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NOVARIA (Novara) Piedmont, Italy.

A Roman municipium with a nearly square grid plan determined by the junction of the cardo and the decumanus, intersected by other minor streets. Recovered remains of the walls have permitted reconstruction of the boundaries of the urban plan, which enclosed nearly one square km.

Traces of the circuit wall are visible beneath the Palazzo Venezia and the dwellings of the Marzoni and Bossi Grai, while to the E there are remains beneath the Salesian Institute and the Quaglia dwelling. In the course of digging the foundations of new buildings such as the San Lorenzo retreat and the San Luca orphanage, segments of the wall were discovered, but only recently in Largo Cavour has a significant section (about 60 m long) been discovered.

From these investigations the structure of the wall can be determined. It was very strong, with a rubble core and walls of opus incertum interrupted by two courses of brick. The portion beneath Piazza Cavour reveals traces of a postern gate, with a staircase, still perfectly preserved, hugging the inner wall. That the gate gave access to a hilly area indicates that, at least in this part of the ancient city, the buildings were set on an elevated plain.

The presence of grand buildings in the city is evidenced by an enormous wall complex unearthed in 1922 when the foundations for the Banca d'Italia were being dug. At that time, large sections of mosaic pavement were brought to light. A dedicatory inscription to Terentia Postumia shows the existence of public baths as do the remains of a water pipe which emptied in an area probably occupied by the baths, as even the present-day name, Canton Balineo, demonstrates. A dedicatory inscription to G. Torullius Fuscus indicates the existence of an organization of an office of public officials and of a public works department.


H. Philipp in RE XVII (1936) 1135-1136; G. L. Stella in Bollettino Storico per la Provincia di Novara 41 (1950) 27ff; F. Cognasso, “Novara e la sua Storia,” Novara e il suo territorio (1952) 3ff; L. Cassani in Bollettino Storico per la Provincia di Novara 44 (1953) 54ff; id., Repertorio di Antichità preromane e romane rinvenute nella Provincia di Novara (1962); R. Fumagalli in Bollettino Storico per la Provincia di Novara 45 (1955) 232ff.


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