Novara di Sicilia is a mysterious village about 70 km from Messina and closer to the northern coast. Legend has it that the Cyclops lived in the tiny town built at the junction of the Nebrodi mountain and the Peloritani mountain. The Saracens chose Novara di Sicilia as the site for their castle and developed the town only later.
Today, there are just a few ruins left of this castle. They are spread out over a steep cliff. This area offers a spectacular view of the country that allows us to also see the Aeolian islands during summer. The Church of San Giorgio is located near the castle’s remains. It has been deconsecrated today, but it boasts a unique interior with twelve monolithic columns made in Corinthian design and a stunning coffered ceiling.
Let’s travel to Novara di Sicilia’s historic center and find the Cathedral Santa Maria Assunta. It was built in the 16th century. The Cathedral is a symbol of local art. Its particular façade is made from sandstone and rests on a long staircase. The building’s interior features a Renaissance-inspired design that emphasizes its grandeur. The Cathedral’s minimalistic design is in complete contrast to the Cathedral’s. The small church of San Francesco dates back to the 13th century. It is the oldest known religious building in the village.
The Abbey of Santa Maria La Nosara is located five kilometers from the historical center. It dates back to the 12th century and was built by Saint Ugo Abate during Ruggero II’s reign. This is the first instance of Cistercian architecture in Sicily. Its sober style recalls poverty, simplicity, and the fundamental principles of Cistercian life. Let’s now go on a scenic hike.
Curiosity. Novara di Sicilia is also known for being the historic residence of the Tournament of Maiorchina. This ability game was practiced by villagers since the seventeenth century and is still in existence today. Maiorchino, a wonderful cheese made from sheep-cured milk, is one of the most popular. Carnival is a competition that uses round-shaped cheese. 16 teams consisting of three players roll up a rope lazzada along the Maiorchino’s diameter. The cheese (10-12kg) will then be shot in a spinning motion for two kilometers along the slope of the path. Everyone is invited to enjoy this delicious product, which, when grated, will season traditional macaroni or tomato.
Novara, the land of hazelnuts is celebrated in October with an enormous festival and delicious desserts. But Novara is most famous for its incomparable fragrant hazelnuts sausage, which you can enjoy accompanied by some good, fragrant bread.