Novellara is located in the heart of the Reggio Emilia Lowlands, not too far from the Po River.
Novellara has been most ancient Gonzaga lordship and in its town centre maintains the XVI-century urban layout of which the painter, Lelio Orsi, who was born here, was also a protagonist; Piazza Unità d’Italia with Renaissance porticoes around the perimeter, is the beating heart of the town. There is also the Collegiate Santo Stefano Church, inside of which are important paintings and decorations, the Sanctuary of the Beata Vergine della Fossetta and the Franco Tagliavini Municipal Theatre.
The Fortress is Novellara’s most important monument. The imposing construction, built at the end of the XIV century for defensive purposes, was transformed during the XVI century into a noble residence. The rooms were embellished with decorations and the Gonzagas adorned them with valuable works of art. The Fortress is now the seat of the municipal administration and cultural services: the Gonzaga Museum, the Theatre, the Library and Historical Archives; inside are the Sala del Fico, decorated with grotesques dating back to the mid-XVI-century, and the Council Hall, painted in a scenographic style in the XIX century.
The Civic Hall inside the Fortress hosts a permanent collection of paintings by Augusto Daolio, the dear departed leader of the music band "I Nomadi".
The Gonzaga Museum occupies several rooms of the XVI-century apartment of the Gonzaga Counts, on the noble floor of the Gonzaga Fortress, designed, built and decorated under the direction of Lelio Orsi. Several rooms that host collections have coffered ceilings, are decorated with friezes and have XVI-century fireplaces in Verona marble. Finally, there is the room with the valuable collection of XVI-century pharmacy vases, from the Novellara-based Convent of the Jesuits, one of the most valuable important Italian collections.
Sweet and refreshing Novellara water melon is the main summer fruit in the Reggio Emilia Lowlands and has obtained the Protected Geographical Indication mark for its unique qualities.
Reggio Emilia Traditional Balsamic Vinegar
In the attic of the Fortress is the municipal vinegar cellar, where the prestigious Balsamic vinegar of Reggio Emilia matures; inside are two sets of the precious barrels branded with the coat of arms of the town of Novellara.
Outside the inhabited town, on the border between the areas of Reggiolo and Guastalla, are the so-called Valleys, large areas of ecological rebalancing and protection of biodiversity, obtained from the marshy territories of the Emilia plain. Spring is the time to see the rare “meadow violet” along the banks of ditches and canals where the "pavera" also grows, a marsh grass which, woven by the skilful hands of local craftsmen, was used for making chairs, baskets and bags.
Opened in 2017, the CAI 608 path leaves from Ponte del Pastore and continues for 10 kilometres for a walk of around two and a half hours. The route is not particularly difficult and is suitable for everyone.
NomadIncontro - third weekend of February
Meeting dedicated to fans of "Nomadi", band from Novellara, with two concert performances.
San Cassiano Festival - first weekend of May
Arts and crafts, antiques market, exhibitions, food and wine, funfair.
Miss Anguria Blues - last weekend of July
Concert of blues and roots music, street artists and musicians, gastronomic stands, melon stalls, games, market stalls, traditional crafts, contest of sugar content and flavour, heaviest water melon contest, parade of floats of gigantic water melons.
Balsamic Novellara - first Sunday of October
Market show of local products, good food and antiques; crushing and cooking of the must.
The country residences of the Gonzaga family for the court nobility were located outside the inhabited towns, in the direction of Guastalla and Bagnolo in Piano: they are the Casini di Sopra and di Sotto.