Borgomanero: history and what to see in the most important city of the district of Novara.

The second largest and most important city in the district of Novara, Borgomanero offers tourists an important historical past, besides its several attractions.

Borgomanero is well-known as it is the second and most important city of the area of Novara, after Novara itself. The prime position where this evocative urban center sits is truly favorable. Indeed, Borgomanero is in the northernmost area of the Novarese plain, ending in the high ground of Santa Caterina (Saint Catherine), San Michele (Saint Michael), and Maggiate on the Northern side, and Vergano Colombaro and Cureggio on the Eastern side. The historical and geographical characteristics of Borgomanero make it a city with a strong cultural identity, open to innovation and technology. 

Borgomanero: Geography and History

In the past, Borgomanero was the crossroad between the streets that led to Riviera d’Orta, and Sempione and Turin and Lake Major. 

This was the reason why people decided to build Borgomanero: it was a reference point for the Piedmontese trade. From the urbanistic and geographical level, Borgomanero preserves the model of Crux Viarum that people used to build the city during the Middle Ages. 

The most ancient testimony related to Borgomanero’s existence dates back to one of the twenty-three manors of the court of Barazzola. The name of the city has, however, different origins: the first official denomination is related to the Church of San Leonardo. The Church was a landmark for the pilgrims on the Via Francisca. 

The episcopate of Novara later decided to transform Borgo S.Leonardo into a military stronghold, which also became a support for the Catholic Church’s expansion toward the North. Eventually, this settlement was named after the Chief Magistrate of Novara, Giorgio Maniero

The building of a new town meant that the ancient village of San Leonardo, whose Church is still present and was external to the walls of the previous village. 

What are the most important monuments and attractions in Borgomanero? 

From a cultural point of view, Borgomanero offers a series of activities, characteristic monuments that are worth visiting. Showing that the city preserve its humble agricultural origins, one of the most important attractions of the city is the “Grape Festival,a popular folk festival where floats parade and music artists perform. 

In 1936, Podestà Gianni Colombo set up this event, which aimed to celebrate the grape-harvest. Originally, the festival took place during the 3rd week of September. Today, the festival is part of a longer event, which includes the “Donkey Race” and that takes the name of “Settembre Borgomanerese.” This  initiative animates the territory for four weeks, gaining prestige on the national level. 

But tourist know Borgomanero also because of Biblioteca Pubblica, a public library that the Cultural Institution of Achille Marazza Foundation manages. 

Here, a special section “History of Piedmont and Lombardy,” where one finds the almost complete collection of the book that authors published on the theme since 1500.  

Concerning the monuments that are worth seeing, we find the Statua della Madonna (Virgin Mary Statue), which Gabriele I D’Este ordered. Besides, we find the Collegiata of San Bartolomeo, the Chiesetta di San Leonardo (Church of San Leonardo), the Palazzo d’Este, and the Castello di Vergano (Castle of Vergano).

Photo by suzevonk on Flickr