The collection preserves about seven hundred pictures taken by Vittorio Besso (1828-1895) illustrating the recently united Italian territory, first with photos taken in the areas of the former Kingdomof Savoy, Piedmont and Aosta Valley, later with landscapes of Lombardy, Tuscany and Lazio. Worthy of note are the series relating to Sardinia, one devoted to the mines on the island and the new plants for the extraction of coal, and the other documenting the construction of the railways and stations by the Secondary Sardinian Railways. His pictures reproducing works of art and drawings are known internationally. Of historic interest are his last pictures, taken in 1880 on the island of Caprera, of General. Giuseppe Garibaldi.
Vittorio Besso was the first photographer to open a studio in Biella in 1859.