Museo dell'Oro e della Bessa

Useful Information

Location: Via Luciano Debernardi, 50, 13888 Vermogno BI.
(45.482756, 8.023787)
Open: All year Sun 15-17:30.
Fee: free.
Classification: MineGold Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Museo dell’Oro e della Bessa, Via Luciano Debernardi, 50, 13888 Vermogno BI, Tel: +39-340-611-4854, Cell: +39-0156-66338. E-mail:
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143-140 BC the area conquered by the Roman legions of Appio Claudio.
1985 a group of Biellese enthusiasts began to collect tools, testimonies and machines, and founded the Biellese Gold Seekers Association.


The center of the Alps is the part of the orogeny which was uplifted most. The Mesozoic sedimentary rocks on top where eroded completely and the crystalline basement composed of metamorphic rocks forms the central mountain ridges. This region has numerous resources, which formed long before the Mesozoic, in much older orogenies. The part near Ivrea is called Ivrea zone and is even more special. It is a tectonic terrane which consists of a steeply dipping piece of the Earth’s lower crust. It consists of metamorphic rock like marble, but also intrusions by mafic plutons. The gold is also a result of the erosion of such exceptional rocks which were eroded at the surface. In the zone there are outcrops of the border between pyroxenites and lherzolites, which is interpreted as the Mohorovičić discontinuity (the Moho).


Museo dell'Oro e della Bessa (Bessa Gold Museum) is located in the small town Vermogno, in a secluded valley of the southern pre Alps. Protruding into the Po river plain, this valley has a hidden secret, alluvial gold which is found in the river. Located between the cities Ivrea and Bielle, the valley is a popular weekend destinations for families going gold panning. An excellent introduction into the local gold history, the gold panning, and the local geology.

The search for gold started long before the Romans. During Roman times it was the largest gold mine that existed in the Roman empire, a huge open cast about 12 km² in size. More than 5,000 miners were working in the mine. This huge operation ended in Roman times but the search for gold continued, uninterrupted as they state, until today. However, it was always on the level of gold panning, or better washing of alluvial gold. There was never a modern mining operation with heavy machinery and the mother lode was never exploited.

The museum was created by a group of Biellese enthusiasts who founded the Associazione Biellese Cercatori d'Oro (Biellese Gold Seekers Association) in 1985. They were panning gold, but also began to collect tools, testimonies and machines related to gold panning and processing. The museum was created in cooperation with the Ecomuseo Valle Elvo e Serra, it is located in the former school of the hamlet. Vermogno is also the location of the Park Visitor Center of the Riserva naturale speciale della Bessa and the Multipurpose Field of the Gold Seekers Association.