Jewish historical landmarks in Biella are full of surprises!
The Biella synagogue, for example, has an anonymous facade and is entered through the courtyard at no. 3 Vicolo delle Bellone. This pre-emancipation synagogue houses a late baroque-style ark from 1780. The synagogue is no longer in use but well-preserved.
The Biella Jewish Cemetery is now part of the town cemetery in via dei Tigli, and, curiously, has gravestones with photos of the dead (as is the case in cemeteries found in Asti and Alessandria) which hint at assimilation after emancipation. As a final surprise, the tomb of Camillo Olivetti is buried here in the Jewish section in spite of his conversion to the Protestant Unitarian church in 1934.
Jewish presence in Biella can be traced back as early as the 14th century, although Jews settled more permanently from the 16th century on. In 1723 a small ghetto was established between Vicolo del Bellone and Corso del Palazzo and numbered 26 inhabitants. By the 20th century, the Jewish community of Biella numbered 100. The two streets that made up this ghetto have preserved their 15th century architectural feel including the lengthy internal galleries and passageways.