There are a couple of related questions here which might help you. Is there a single place I could go in Italy to view birth records from Northern Italy from 1750-1850? has an answer with information about the start of civil registration in Italy.
There is also a general question How can I determine what records are available in a particular locale? with many ideas about where to find records, both online and offline. In an answer to that question, our fellow user JustinY introduced his finding aid Find a Record. (Find a Record has changed since JustinY first brought it online, so the paragraphs that follow describe the results I got on the original system when I used it in 2014.)
When I go to Find a Record and type in "Novara, Italy" I get several different choices, so the first step might be to see if there is more than one place with that name, and to look for information in your family records to determine which Novara, Italy is the right one. (I am adding another section below a dividing line to talk about other finding techniques.)
Find A Record directs me to the FamilySearch collection Italy, Births and Baptisms, 1806-1900. The catalog description reads:
Index to selected Italy births and baptisms. Only a few localities are
included and the time period varies by locality. Due to privacy laws,
recent records may not be displayed. The year range represents most of
the records. A few records may be earlier or later.
One technique for testing an online collection is to put in the place name and a wider date range than you need. A search for Novara, Italy with the range "1870 - 1880" yields 1,713 records, so there is some coverage for this area. But the coverage for the area may not be complete, and if you click on the link "Learn More" in the catalog listing, it sends you to the article about the collection in the FamilySearch Wiki, which says:
This index is not complete for any particular place or region.
The Family Search Wiki on the Piedmont region is really just a stub, but it says:
The State Archive (Ufficio dello Stato Civile) of each province is
located in the provincial capital. Municipalities provided the state
archives with copies of their original civil registration during the
From there the Wiki directs readers to another stub about Piedmont jurisdictions that says:
From 1866 to the present time, copies of civil registration are sent
to the Tribunale (much like a county court in the United States) from
the towns that lie within its jurisdiction. Each province has several
A town (comune) recorded and still records the births, marriages, and
deaths of everyone within its jurisdiction. This may include outlying
smaller villages and farms. The original is kept in the comune while
copies were sent to the state archives (1809-1866) and to the tribunale
A hamlet is referred to as a frazione. A comune may have several
frazioni within its boundaries. Usually the civil records for a
frazione are kept in the larger comune.
If the record cannot be found in the comunes, is it possible that the local record has been filed incorrectly? Have you also asked the tribunale?
The FamilySearch Wiki has an article Italy Gazetteers that describes some of the research materials held in the Family History Library and how to look for the modern and historical place names.
Whether you do the research yourself, or hire a professional, try to collect enough information from family sources so that you can look in the right location, and determine that the record you find is your relative and not someone else with the same name. Writing a brief biographical sketch, with a list of all the sources you've checked and the search results (both positive and negative) is often useful -- it gathers all your information in one place and sometimes helps you think of other records you might have missed.
These links may also be useful:
I also wanted to add a couple of examples to show why it is important to review all the things you think you know, because it is very easy to create a roadblock for yourself. Ask yourself this question: How do I know that my great-grandfather was born in Novara, Italy? How can I find other sources of information about where he was born?
Case 1: I am the youngest of many children. I remembered that my father was "from" a particular place. What I remembered was the name of the largest big city that was closest to his hometown. If I had written to that city, which is in a different county, and I had asked for copies of records about his birth, they would have told me they didn't have a record for him. I would have been looking for him in the wrong place. (Fortunately my older brother was able to give me the name of the small town where he was from, and after that it was easy to find him in the census and in other records.)
Case 2: We knew the birthplace of my husband's grandfather from family stories, and it was easy to find many records about him that mentioned both his name and his birthplace. The town is small, so I have confidence that these records are about him and not someone else with the same name. However, there is ONE record which gives his birthplace as the name of a larger town which is nearby. If that record had been my starting place, instead of the other information I had from his family, I never would have found any of the records about him, just like I wasn't able to find my father until I had the right place.
If you have someone's birthplace from a death certificate, that is pretty far removed in time from when he was born, and it's possible that the person who gave that information for the certificate made a mistake, or didn't know the right town.
So one technique is to find out what information would have been recorded in the birth records in Italy at that time, and then look for other records which also have the same information that the birth certificate might have. Collect records which have enough information on them that you can be sure that it is your grandfather. Now use those records as clues when you look for your grandfather's birth certificate. One of them might list a birthplace which is nearby, and that could be your grandfather's actual birthplace.
The other thing I would suggest is to collect records about your grandfather's siblings. If you look at an entire family group, that gives you a bigger group of records to look at, and there may be clues on the siblings' records that your grandfather's records don't have. Sometimes it can also help to look at the records of associates and neighbors, if you know of neighbors who came from the same area. See QuickLesson 11: Identity Problems & the FAN Principle by Elizabeth Shown Mills. (FAN = friends associates neighbors)