Until the 17th century, the San Michele Hospital, an ancient Novarese institution, was located in the outlying district of Sant’Agabio.
When the suburbs were demolished for the construction of new bastions, the hospital was transferred to its present site within the city walls.
The first stone of the building was laid in 1628, by the architect Gian Francesco Soliva.
The 17th-century section is arranged around a quadrangular courtyard, defined by a double portico with round arches supported by paired columns. All the wards and service rooms were accessed from this area; since 1852 it has been adorned with medals and marble busts of the hospital benefactors.
Extensions and additions were built in the late 18th century, including the church dedicated to St. Michael, designed by Stefano Ignazio Melchioni and consecrated in 1793.
The entrance to the building, still in existence but now used for other purposes, overlooks the portico of the courtyard of honour.
The marble altar, with the grate that divided the space open to the public from that reserved for the nuns, and the Deposition by Giuseppe Mazzola, painted in around 1792, was transferred to the present-day church, built in the 20th century in the hospital quadrangle.
It contains some paintings from other religious buildings in the diocese, including works by Johan Christoph Storer (1620-1671), Carlo Preda (1645-1729) and Giuseppe Antonio Pianca (1703-1759).