On 22nd January  Novara celebrates its Patron Saint, San Gaudenzio, first bishop of the city (in the year 397). The festivity is directly bound to the so called Miracle of the Flowers; the legend tells that on  21st  January of an unknown year, Saint Ambrogio, bishop of Milan, was crossing Novara on his way back from Vercelli; it was quite late and the holy man thought it was better to avoid to stop and pay a visit to  Gaudenzio; but his horse didn’t agree with him and refrained to go on. Saint Ambrogio understood the message, came back and met Gaudenzio, who went to welcome him.

 The Miracle of the Roses

Gaudenzio had very few things to prepare a good supper and thought to send his servant to his kitchen garden. It was an ice-cold January, the snow had fallen abundant and of course the servant expected to find bare flowerbeds as he had noticed just before. Anyway he obeyed and found a miraculous blooming. Fruits on the trees and all sort of good things on the ground.

The tradition of the “OFFER OF THE FOWERS TO SAN GAUDENZIO” was born.

On  22nd January (and on the days before)  Novara Streets are crowded with both its inhabitants and those of the surrounding villages and the streets get narrower because of the rows of “Marroni” (big chestnuts) that the sellers display on their small benches.

A seller of “marroni” and other pedlars