Always the symbol of the identity of Novara, la Cupola (the Dome) of San Gaudenzio, created by the genius Alessandro Antonelli, is open to visitors until October (from Thursday to Sunday with hours available on the website http://www.cupolasangaudenzio.it/index.php).
The monument is one of the most daring structures ever conceived, a unicum in the history of world architecture. The documents of the construction site narrate how the architect imposed in his specifications that every material was to be of the highest quality, so as to prevent the stability of his invention from ever being compromised.
The work was completed between 1887 and 1888. However, the dome, like the cathedral, another antonelliana (Antonellian) piece, is partly incomplete: the fresco on several levels depicting the Trionfo di San Gaudenzio (Triumph of San Gaudenzio) will never be finished, just as the statues will never be placed to complete the shell. Both proposals were set aside due to the lack of funds and often for tumultuous relationships between the architect and the administrators.
The tour begins with a visit to the Sala del Compasso (Hall of the Compass), located at over 24 meters in height. It can be accessed from Via Bescapè using the lift located in the Alfieri bell tower.
The Hall where the compass is held with which Antonelli prepared all the templates for the construction of the dome is the heart of the Basilica. Thanks to technology and the play of lights and prints, it is possible to better understand the use of this instrument: the visitor enters the beam of light and with his presence modifies the projection, in fact making the dome alive.
The ascent continues passing from the north transept, up to reach the second balcony. From the height of 45 meters it is possible to enjoy an enchanting view: from the Alpi (Alps) to the wide spaces of the Pianura Padana (Po Valley).