Special Nature Reserve Burcina Park “Felice Piacenza”

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

La Burcina is a park-garden in Pollone, province of Biella, built on the “Brich Burcina”, a hill close to the Prealps of Biella. The origins of the garden date back to the mid-XIX century when the industrial entrepreneur Giovanni Piacenza (1811-1883), began acquiring the land on the south and west slopes of the hill: he wanted to create an informal park, according to the popular taste.
He planted several sequoias, Atlas cedars (Cedrus atlantica), Eastern white pines (Pinus strobus), and many more trees.
His son, Felice (1843-1938), bought some other land and worked in the park for almost 50 years, creating paths, planting some more trees and the spectacular valley of rhododendrons; he also built a romantic lake, the grassy areas surrounded by woods, the beech forest, the avenue of tulip trees, and the Mediterranean area.
In 1950, his son Enzo (1892-1968) – as per his father’s will – had the new entrance built by the landscape architect Pietro Porcinai from Florence.

Guido, the son of Enzo, is a great botanist as well and is currently the president of the Park Authority.
Since 1934, the park has been owned by the Municipality of Biella which has expanded the surface to 140 acres and in 1980, the Piedmont Region established the Special Nature Reserve of the Burcina “Felice Piacenza”; since then, it has continued to fund new facilities, including an apple orchard and the construction of a didactical area.

The park

A large wood of broad-leaved trees typical of the local environments includes beeches, chestnuts, maples, ashes, oaks, cherry and birch trees. It surrounds the very ornamental area, where plants are apparently scattered with no particular arrangement, but they actually mimick what happens in the wild: there are groves, meadows, large isolated trees, farmhouses, flower clearings, green barriers and perspective views on the plains and the mountains in the background.

Many exotic conifers and broad-leaved trees are present in the wood, including the handkerchief trees (Davidia involucrata), tulip trees (Liriodendron tulpifera), several cultivars of beeches, rowans and maples, flowering cherry trees, pines, firs, larches, sequoias, cypresses, a collection of ancient roses, and above all a wondrous collection of rhododendrons (Rhododendron spp.); the latter covers a basin of about 5 acres, which looks absolutely spectacular during the flowering season – between May and June.

In the meadows, crocuses, daffodils, violets, and common heather (Calunna vulgaris) bloom from March to October, while in December-January, visitors can admire the enchanting Prunus x subhirtella “Autumnalis”.

An orchard has been recently built with the aim of recovering and safeguarding several ancient apple varieties.

The Special Nature Reserve of the Burcina Park is also an ideal resting place for migratory species, sedentary birds and small mammals, which can find peace, shelter, nourishment and protection – hunting has no longer been practised for many years.

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)


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