Novara is, by nature, a cultural crossroads, thanks to its strategic geographical location between Milan and Turin. It was inhabited since the V century B.C. by the Ligurians and Celts. It became a municipium under Julius Caesar and was one of the richest municipalities of the Northern Italy during the Imperial Ages. Several finds, at present on exhibition in the Civic Stone Museum and the remains of the city walls are the evidence of the settlement's importance already in the I century B.C. These fortified walls were brought to light during archaeological excavations and are visible in Largo Cavour. The walls were built following the opus mixtum technique, using river pebbles bound to each other with mud and alternated with horizontal strips of bricks according to the building model that was already widespread in the cities and towns of Northern Italy at that time.
Not to miss:
- the Basilica of San Gaudenzio, patron Saint of Novara, which was rebuilt in the XVI century on the ruins of the ancient Basilica, which stood outside the city walls and was covered by a dome, created by the architect Antonelli, in 1840.
- the Cathedral, an imposing Neo-Classic structure built between 1863 and 1869, another important Alessandro Antonelli's masterpiece.
- located in front of the Cathedral, the Early Christian Baptistery, with its hexagonal plan, is the oldest monument in Novara. Inside it preserves the remains of the first primitive baptismal font, a cylindrical water well for the sacrament, and a drainage channel. It is also possible to admire frescos depicting scenes of the Apocalypse (XIth century), which are among the most important pre-Romanesque artworks in Italy, the Last Judgement (XV century) and artworks of the schools of Morazzone and Pier Francesco Gianoli (XVI and XVII centuries).
- the Visconti-Sforza Castle, built in 1357.