Biella has made it: it’s officially UNESCO Creative City
The news is from yesterday late afternoon: the wool city is part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in the “Crafts and Folk Art” category. Let’s find out all the details of this important achievement for the Biellese territory.

Biella, 30th October. The city is enveloped in autumnal fog. It’s drizzling. Yesterday could have been a day like many other for the Piedmontese city, but it wasn’t: all of a sudden an item of news arrived. Biella is officially UNESCO Creative City. The announcement immediately livened the city up: joy, satisfaction, pride. Its colours were bright like the ones of Michelangelo Pistoletto’s symbol of the Third Paradise chosen as the official logo for the candidacy. And as Fabrizio De André used to sing in one of his songs, Bocca di rosa, “somewhat different news doesn’t need newspapers, it shoots like an arrow from a bow, quickly flying from mouth to mouth”. Yesterday too, news of this acknowledgement spread fast across the city. Nothing promiscuous as in Faber’s song, still the whole of Biella got to know about it in a flash.

The smartphone was in this case the medium: exchanges on WhatsApp, chats among colleagues, friends and family members, formal emails. It doesn’t matter how, the news hit like a wave, spreading everywhere; Biellese people of any age were cheering; like a spark, it ignited a sense of belonging as strong as never before. Somebody was wondering: “Is it true? Is it official?”. Yes: on the UNESCO’s site the entry headed UNESCO celebrates World Cities Day designating 66 new Creative Cities was confirming it. Their website has in fact published a list in alphabetical order including the wool city: Biella (Italy) – Crafts and Folk Art. Great joy? Definitely. An unexpected event? Not really. A claim not made out of arrogance or excessive self-confidence: the city believed in it and was really hoping it would happen. It was partly expecting it and definitely deserving it. An achievement that has rewarded the full commitment of a territory that has worked for a year united as never before for a common goal, supported by the enthusiastic endorsement of Piedmont’s governor Alberto Cirio, who has strongly advocated the inclusion of Biella as third Piedmontese city after Turin and Alba. Bergamo has also made it into the network (for its gastronomical tradition), which has left out Como and Trieste.

“I am very pleased with this extraordinary success, which rewards our strong commitment – commented Franco Ferraris, president of Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Biella – Biella really has great potential, not only in the textile sector, our territory is in fact full of attractions that this acknowledgement will allow us to promote and make known. It’s been the best day since I became president of the foundation. I want to thank all the partners who have contributed to this victory”. Claudio Corradino, mayor of Biella, has, too, expressed his enthusiasm: “Today is a day of celebration for the whole city, nobody excluded. The collectivity has won, a territory that has acted united and compact as rarely before. Biella is 2019 UNESCO Creative City, the months of hard work have paid off, thanks again to the partners who have believed in and supported the project. My wish is that this acknowledgement might represent a relaunch of the territory, we certainly show signs of great vitality that lead us to be very optimistic about the future”.

Great satisfaction also for Cittadellarte, whose contribution was critical in coordinating the candidacy together with Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio and the City of Biella, in addition to making Michelangelo Pistoletto’s Third Paradise available. “Thanks to whoever believed that the symbol of the Third Paradise could successfully accompany this endeavour which represents a moment of transition, a regeneration of our territory, combining past and future, industry and culture, nature and artifice; – said Paolo Naldini, director of Cittadellarte – come on, let’s show everybody how good our model is. Let’s improve where we can and celebrate our successes. Together we can win”. Joyful words also from Michelangelo Pistoletto: “At Cittadellarte – he added – we are happy that Biella has been acknowledged as UNESCO Creative City with the good omen of the symbol of the Third Paradise”.

A victory that doesn’t affect only Biella, but the whole region, as implied by Alberto Cirio, president of Regione Piemonte, who commented: “It’s wonderful news making us happy and proud. I had already had a positive vibe during my last mission in Paris, together with Biella’s mayor, in support of this candidacy. After Alba for gastronomy and Turin for design, Biella is the third Piedmontese city to be included among the Creative Cities and it’s well deserved. Thanks to everybody who has made it possible. It’s now time to start working to turn this acknowledgement into an opportunity to create new jobs and increase the income from tourism. UNESCO declares Piedmont part of the Heritage of Humanity”.

The project management team is also extremely delighted: Andrea Quaregna and Federica Chilà for Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Biella; Alberto Cecca and Barbara Greggio for the City of Biella; Marina Maffei and Margherita Cugini for Cittadellarte, Angelo Boscarino and Elena Federica Marini for the consultancy firm BIA, which has been following the project since its start.