Novara di Sicilia
|Novara di Sicilia|
|Comune di Novara di Sicilia|
|Frazioni||San Basilio, San Marco, Vallancazza, Piano Vigna, Badia Vecchia|
|• Mayor||Michele Truscello|
|• Total||48.8 km2 (18.8 sq mi)|
|Elevation||650 m (2,130 ft)|
|Population (December 2004)|
|• Density||33/km2 (85/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Patron saint||Maria SS. Assunta. St. Hugh Abbot|
|Saint day||August 15 and 16|
Novara di Sicilia (Gallo-Italic of Sicily: Nuè; Sicilian: Nuvara) is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Messina in the Italian region Sicily, located about 160 km east of Palermo and about 40 km southwest of Messina. As of 31 December 2004, it had a population of 1,606 and an area of 48.8 km².
"Noa", a word of Sicani origin, means “maggese” to indicate the agricultural vocation of the zone. Under the Romans it changed in Novalia (grain field) and for the Arabs garden was Nouah (garden, flower). Other names used in the Middle Ages include: Nucaria, the Nuara, the Nucharia, Nugaria, Nutaria, Nocerai, Noara until the definitive transformation in Novara.
After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, it remained under Byzantine hands until the Arab conquest of Sicily. The Sicilian emirate lost it in the 11th century, when it fell under control of the Normans, who populated the town people from Lombardy. The population, called Lombards of Sicily, indeed still speaks a distinctive dialect called Gallo-Italic of Sicily.
The village, nestled in the mountains overlooking ancient Tyndaris and Abacaenum and with notable views of the Aeolian Islands, is the archetype of a typical medieval town.
There are five churches. The 16th century Cathedral is in the Piazza Duomo. The Churches and palace ruins were constructed by the craftsmen of the town. Other churches include Santa Maria di Noara, S. Nicolò, S. Antonio, S. George and Annunziata. There are also palaces from the 16th-18th centuries.
The Anthropological Museum, which features tools of local farmers and artisans as well as displaying the early culture of the local people, is also of note. The intricate cobbled streets form a mosaic between the ancient small houses that stand shoulder to shoulder along the mountainsde.
Festivals and annual events
The Festival of Saint Anthony Abbot is celebrated in January, with a parade of horses and livestock and a “Blessing of the Animals” in the bell tower.
Events during Carnival include the “Gioco of the Maiorchino”, where wheels of maiurchèa (a seasoned pecorino cheese) are rolled along a predetermined route, the Carnival of the Children and a masked ball which takes place in the recently renovated Communal Theatre.
Pastoral rituals with a silent procession of the Confraternite occur during Holy Week.
In July there is a Flower Festival and the “Climbing of the Rocca Salvatesta”, which is seen as a test of character.
The Festa dell'Assunta (the assumption of the Virgin Mary) is the largest annual event in the town, attracting thousands of visitors. The festivities run from July 31 to August 15, when a procession is held with a statue of the Virgin (the patron saint of the town), illuminated with more than 150 candles, is carried through the streets on the shoulders of more than 30 men. The relics of Saint Hugh are also included in the procession and each every five years statues of other saints also join in. The event is followed by a firework display.
In the first few weeks of August an exhibition is held of vestments, church furnishings, handicrafts, paintings, photographs and local handicraft.
A “Living Manger” is displayed during the Christmas period.
Novara di Sicilia is 75 kilometres from Messina, 95 km from Catania and 55 km from Taormina. The town is connected to Messina and Catania by a bus service run by the AST company; the nearest rail station is that of Novara-Montalbano-Furnari (20 km).
- All demographics and other statistics: Italian statistical institute Istat.
- Blue Guide Sicily