Slowland’s ricetti

Ricetti: small jewels of the past, faithful custodians of the Slowland area.

Ricetti are small, partially fortified structures typical of the medieval period, which in some cases have survived the passing centuries well. It was a protected area within which the precious assets of the agricultural community (livestock, field products, and work tools) were kept, as well as the community itself. They were composed of buildings called cellule (usually arranged on two floors, following and adjacent to one another) and narrow passages called ritane that served as aeration channels and rainwater runoffs. Between the buildings, there is a dense network of intersecting small streets, known commonly as rue.

The Slowland territory preserves some very suggestive ones registered by the Ricetti Documentation Centre of Piedmont which, with the support of the Piedmont Region, is responsible for collecting documentation and studying the ricetti of Italy and Europe (headquartered in Candelo, BI).

Albiano d’Ivrea rises at the foot of low hills that extend parallel to the left moraine chain of the Serra di Ivrea up to Lake Viverone. In the old part of the village, there are the shelters built in the fourteenth century to defend the ancient village, at that time under the control of the bishops-counts of Ivrea. The small dwellings started with a concession from the bishops, who assigned a small plot of land to each family that requested it, provided, however, that they strengthened the perimeter, maintained the ditches and took turns in guard duty. They are situated along the road that goes from the central square of Albiano to the old bishop’s castle and. In addition to acting as external fortifications, the shelters, and in particular the rooms situated on the ground floor (“cellaria”), served as a local warehouse for foodstuffs and as a shelter for people in the event of enemy aggression.

Alice Castello: the castle in Alice has undergone several renovations over the centuries, so it no longer retains some of its very ancient features. The current structure is a large construction the upper floor of which is accessed via stone stairs, where vast rooms with large windows allow you to enjoy a beautiful view of the Alps.

Dorzano is the centre of a small hill community situated on the extreme slopes of the morainic hills surrounding Lake Viverone. The antiquity of its territory is testified by its baroque churches, the remains of the medieval shelter and the prehistoric findings in the nearby Lake Bertignano.

The Ricetto of Magnano, situated on a hill from where you can enjoy a beautiful view, dominates the town and dates back to 1204 when it was built following the erection of Magnano, a borgo franco (a village exempt from tax duty). The complex, which in the Biellese area is second only to Candelo, still allows for a perfect reading of its original structure and, in part, also of the architectural characteristics, despite the numerous interventions it has undergone.

The Ricetto of Roppolo dates back to the first decades of the fifteenth century and is typical of a shelter enclosed within a noble castle, with which it shares the external defensive structures (the walls of the inner side) and the tower-door. However, as a physical structure, it is independent of the castle and was situated south-west of it.

The area of Lake Viverone, at the foot of Ivrea’s Serra Morenica, was inhabited since prehistoric times and became important in the Middle Ages due to its location along the Via Francigena. The hill is home to the shelter, built by the population after 1405, in the area behind the ancient castle, which today is far from the current town.

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