Villago of Bienno
Municipality of Bienno
Province of Brescia
Altitude centre: 445 m s.l.m.
The Municipality is part of:
I Borghi più belli d'Italia
Paesi bandiera arancione
Unione Antichi Borghi di Vallecamonica
Comunità montana di Valle Camonica
Protected natural areas:
Parco regionale dell'Adamello
Municipality of Bienno
Piazza della Liberazione 1 - 25040 Bienno
phone +39 0364 40001
The village of Bienno is located in Val Grigna and is strongly linked to resources and morphology of its territory, marking the history and destiny. By the term biennium, which in late Latin was used to indicate 'the channel of the mill', up to the interpretation of the name Buennum, 'stream mining'. The stream Grigna, which gives its name to the valley, brought wonderful fortunes to the inhabitants of Bienno, which historically became famous for the manufacture of iron.
The water of the stream it was deflected by an elevated flume, called Vaso Ré, to drive the wheels of the mills, which were operated by the hammers: heavy hammers set in motion by the force of the falling water. Still the Vaso Ré runs through the village, which still retains the splendor and charm of that golden era. It’s still perfectly intact the urban layout of the castrum (a Roman foundation): a true outdoor museum.
Temporal indications of antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the modern age are superimposed before the eyes, as a unique and valuable testimony. Seven of the ten towers that defended the village, and then in the sixteenth century were converted to houses (the imposing scattered tower house that can be seen all over the town), they still dot the outer perimeter. There are many villas or noble residences, finely painted, rich in ornamental details such as portals, friezes, capitals and coats of arms. The streets converge in the small square, where stands the church of Santa Maria Annunciata.
In the immediate vicinity of the Vaso Ré you can visit the Forges, like the one used for the Ethnographic Museum of Iron, where the master blacksmiths reproduce for visitors these ancient and precious traditions and craftsmanship. From Piazza Roma instead you’ll reach the mill, where you can see the ancient hammers and other equipment that is still in operation.
NOTE: distances are set as the crow flies.