One of the longest-lived signorie of the Gonzaga family in the Po plain was NOVELLARA that remained independent from 1469 until 1728.

An imposing fortress that houses the nineteenth-century theatre and the Gonzaga museum (with an exceptional collection of apothecary jars and with paintings by Lelio Orsi, who was born here) dominates the historic centre.

On the main square, surrounded by stately porticoes, stands the great Collegiate Church of Santo Stefano, built in 1567 and designed by Orsi, which was later modified in the eighteenth century.

Novellara, Gonzaga museum