A Quick Stop in Novara

Off the Beaten Track

In visiting Italy, travelers usually pick the “big four (or five)”; Rome, Venice, Florence, Naples, Milan. But there are many little-known towns and villages off the beaten track that are really worth a stop. Most of the times these little towns are just within a day trip from major cities.

Novara

Novara is a small town in Piedmont Region, bordered by the Lombardy Region and just a half-hour away from the Malpensa International airport.

This is the area of the great Piedmontese lakes, like Lake Orta with the suggestive village of Orta San Giulio and the southern part of Lake Maggiore, with renowned tourist resorts such as Arona, Castelletto Sopra Ticino, and Stresa.

What to See

The city of Novara distinguish itself with the “ramparts” and dome of the Basilica of San Gaudenzio. They are visible from quite a distance.

Its historic center harmoniously blends medieval views, fifteenth-century buildings and neoclassical buildings in a highly suggestive ensemble. Among the valuable architectures, the Duomo, the Baptistery and the monumental complex of the Broletto that houses the Civic Museum, rich in archaeological finds and testimonies of local history and art, stand out.

The excellence of the area consists of the magnificent Sacro Monte di Orta, a monumental complex of strong religious and artistic importance, inserted in a protected area recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site.

Cuisine

The flavors and aromas of typical dishes derive from peasant traditions.

Rice dominates the table because this is the land of rice fields. Rice is prepared in many different ways; the most typical recipe, however, is paniscia, rice soup with vegetables, beans and sausage.

Numerous cured meats including the typical salam d’la duja, protected from pork fat and preserved in terracotta jars, and fideghin, liver mortadella.

Another typical product is gorgonzola, a creamy cheese with a particular flavor, originally from Milan.

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I lived the most part of my life in Washington DC, now in Italy getting to know again my country. Plenty of surprises, for good and bad, and lots of nostalgia for DC.

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