Noto is one of the most beautiful cities in Sicily, defined as “stone garden of Europe”. It has an architectonic overview that is unique in the world for the unity and harmony of Baroque style that is truly splendid, emphasized by the natural beauty of the rosè colour of the stone used to build the town.
Neas is believed to have been founded by Sican populations, at the time of the fall of Troy, on the Mendola hill. Falling into the hands of the Syracuse conquerors, the town assimilated Hellenic customs and rites, and was raised to the rank of a “gymnasium”.
Coming under the Roman domination, as declared a Latin ‘municipium’, a singular condition which brought the town considerable privileges, like that of being able to govern itself with its own laws.
Conquered by the Arabs, who made it a highly armed stronghold, it took the present name and was the capital of one of the three “valleys” into which they subdivided Sicily.
After two centuries of Islamic domination, in 1090 Noto negotiated surrender with Roger.
The history of Noto has been determined not so much by men as by nature: in 1693 it was destroyed by the earthquake which struck all south-
These were three different personalities which, though living and working in the provinces, conferred on the town an original impress which goes beyond the rigid Baroque idiom, being enriched with Renaissance, pseudo-
Noto should be visited carefully, without hurrying, in order to realize that every corner and every stone holds a surprise.
The triumphal arch
The triumphal arch, along the main thoroughfare, marks the start of the town. Surmounted by three symbolic sculptures -
The San Francesco all’Immacolata Church
The San Francesco all’ Immacolata Church rises at the top of an imposing flight of steps at the right of the main thoroughfare. It was built, together with the annexed convent, in 1704-
The Santa Chiara Church
The Santa Chiara Church, by Gagliardi, a delicate Baroque expression, was built in 1785. The interior, small and oval, decorated with stuccoes and putty, has its rhythm marked out by twelve columns, and it is one of the most interesting examples of spatial solutions by this architect.
The Santissimo Salvatore Monastery
The Santissimo Salvatore monastery is the biggest edifice in the town, built in 1710-
The Santissimo Salvatore Church
The Santissimo Salvatore Church, built at the end of the 18th century, rises in a big square. Its particular feature lies in the traces, in the façade, of the transition from Baroque to Classicism.
The Cathedral, which stands at the top of a monumental staircase, was begun just a few months after the earth quake, but was only completed in 1770. The façade, devoid of ornaments and extravagances, incorporates Baroque motifs and classical elements. The three naves of the church are divided by high pillars with double pilasters. In the chapel at the back of the right nave the silver ark of the patron saint of the town, San Corrado, is kept.
Opposite the cathedral there is Palazzo Ducezio, which houses the Town Hall. Designed by the architect Sinatra, the palace, raised with respect to the square in which it stands, was built in 1746-
Not far away there is Palazzo Villadorata, which looks out on Via Nicolaci, a narrow side street. The broad façade is enlivened by protruding balconies in wrought iron held up by all sorts of ledges, with human and animal figures amid volutes and arabesques, the most extreme manifestation of Noto Baroque. Built in 1731, the palace, which for a long time was the residence of the princes of Villadorata, was recently largely purchased by the town council. In it there are ninety rooms, and in the ceilings there are 18th century frescoes. In May in Via Nicolaci there is a traditional flower procession.
The Crocifisso Church
The Crocifisso Church is the second one in the town after the cathedral. It stands in the upper part of Noto, in Piazza Mazzini. Designed by Gagliardi (1715), it is the richest church in works of art. Inside there are two, column-
The Montevergine Church
At the end the street is closed off by the Montevergine Church, attributed to the architect Sinatra. On the outside it is concave in shape, closed off between two lateral towers; inside there is only one nave, along which there are Corinthian columns.
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Noto: Capital of Sicilian Baroque. The City is included in UNESCO World Heritage in July 2002.
Area: 554 km²
Elevation: 80 m
Population: 24 047
Population name: Notinesi or Netini
Area code: 0931
Zip Code: 96017
Geographic Location: South-
Patron Saint: Corrado Confalonieri
Every year, the third Sunday of May is dedicated to the Infiorata. This event was born twenty-
FLAVOURS AND AROMAS
HOW TO REACH
By car: Noto can be reached by A18 (ME-
By train: Noto is connected to the main Italian cities by the State Railway Network.
FF.SS. Information -
By bus: daily links with major towns (AST and INTERBUS)
By plane: the nearest airport is “Fontanarossa” in Catania (80km)
Location: Piazza XVI Maggio
Opening hours: from 9:00 to 13:00 & from 15:00 to 20:00 (from 9:00 to 13:00 & from 15:00 to 19:00 in winter)
Location: Via Gioberti 13