Although the name may mislead, this country has nothing to share with Novara located in Piedmont. The name, in fact, has undergone several changes throughout the history: from Noa (Sicani) to Novalia (Roman), from Nuah (Arabi) to Nocaria (Normanni) and finally Novara 🙂 It was then added “di Sicilia” to differentiate it from the Novara of Northern Italy.
Initially called Mylai by the Sicilians, Castelmola was conquered after several attempts by the Greeks of Syracuse commanded by Dionisio I, the same tyrant who destroyed the Calcidese colony of Naxos in 403 BC.
After the Greeks the village suffered the same fate of the whole island of Sicily: it was dominated by the Byzantines after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, after which by the Arabs in 902, by the Normans, under Ruggero the Norman, in 1078 and subsequently by the Angevins and the Aragonese.
It was with the Roman domination that the name changed from Mylai to Mola (from the Latin mill) and then into Castelmola (Castrum Molae -> Castelmola), due to the presence of a castle (castrum) erected initially by the Sicilians and then re-adapted by the Romans.
Naxos was founded in 735 – 734 BC from the settlers from Calcide Eubea and the island of Naxos respectively – today’s Nasso – from which the colony takes its name.
A few years later, around 729 BCE, the same settlers who founded Naxos founded Katane (today’s Catania) and Leontinoi (today’s Lentini).
The foundation of Naxos takes place almost simultaneously with that of Syracuse, which took place between 734 and 733 BC. However, it is claimed that the first Greek colony to have been founded in Sicily is precisely that of Naxos.