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Novellara is a small town in the province of Reggio Emilia, located in between Mantua, Parma and Modena. The story of the city is strictly connected to the Gonzaga Family’s who ruled it from 1371 to 1728, and made Novellara the second Gonzaga dominion in terms of age and importance. The stronghold in the city center was built at the end of the Fourteenth century and in the Sixteenth century it was turned into a castle, more suitable for living than for defensive purposes. Both the Theatre and the Gonzaga Museum are located inside the stronghold. The Museum hosts many historical and artistic artifacts: frescoes by Lelio Orsi, vases of the ancient Jesuits’ pharmacy, a set of portraits of various members of the Gonzaga family, a Sixteenth century tapestry, and many more.
The porches spread through the historical city center and frame the main square, Piazza Unità d’Italia, where the Collegiata di Santo Stefano, the biggest church of the city, is located. Right outside the town, the Valleys cover an area of 1982ha, spread between Guastalla, Novellara and Reggiolo. The Valleys were reclaimed from the swamps and they are now a protected area where the motorized circulation is strictly regulated to preserve the natural habitat of various paludal species.
One of the typical products is the watermelon, that has recently been awarded with the PGI designation. But Novellara boasts many other enogastronomic excellences: Parmesan cheese, Lambrusco wine, cold cuts, Traditional Balsamic vinegar, and Saba (freshly squeezed grapes juice).
Nomadincontro, dedicated to the late frontman of the local band “I Nomadi” (second weekend of February); San Cassiano (May 4th), dedicated to the patron saint of the city; Miss Anguria (“Miss watermelon”, in the second half of July); Novellara Balsamica (first weekend of October). An antiquities market has been taking place every first Sunday of the month for the past thirty years, in the city center.
the municipal Acetaia inside the Gonzaga stronghold; the DE.CO and IGP designations awarded to the watermelon; Bici-Bus a bike-bus service that allows students to safely reach their schools; projects to preserve biodiversity in the valleys; color plan for the historical centre; the farmers’ market every Friday afternoon; Sagra della Pavera, a rural festival aimed at restoring the ancient art of chair-menders; Filos del telefono amico, meetings held once a month that recall the ones the women used to have by the fireplace after a long day of work, during which they dedicated themselves to sewing and storytelling.
Visitors can get to Novellara by train from Reggio Emilia stations (Reggio Emilia, or Reggio Emilia High speed) or from the station of Guastalla.
By car: from Milan/Parma, take A1 highway until the exit for Reggio Emilia or Guastalla. From Bologna, take A22 highway (Modena-Brennero) take exit “Carpi”, and then follow the road signs for Guastalla.
1 kg of chards;
30gr of ground Lardo or Pancetta
80gr of grated parmesan cheese “Vacche Rosse”
1 spoonful of ground parsley
4 spoonful of flour
2 spring onions
1 ground garlic slice
40gr f breadcrumbs
A few drops of Traditional balsamic vinegar
Wash the chard, drain them and grind them in small pieces. Add all the ingredients and mix them with your hands until you obtain a homogeneous dough. Warm up the pan and cover it with a thin layer of oil. When it’s hot, pour the dough, spread it out carefully then cover with a lid and let it cook slowly on a very low flame. Every now and then shake the pan to move the dough and turn it. When it’s well cooked, drain it from the oil and serve it still warm with a few drops of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar.
Comune di Novellara
P.le Marconi 1 – 42017 Novellara (Reggio Emilia)
tel. + 39 0522-655457