Novara [noˈvaːra] listen (help·info) (Nuàra in the
local Lombard dialect) is the capital city of the province of Novara
Piedmont region in northwest Italy, to the west of Milan. With
104 284 inhabitants (1-1-2017), it is the second most populous city in
Piedmont after Turin. It is an important crossroads for commercial
traffic along the routes from
Turin and from
Novara lies between the rivers
northeastern Piedmont, 50 kilometres (31 mi) from
Milan and 95
kilometres (59 mi) from Turin.
3.1 Historic centre
3.2 Outside the Baluardi
3.3 Religious buildings
4 Festivals and events
7.2 Motorways and main roads
8 Local government
9 Notable people
10 Twin towns – sister cities
11 See also
14 External links
See also: Timeline of Novara
Roman walls in Novara
Novara was founded in ancient times by the Romans. Its name is formed
from Nov, meaning "new", and Aria, the name the Cisalpine Gauls used
for the surrounding region.
Ancient Novaria, which dates to the time of the
Ligures and the Celts,
was a municipium and was situated on the road from Vercellae
(Vercelli) to (Mediolanum) Milan. Its position on perpendicular roads
(still intact today) dates to the time of the Romans. After the city
was destroyed in 386 by
Magnus Maximus for having supported his rival
Valentinian II, it was rebuilt by Theodosius I. Subsequently, it was
Radagaisus (in 405) and
Attila (in 452).
Under the Lombards,
Novara became a duchy; under Charles the Fat, a
Novara came to enjoy the rights of a free imperial city. In
1110, it was conquered by Henry V and destroyed, but in 1167 it joined
the Lombard League. At the end of the 12th century, it accepted the
Milan and became practically a dominion of the Visconti
and later of the Sforza. In the Battle of
Novara in 1513, Swiss
Novara for the Sforzas of
Milan routed the
French troops besieging the city. This defeat ended the French
Italy in the War of the League of Cambrai.
In 1706, Novara, which had long ago been promised by Filippo Maria
Visconti to Amadeus VIII of Savoy, was occupied by Savoyard troops.
With the Peace of Utrecht, the city, together with Milan, became part
Habsburg Empire. After its occupation in 1734,
in the following year, to the House of Savoy.
The Ossuary of Bicocca, in memory of the Battle of Novara
After Napoleon's campaign in Italy,
Novara became the capital of the
Department of the Agogna, but was then reassigned to the House of
Savoy in 1814. In 1821, it was the site of a battle in which regular
Sardinian troops defeated the Piedmontese constitutional liberals. In
the even larger Battle of
Novara in 1849, the Sardinian army was
defeated by the Austrian army of Field Marshal Joseph Radetzky von
Radetz. This defeat led to the abdication of Charles Albert of
Sardinia and to the partial occupation of the city by the Austrians.
The defeat of the Sardinians can be seen as the beginning of the
Italian unification movement.
A decree in 1859 created the province of Novara, which then included
the present-day provinces of Vercelli, Biella, and
The city of
Novara had a population of 25,144 in 1861.
Industrialisation during the 20th century brought an increase in the
city's population to 102,088 in 1981. The city's population has
changed little in subsequent years.
Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, former president of
Italy and Italian senator
for life, was born in
Novara in 1918.
Climate data for
Novara (1971–2000, extremes 1960–present)
Record high °C (°F)
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Record low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)
Average relative humidity (%)
Source: Servizio Meteorologico (humidity 1961–1990)
Novara's sights can be divided into two groupings. The city's most
important sights lie within its historic centre, the area once
enclosed by the city walls. However, several important sights also lie
outside the line of the former city walls.
The old urban core makes up the "Historic centre", situated in the
district of the same name.
Novara once had an encircling wall, which
was demolished to permit urban development. Of the old wall there
remains only the Barriera Albertina, a complex of two neo-classical
buildings that constituted the gate of entry to the city, the required
passageway for those who traveled from
Turin to Milan. After their
removal, the walls were replaced by the present-day baluardi, the
broad, tree-lined boulevards that surround the Historic Centre.
The cupola of the Basilica of San Gaudenzio, symbol of Novara, is 121
metres (397 ft) high.
The most imposing monument in the city is the Basilica of San
Gaudenzio, with a cupola 121 metres (397 ft) high, designed by
Alessandro Antonelli and constructed in 1888. The bell tower is also
of particular interest; it was designed by Benedetto Alfieri, uncle of
the more famous Vittorio Alfieri.
The centre of the religious life of the city is the
in the neo-classical style, also designed by Alessandro Antonelli. It
rises exactly where the temple of Jupiter stood in the time of the
Romans. Facing the Duomo is the oldest building in
Novara today: the
early Christian Battistero (Baptistry).
Close to the Duomo is the courtyard of the
Broletto (the historic
meeting place of the city council), the centre of the political life
of the imperial free city of Novara. Overlooking the courtyard of the
Broletto are the Palazzo del
Podestà ("Palace of the Podestà"),
Palazzetto dei Paratici ("Little Palace of the Paratici Family"), site
of the Civic Museum and of the Gallery of Modern Art, the Palace of
the City Council, and a building of the 15th century.
Not far from the Piazza della Repubblica (formerly Piazza Duomo) is
the Piazza Cesare Battisti (known to Novaresi as the Piazza delle
Erbe, "Herbs square"), which constitutes the exact centre of the city
In Piazza Giacomo Matteotti stands the Palazzo Natta-Isola, seat of
the province and of the prefecture of Novara. The landmark feature of
this palace is its clock tower. Extending from this square is the via
Fratelli Rosselli, along which is the Palazzo Cabrino, the official
seat of the administrative offices of the city. As it was a Roman
city, the street network of
Novara is characterized by a cardo and a
Decumanus Maximus, which correspond respectively to the present-day
Corso Cavour and Corso Italia. The two streets cross at the so-called
"Angolo delle Ore" (Corner of the Hours).
The largest square is Piazza Martiri della Libertà (formerly Piazza
Castello) dominated by the equestrian statue of Victor Emmanuel II,
the first king of Italy. Overlooking the Piazza Martiri are the
Castello Visconteo-Sforzesco, built by the Milanese dukes Visconti and
Sforza, and the Teatro Coccia. The Castello Visconteo-Sforzesco, once
much larger than the complex that remains today, is surrounded by the
Allea, one of the largest public gardens in Novara.
Other important squares are:
Largo Cavour, dominated by the statue of the same name, recently
Piazza Garibaldi, the square facing the
Novara Railway Station, also
recently restored and featuring the statue of the hero of two worlds
and a fountain with the statue of mondina .
Piazza Gramsci, formerly Piazza del Rosario, location, after the
restoration of 2005, of the landmark statue of Icarus.
Outside the Baluardi
Church of San Nazzaro della Costa
Places of interest situated outside the belt of the baluardi include
the Church of San Nazzaro della Costa, with its attached abbey,
restored in the 15th century by Bernardino of Siena, and the Ossuary
of Bicocca, in pyramidal form, which stands in the neighbourhood of
Bicocca, in memory of the fallen soldiers of the historic battle of 23
March 1849, between the Piedmontese (Sardinia) and Austrians. Worthy
of note are the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie (Saints Martino and
Gaudenzio), built beginning in 1477 by the Augustinians, whose
interior consists of a single nave with lateral chapels and paintings
attributed to artists of the 15th century, among them Daniele de
Chiesa di Ognissanti (12th century)
Santa Maria delle Grazie, also known as San Martino (15th century)
San Pietro al Rosario (1599-1618)
San Marco (17th century)
Oratory of San Giovanni Decollato (17th century)
Santa Maria della Salute (17th century)
Sant'Eufemia (17th century)
Chiesa del Carmine (18th to 19th centuries)
Festivals and events
Novara celebrates annually the Feast of San Gaudenzio
(Saint Gaudentius of Novara), the patron saint of Novara. Throughout
the day, it is possible to visit the tomb of the saint and to obtain
the typical roasted chestnuts, also known as marroni di Cuneo (" Cuneo
23 March: Re-enactment of the 1849 Battle of Novara, with period
uniforms and weapons.
On 25 April, Liberation Day, as in many other Italian cities, the
Novaresi organise numerous initiatives to commemorate the Italian
resistance movement, and in particular, the partisans who fought
Novara and in the "Partisan Republic of the Ossola".
Since 2001, Giovani Espressioni ("Young Expressions") has been held in
Novara. This is a musical festival for emerging young musicians,
organised by Staff Millennium, a performance agency, of which
Alessandro Marchetti is the artistic director. The "Espressioni
Contest" is of special importance as a showcase for emerging bands
that picks a winner every year. Among the noted artists who have
participated are Negramaro, Caparezza, Finley, Vallanzaska, Extrema,
and Blaze Bailey.
Novara hosts the "
Novara Gospel Festival", that is
composed by workshops, local tours, and obviously gospel concerts in
the main theatre of the city. It is probably one of the most important
festival of this music in Italy, also because the main event is a
concert of the most appreciated gospel's singers, such as Kirk
Franklin, Donnie Mc Clurkin, etc.
ISTAT 2007 
Under 18 years old
Over 65 years old
In 2007, there were 102,862 people residing in Novara, of whom 49%
were male and 51% were female. Minors (children ages 18 and younger)
totalled 16.35% of the population compared to pensioners who number
21.6%. This compares with the Italian average of 18.06% (minors) and
19.94% (pensioners). The average age of
Novara residents is 44
compared to the Italian average of 42. In the five years between 2002
and 2007, the population of
Novara grew by 1.64%, while
Italy as a
whole grew by 3.85%. The birth rate in
Novara is 9.15 births per
1,000 inhabitants compared to the Italian average of 9.45 births.
As of 2006[update], 92.37% of the population was Italian. The largest
immigrant group comes from other European nations: 2.94%, North
Africa: 2.23%, and Latin America: 0.71%.  Like most of Italy,
Novara is predominantly Roman Catholic.
Rice fields around the city
Novara is an important commercial centre of the
Padan plain and is the
seat of the Centro Intermodale Merci (CIM: Goods Intermodal Centre).
Economically, it is affected by the proximity of Milan, and in fact
many Milanese firms have offices in Novara.
The main economic products and services are:
agriculture: rice and maize (American English: corn)
chemicals and petrochemicals
intermodal commerce and logistics
banking and insurance services
rice products exchange
The city of
Novara is a member of the TOP-IX (Torino-Piemonte Exchange
Point) internet exchange consortium, a consortium to create an
Internet Exchange Point
Internet Exchange Point for northwestern Italy.
Companies based in
Novara include the publishing company De Agostini.
The local public transport agency is the SUN.
Novara seen from the S11 trunk road
The city is served by three railway stations:
Vignale FS, a small station operated by the Ferrovie dello Stato
Novara FS, the principal station of the Ferrovie dello Stato, Italy's
national railway (regional, national and international trains).
Novara Nord, the station operated by the
LeNord railroad. The new
station in via Leonardo da Vinci opened in 2005 (regional and
high-speed trains (only 2006) trains).
Motorways and main roads
Novara is linked to
Milan by the A4 motorway (via the
Novara Ovest and
Novara Est). The A26 motorway crosses most
Novara province, but there is not a junction that links it directly
with Novara. To reach
Novara from the A26, one must exit at Vercelli
Est, but one can also reach
Novara by way of the A4, which crosses the
A26 at a junction.
Novara is served by a system of dual-carriageway
bypasses. The oldest such bypass is the Tangenziale Est, directly
linked with the motorway junction
Novara Est. In 2003, road works were
completed on the Tangenziale Sud.
The S11 trunk road from
Milan and Magenta passes through
Novara on its
Vercelli and Turin. Trunk roads to the north and south also
Novara to the motorway network.
The current mayor of
Novara is Alessandro Canelli, elected in June
2016, representing a centre-Right coalition.
Novara is divided into thirteen wards (circoscrizioni); several of
these are formed of a number of quarters (quartieri), zones, and/or
According to changes in local electoral laws, from June 2011 elections
they were stripped of their elective bodies (council and president),
thus remaining as a simple internal partition of the Comune.
Centro (Historic Centre)
Nord est (North East)
San Rocco (quartiere)
San Paolo (quartiere)
Villagio Dalmazia (quartiere)
Torrion Quartara (frazione)
Sud est (South East)
See also: Category:People from Novara
Sergio Tacchini tennis player;
Gaspare Campari inventor;
Alessandro Antonelli architect;
Silvio Piola football player;
Giuseppe Ravizza inventor;
Gaudenzio Ferrari painter;
Isabella Leonarda (1620–1704), composer;
Gianni Bettini (1860–1938), inventor;
Felice Casorati (1883–1963), painter;
Carlo Emanuele Buscaglia (1915–1944), aviator;
Vittorio Gregotti (born 1927), architect;
Enzo Emanuele (born 1977), medical researcher;
Domenico Fioravanti (born 1977), swimmer;
Matias Masucci actor, director;
Oscar Luigi Scalfaro
Oscar Luigi Scalfaro (1918–2012), former Italian President of the
Urbano Quinto (1933–1997), writer and collector of middle age and
Twin towns – sister cities
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See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Italy
Novara is twinned with:
France (since 1970)
Germany (since 1991)
Bulgaria (since 2003)
Battle of Bicocca
Novara Calcio football club
Province of Novara
Cameri (NO)" (PDF). Atlante climatico. Servizio
Meteorologico. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
^ "STAZIONE 064 Novara–Cameri: medie mensili periodo 61 - 90".
Servizio Meteorologico. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
Novara Cameri: Record mensili dal 1960" (in Italian). Servizio
Meteorologico dell’Aeronautica Militare. Retrieved 19 May
^ "Statistiche demografiche ISTAT". Demo.istat.it. Retrieved
^ "Statistiche demografiche ISTAT". Demo.istat.it. Retrieved
See also: Bibliography of the history of Novara
Comune di Novara, city government website (in Italian)
Novara (tourist office) (in Italian) (in English)
Piedmont · Comuni of the Province of Novara
Castelletto sopra Ticino
Granozzo con Monticello
Orta San Giulio
San Maurizio d'Opaglio
San Nazzaro Sesia
San Pietro Mosezzo
Italy by population