Among the Cisalpine Gauls, the area around Novara was called Aria. Some historians believe that Novara existed before the Romans and Gauls, as a settlement founded by the Ligures.
Anyway, the name Novara means literally New Aria and, despite of the insufficient information about its origins, Novara started to be a considerable settlement under the Romans.
In the following centuries, the city grew under the Goths, the Longobards and the Franks. Under the Lombards, Novara became a duchy; under Charles the Fat, a countship. Novara came to enjoy the rights of a free imperial city. In the 12th century Novara became a commune and joined in the struggle against emperor Frederick Barbarossa. Then, at the end of the same century, Novara joined in an alliance with the duchy of Milan.
In the 17th century Spanish rule is remembered mainly for poor governance: the city was transformed into a fortress a its populous suburbs destroyed. In 1713 Novara came under Austrian rule, enshrined in the Treaty of Utrecht of 11 April. After the peace of Vienna of 1735, between France, Austria and Sardinia, the city was granted to Charles Emmanuel III, becoming part of Sardinian States. Following the French Revolution, during the Napoleonic period, Novara became the capital of the department of Agogna and in 1814 came under the Savoy rule
During the 19th century, we can not
neglect two significant battles fought at Novara. The first took place
in April 1821 between the Liberals and the Piedmontese troops of
Charles Felix, reinforced by the Austrian regiments. The battle was
fought under the walls of Novara and determined the Austrian domination
in some cities in the Piedmont. The second goes back to March 23, 1849
between Piedmontese and Austrians who fought at Bicocca, south of the
city, along the valley of 'Arbogna. In the evening of the same day,
Carlo Alberto abdicated, in a hall of Palazzo Bellini, in favor of her
son Victor Emmanuel II. And from the ashes of this defeat took effect
on movement of the Italian Risorgimento (Reborn - the historical
process which led to national unification).
Since then the history of Novara was also history of the Kingdom of Sardinia, to which it belonged, while Italy was beginning its journey towards unity and independence.