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