Novara Castle

Novara Castle

Novara Castle, locally known as Castello di Novara, lies in the city of the same name, in the Novara province in the Piedmont region in Italy.

Although there are obscure mentions of a fortification in or near the city of Novara from the 10th century and earlier no evidence or possible location has been found.

In 1272 Francesco Torriani, mayor of Novara and family member of Napoleone della Torre, Lord of Milan, had a fortified tower built in a corner of the ancient Roman city walls. The tower, called 'Turrisella', was a place to politically control the city.

During the first half of the 14th century Giovanni Visconti, Archbishop of Milan, took possession of the Lordship of Novara. Under the Viscontis the tower was incorporated in a real castle which stood on the Roman walls and perhaps used the moat of the Roman city for its own defense. It was then used as a military-administrative structure to control the city.

In 1468, the Duke of Milan, Galeazzo Maria Sforza, ordered a complete reconstruction of Novara Castle. Due to a lack of funds the project was only completed at the end of the 15th century by Ludovico Sforza.

Towards the middle of the 16th century the Spanish administration of the Duchy of Milan decided to strengthen the western border of the state by using Novara as the main stronghold. The Sforza castle was by now outdated and a new one should have been built. To limit expenses, in 50 years, the nucleus of the city was equipped with bastions and defensive bulwarks were built. The result was a much more extensive and articulated fortress within which the castle became the command center of the garrison.

Although it was now only a barracks, the Spanish administration of the 17th century continued to consider the castle an essential defensive element. Over time however its military importance faded and it slowly fell into a state of disrepair.

After the Napoleonic conquest of Italy around 1800, Novara Castle became a prison which greatly damaged and altered the structure of the castle as openings in walls were closed and watch towers were built on the bastions amongst other things. Later that century the castle risked being demolished because it was considered devoid of architectural or historical value. Local authoritative voices opposed and suggested several ideas to restore it. None of these ideas were executed and the castle remained to be used as a district prison.

Only in 1973 did the castle lose its use as a prison and was transferred to the municipality. It was then used for some years by the State Forestry Corps before it was restored to its present appearance between 2006 and 2016.

The buildings of Novara Castle are now used by the municipality and as a museum. The courtyard however is freely accessible during daytime.


Gallery

Novara Castle

Novara Castle

Novara Castle, locally known as Castello di Novara, lies in the city of the same name, in the Novara province in the Piedmont region in Italy.

Although there are obscure mentions of a fortification in or near the city of Novara from the 10th century and earlier no evidence or possible location has been found.

In 1272 Francesco Torriani, mayor of Novara and family member of Napoleone della Torre, Lord of Milan, had a fortified tower built in a corner of the ancient Roman city walls. The tower, called 'Turrisella', was a place to politically control the city.

During the first half of the 14th century Giovanni Visconti, Archbishop of Milan, took possession of the Lordship of Novara. Under the Viscontis the tower was incorporated in a real castle which stood on the Roman walls and perhaps used the moat of the Roman city for its own defense. It was then used as a military-administrative structure to control the city.

In 1468, the Duke of Milan, Galeazzo Maria Sforza, ordered a complete reconstruction of Novara Castle. Due to a lack of funds the project was only completed at the end of the 15th century by Ludovico Sforza.

Towards the middle of the 16th century the Spanish administration of the Duchy of Milan decided to strengthen the western border of the state by using Novara as the main stronghold. The Sforza castle was by now outdated and a new one should have been built. To limit expenses, in 50 years, the nucleus of the city was equipped with bastions and defensive bulwarks were built. The result was a much more extensive and articulated fortress within which the castle became the command center of the garrison.

Although it was now only a barracks, the Spanish administration of the 17th century continued to consider the castle an essential defensive element. Over time however its military importance faded and it slowly fell into a state of disrepair.

After the Napoleonic conquest of Italy around 1800, Novara Castle became a prison which greatly damaged and altered the structure of the castle as openings in walls were closed and watch towers were built on the bastions amongst other things. Later that century the castle risked being demolished because it was considered devoid of architectural or historical value. Local authoritative voices opposed and suggested several ideas to restore it. None of these ideas were executed and the castle remained to be used as a district prison.

Only in 1973 did the castle lose its use as a prison and was transferred to the municipality. It was then used for some years by the State Forestry Corps before it was restored to its present appearance between 2006 and 2016.

The buildings of Novara Castle are now used by the municipality and as a museum. The courtyard however is freely accessible during daytime.


Gallery