It was in 1938 that Ermenegildo Zegna started to build a road to open up the mountain territory above Trivero, now a protected nature reserve called Oasi Zegna.
This year is the 80th anniversary of the Panoramica Zegna, a road that’s worth the trip in its own right, not only for its breath-taking views across the Po valley plains and the upper Valsessera or the natural beauty of Oasi Zegna but also for its history. It was between the two wars that Ermenegildo Zegna decided, out of love of nature and his native territory, to breathe new life into the mountains above Trivero. To do so though, he had to make them accessible, rescue them from isolation, but not only. It was also necessary to put back into that difficult terrain some of the color that the pastures had blocked out and offer its inhabitants a new future by reviving the traditional economy and introducing mountain tourism. Construction of the first section of the Panoramica Zegna, linking the eastern Biella area to Valle Cervo, with a height gain of 750 meters from the Centro Zegna in Trivero to the 1,500 meters of Bielmonte, was commenced in 1938. A grand enterprise that also marked the beginning of a wider program of territorial development and environmental conservation leading eventually, in 1993 (but already clearly delineated in Ermengildo Zegna’s mind in the ‘30s), to the creation of Oasi Zegna.
From the very outset, the road-building project coincided with a transformation of the mountain landscape that did not disfigure the natural environment but strengthened its hydrogeological defenses and enhanced its aesthetic appeal with the planting of over 500,000 conifers and hundreds of rhododendrons, azaleas and hydrangeas. By 1952 the road had wound its way up the slopes to the foot of Monte Marca, where the Bielmonte ski resort has been active since 1957. In under 20 years Ermengildo Zegna built not just a road but a vital system offering a network of paths, knolls, spectacular views, accommodation and recreational facilities.
After his death in 1966, work continued on the Panoramica Zegna to take it down towards the Cervo (reaching Valmosca in 1977) and on to Santuario di Oropa and Andrate. Taking the Panoramica is still the best way in fact to visit Oasi Zegna and discover the beauty and characteristics of this unique territory. A journey through time and nature.