Walking around in Novara
Ciao a tutti and welcome to Italy! The home country of pasta, pizza and ice cream (among other things) is the first destination of our EMOTION experience! During the first year of the Master, we will try and steal some time from all our lessons and laboratories, to explore this wonderful country as much as possible!
Let the journey begin!
Welcome to Novara! This city was going to be our home for the first year, so it is only natural that we got to roam around a lot. Of course, when we first came here, we didn’t know left from right and the majority of us didn’t speak Italian, so we depended heavily on our smartphones to find our way around (remember: Google maps and Google translate are your friends!). After a while though (and especially after a detailed tour of the city with the local ESN group) we finally began to navigate easily Novara’s streets.
So, let us show you the result of our efforts and be your guides around this little, picturesque city called Novara!
Walking around the city center
First stop: the train station. If you arrive to the city by train from Milan or by the STN bus straight from Malpensa Airport, this is the first place you will be in Novara. This is the main railway station of the city and is located in Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi, at the northeastern edge of the city center.
From the station, you can head to the city’s historical center easily, simply by following two roads: Corso Garibaldi (across Piazza Garibaldi) and Corso Cavour. In the cross of these two roads lies Piazza Cavour, where you can marvel in the distance the cupola of San Gaudenzio and a monument of the Count of Cavour (a great historical figure of Italy). Walking down Corso Cavour, you pass by many interesting stores, one of them being Biscottificio Camporelli, a hidden place (in an alley) selling the famous Novarese biscuits (you may want to consider it for when you buy your Christmas presents)!
From Corso Cavour, there are numerous streets one can wonder about, in order to explore the historical center. Turning right, in via Gaudenzio Ferrari, and towards the end of that road, you will find the majestic Basilica di San Gaudenzio, together with the Cupola. Keep in mind that the Cupola is visible from all the main roads that lead to the center of the city and each night it is illuminated with various colors (white, orange, purple or the tricolor of the Italian flag), so finding your way back to the center is a fairly easy task!
Another important street in Novara is Corso Italia. To access it, simply search for the Angolo delle Ore (the Corner of Hours), the meeting point of Corso Cavour and Corso Italia. To make things easier, there is an ancient clock tower, helping in pinpointing the spot from afar.
Strolling down Corso Italia and on your left, you may notice a large painting on the upper part of the wall; this means you have discovered the northern entrance to the Broletto, a medieval complex of buildings, housing a Gallery of Modern Arts (or an open-air cinema in summer!).
Crossing the courtyard of the Broletto (perhaps after enjoying a cup of hot chocolate at Il Broletto restaurant), you exit the complex and find yourself in via Fratelli Rosselli and Piazza della Repubblica, where the Duomo di Novara stands tall. The cathedral (whose full name is the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta) constitutes the main place of worship for the Novarese Catholics and its location is considered the heart of the city by many. Once inside, be ready to be amazed, not only by the cathedral’s enormous size, but also by the architecture and the numerous paintings decorating the walls.
In the vicinity of the Duomo (heading west in via Rosselli), one will find the Coccia Theater, the opera house of Novara! Famous operas, intriguing plays and fascinating ballet performances await you, on those cold, winter nights, if you are in the mood for an alternative and somewhat classy experience.
Continuing your walk and right after the theater, is Piazza Martiri della Libertà, which gives you access to two places: the Parco dei Bambini (Children’s Park), across from you, and the Castello di Novara, on your left. The park is a magnificent area, offering endless possibilities for leisure walks, running or simply admiring nature at its best -in spring!
On the other hand, the castle (its full name being Castello Visconteo-Sforzesco) is an excellent reminder of Novara’s history, from late 13th century till the 1900s. Nowadays, it hosts several artistic exhibitions, while strolling around, one may appreciate the Allea, the surrounding public gardens.
At this point, our walking tour has ended and you are free to enjoy an aperitivo or stroll around a bit more, to further explore on your own every corner of the beautiful little city that is Novara.