- For other places with the same name, see Novara (disambiguation).
Novara is not a city of particular attraction to tourists, nor can it be defined as a "city of art", nevertheless it preserves interesting artistic and architectural treasures such as the bold dome of the Basilica of San Gaudenzio, the symbol of the city, and the early Christian baptistery. Its duomo is one of the oldest religious buildings in Piedmont.
Milan Malpensa International Airport is about 35 km away.
Novara is about 40 minutes by train from Milan central station.
The city is served by three railway stations:
- Vignale FS, a small station operated by the Ferrovie dello Stato (regional trains)
- 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 railway in via Leonardo da Vinci. It serves regional and high-speed trains.
Novara is linked to Turin and Milan by the A4 motorway (via the junctions Novara Ovest and Novara Est). The A26 motorway crosses most of 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 S11 trunk road from Milan and Magenta passes through Novara on its way to Vercelli and Turin. Trunk roads to the north and south also link Novara to the motorway network.
- Troiolo Bus, +39 0964 381325.
The historic centre of the city has an almost pentagonal shape and is mostly surrounded by "bastions", tree-lined avenues that have taken the place of the ancient walls that surrounded the city.
The two main arteries are Corso Cavour-Corso Mazzini, with a north-south direction, and Corso Italia-Corso Cavallotti, with an east-west direction, corresponding to the route of the ancient Roman Cardo and Decumano.
- SUN provides local bus service, €1.90-2.50 per trip (July 2021).
- There is a driving ban for all petrol (gasoline) vehicles that do not meet at least the Euro 2 standard and for Diesel vehicles below the Euro 3 standard. The ban applies from Monday to Friday from 08:30-12:30 and 14:30-18:30. Motorists can leave their car in one of the free interchange parking lots located on the outskirts of the city and continue by public transport.
- Radio Taxi Novara Cooperative, +39 0321 691999.
- Novara city taxi, +39 0321 611755.
- The old urban core makes up the Historic Centre. 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.
- 1 Basilica of San Gaudenzio, Via Gaudenzio Ferrari. It was designed by Pellegrino Tibaldi and was built on the highest point of the city starting in 1590. Among the artistic works preserved, the most significant is the large two-storey polyptych by Gaudenzio Ferrari, made in 1516. On the side of the church stands the 18th-century bell tower designed by Benedetto Alfieri, 92 m high. The most interesting element, however, is the neoclassical dome designed by Alessandro Antonelli, which has become the symbol of the city of Novara. It was built between 1844 and 1878 and masterfully grafted onto a church of 300 years earlier. The dome is 126 m high, weighs over 5500 tons and is built entirely of brick. On the cusp there is a golden statue of Christ, a fiberglass copy of the original preserved inside the basilica. €8 to climb to the dome.
- 2 Duomo (Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta), Piazza della Repubblica. The cathedral of Novara, dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta, was designed and built by Alessandro Antonelli in the second half of the 19th century by demolishing the previous Romanesque cathedral consecrated in 1132, of which the mosaic floor of the presbytery remains.
- 3 Baptistery of the Cathedral, Piazza della Repubblica. The early Christian baptistery was probably built between the 4th and 5th centuries and represents the oldest religious building in the city as well as one of the oldest in Piedmont. The building has an octagonal base and internally preserves 11th century frescoes depicting themes from the Apocalypse and 16th century concerning the Last Judgment.
- 4 Abbey of San Nazzaro della Costa, Viale della Rimembranza. The religious complex, consisting of the church of Saints Nazzaro and Celso and the adjacent convent, stands on a modest hillside near the city cemetery, once located outside the city walls. The current structures mostly date back to the 15th century. According to tradition, the foundation of the convent was the work of San Bernardino da Siena. Inside the church there is a 13th-century fresco depicting the Deposition; among the other important paintings we remember the Crucifixion in the apse and the scene of the Annunciation above the triumphal arch, both dating back to the second half of the 15th century.
- 5 Church of San Marco, Via Negroni at via Dei Gautieri. Baroque building built on a Greek cross plan, it consists of a single nave with three chapels on each side. Apart from some 19th-century interventions, the internal style of the church has remained almost unchanged; among the pictorial works the most significant is the large 17th-century canvas by Daniele Crespi placed in the right transept. In one of the side chapels the urn with the remains of the Bascapé is kept. Next to the church stands the Barnabite convent, now the seat of the Bank of Italy.
- 6 Broletto, Access from Piazza della Repubblica and Corso Italia. Complex of 4 medieval buildings, belonging to different eras, placed around a central courtyard, called arengo. On the north side is the town hall, the oldest, dating back to the 12th century; on the opposite side stands the Palazzo del Podestà, built between the end of the 14th century and the beginning of the 15th century. Of the same period is the palace of the referendums on the west side while to the east is the palace of the paratici, dating back to the 12th-13th century, preceded by an 18th-century loggia. The broletto, the fulcrum of the town's civil life during the Middle Ages and later used as a prison, was completely restored on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy. It houses the Paolo and Andrea Giannoni Modern Art Gallery.
- 7 Casa Bossi, Via Pier Lombardo. Designed by Antonelli, it represents one of the best examples of 19th-century neoclassical civil architecture. The structure is in a state of neglect and has been partially recovered and opened to the public.
- Casa Della Porta and Casa Rognoni, Via Canobio. Civil Gothic-style buildings dating from the late 15th century.
- Quaroni House, Baluardo Quintino Sella. Art Nouveau building from the early 20th century.
- Bicocca Pyramid (Ossuary of the battle of 23 March 1849), Corso 23 marzo 1849. Ossuary monument in memory of the battle fought between the Austrian and Piedmontese troops in 1849, during the First Italian War of Independence.
- 8 Roman Walls, Piazza Cavour, Largo Repubblica D'Ossola. In two areas of the city you can see the remains of the fortifications of Novara from the Roman era. Other Roman remains have been found at the Corner of the Hours, in the city centre, protected by a glass structure.
- 9 Church of Ognissanti. Romanesque building, it is the only surviving church of this period in Novara. It has a semicircular apse and three naves with four bays. It preserves an elegant octagonal lantern with single and mullioned windows. Among the frescoes in the interior, the Madonna with Child from the 15th century deserves attention.
- 10 Cabrino Palace (City Hall). It was built in the 17th century by the noble Cabrino family; now it is the municipal seat. The frescoes in some rooms on the first floor were painted in the 17th century by Giovanni Stefano Doneda known as il Montalto.
- 11 Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie (San Martino). It was built from 1475, with a single nave and side chapels and paintings from the 15th century. Now it is dedicated to San Martino.
- 12 Church of San Pietro al Rosario. It was the church of the Dominicans, who kept it until the suppression of the Order by Napoleon. Erected between 1599 and 1618, it has four statues of saints on the facade. It preserves Baroque works and paintings by Giovanni Mauro Della Rovere, known as Fiammenghino, and by Giulio Cesare Procaccini.
- 13 Visconteo-Sforzesco Castle. The Viscontis built it on the site where there was a 13th-century fortification; the Sforza family transformed it in the 15th century, making it a stronghold. Nowadays it houses the Archaeological Museum, the Civic Collection and rooms for exhibitions.
- 14 Piazza delle Erbe. Triangular in shape, it is surrounded by arcaded buildings; from one vertex of the square you enter Piazza del Duomo. The area was born to host commercial activities; In the Middle Ages there were the Beccherie (butchers), shoemakers, merchants. In the early sixteenth century it was renovated, standardizing the style of the colonnades, with round arcades, almost similar in appearance to the one that has come down to us.
- 15 Natta-Isola Palace. Built in the second half of the 16th century, it is now the seat of the Province and the Prefecture. It has a grand staircase of great impact, and an upper floor with halls frescoed by Degiorgi. The inner courtyard is square and surrounded by Doric columns with triglyphs and metopes.
- 16 Coccia Theatre, via Rosselli 47, ☏ . Built in the late 19th century, it replaced a theatre that existed in the area. Internally it has the classic horseshoe shape, with four tiers of boxes and an overlying gallery. The columns of the boxes are in cast iron with figures of gilded swans.
- Dome of San Gaudenzio, via G.Ferrari 13 / A, ☏ .
- 17 Faraggiana Ferrandi Natural History Museum, Via Gaudenzio Ferrari, 13, ☏ . Tu - F 09:00 - 12:30, Sa Su 14.00 - 19.00, Monday closed. Free.
- 18 Paolo and Adele Giannoni Modern Art Gallery, Arengo del Broletto, Via Fratelli Rosselli, 20 (inside the Broletto), ☏ . Tu - F 09.00 - 12.30, 14.00 - 19.00; Sa Su 10.00 - 19.00, closed on Monday. €5.00.
- 19 Museums of the Rectory of the Cathedral, vicolo della Canonica 9/14, ☏ , . The two sections of the Cathedral and the archaeological museum are housed in the rooms of the Rectory, dating back to the 12th-15th centuries. Among the works are exhibited the statutory groups of the Baptistery, the Eburneo Diptych of the 5th century, the planet of San Bernardo of the 15th century. The archaeological section collects stones, epigraphs, Roman and Celtic ares.
- Patronal feast of San Gaudenzio: January 22 modification
- Historical re-enactment of the Battle of Bicocca: March 23