I prepare the house for the winter: the last cut of the lawn, the care of the garden plants, the emptying of the water pipes to prevent them from freezing. Returning home, I generally travel along a stretch of road called "Panoramica Zegna". It is a path of about 20 km built in 1938 by the textile industrialist Ermenegildo Zegna which crosses a large area used as a park called "Oasi Zegna. The maximum altitude that can be reached is the Bocchetto Sessera, at about 1400m. It is a an area rarely visited in the autumn months, unlike the winter months which see tourists on the ski slopes, but which has a particular charm due to the color of the vegetation that changes every day. These places hide a grim history dating back to the Middle Ages, cited by Dante Alighieri in the Divine Comedy. On these mountains the heretic Fra Dolcino took refuge with 3000 followers.

The Bishop of Vercelli engaged in battle and all the rebels were murdered, Fra Dolcino was captured, tortured and burned alive at the stake. You can still see the remains of the fortifications erected by the heretics in their defense. This area finally assumes particular importance for a geological aspect: "here there is in fact the"Insubric Line", a geosuture created following the clash between the European and African tectonic plates. During the Jurassic era, the ocean Tethys separated Africa from Europe. The African plate then moved north, towards the European one. This movement led to the progressive closure of the Tetide and, finally, to the actual clash between the two clods that gave rise to the insubric line. Here you can stay practically between Africa and Europe


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