Lake Viverone and the UNESCO Site
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The spring-fed Lake Viverone is a wildlife refuge that offers a natural environment rich in flora and fauna of considerable interest. It is also a tourist centre that welcomes guests for quiet holidays and for many outdoor sporting activities (tennis, horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, and fishing) in addition to sailing on the lake.
Inserted in the system of "Prehistoric Pile Dwellings around the Alps", the archaeological site of Viverone is included in the list of UNESCO sites.
Protected by the waters at a depth of between 2 and 3m, located between Viverone and Azeglio at 70 m from the lake's only artificial emissary, the site consists of the lower parts of more than 5,000 piles that supported the structures of a large circular village about 70 m in diameter.
The environment surrounding the site, a charming area of marshes, meadows, and poplar trees, is protected by specific Italian and European environmental standards.
The village is a great example of a the structure of a Bronze age city. Cabins, fences, and paths were made of wood, and the preserved remains allow us to reconstruct the structure with precision. Inside the village, there were homes and pens for the animals. We can also recognize two fences that surround the village, crossed by a long trail that came from the mainland. Indeed, it should be remembered that prehistoric pile dwellings were not built in the middle of the water, but on the shores of the lakes: the floors were raised to protect the inhabitants from humidity in the soil and sudden floods.
During research campaigns, a large quantity of artefacts (especially swords, axes, brooches and other jewellery) have been found that allow us to reconstruct the life of a community of the middle Bronze age, between 1650 and 1350 BC. The specimens are preserved in the Museum of Antiquities in Turin and the Museum of the Biellese Territory.
It is important to remember that the Via Francigena crosses Viverone and continues in the Biellese region towards Roppolo and Cavaglia along the landscapes of the Serra, the largest morainic hill in Europe, immersed in scenery of hills and areas of fine wines, such as Erbaluce DOCG and Canavese DOC.