The largest urban transformation carried out in the city was in the mid-16th century.
Novara, which had come under Spanish control with the Duchy of Milan, was converted into a stronghold.
The city’s defensive lines were re-arranged: starting from 1552, medieval buildings and suburbs in close proximity to the walls were demolished, including hospitals, churches and monasteries.
The castle, no longer the centre of the city’s defences, was integrated into a ring of bastions capable of withstanding artillery bombardment.
The city thereby acquired the pentagonal layout that still surrounds the historical centre today.
The works, which continued throughout the 17th century, involved notable military architects and engineers, including Gianmaria Olgiati, Gaspare Baldovino and Gaspare Beretta.
With the transition to the House of Savoy in 1738, the fortifications, now obsolete due to new military techniques, were progressively restructured.
Between 1779 and 1789, designs were drawn up to create a tree-lined avenue, named Allea, adjacent to the castle area.
In 1804, during the Napoleonic era, work began on the demolition of the fortifications and the reclaimed areas were used as walkways and gardens.
In around 1830, with the demolition of the old gates and ancient walls, a further transformation began: once the perimeter strip occupied by bastions and battlements was levelled, it was subdivided into lots and sold to provide space for the expansion of the city.