From the majestic Cathedral to the Palazzo Ducezio, from the floral display to the Porta Reale: what to see in Noto and its surroundings, the pearl of Syracuse's Baroque.
UNESCO heritage since 2002, Noto is one of the most popular cultural and artistic destinations in Sicily. Its origins date back to the Ancient Bronze Age when the first nucleus of ancient Noto was founded on Mount Alveria (Neas). Over the centuries, Noto followed the historical vicissitudes of the island, first becoming a Syracusan colony and then an allied city of the Romans. During the occupations of the Normans and the Aragonese, Noto experienced a great development until, in 1693, it was destroyed by the earthquake of Val di Noto. The city was rebuilt 8 kilometers from the original nucleus, in the exact place where it is today.
It was after the Second World War that interest in Noto and the “Netino” Baroque grew within the community of scholars. The city thus became a very active tourist centre, also thanks to the majestic Cathedral which was definitively reopened in 2007.
WHAT TO SEE IN NOTO
The surreal air that you breathe walking through the narrow streets and squares of Noto gives the feeling of being in a timeless place. The pink/gold color dominates all the buildings, as well as the baroque motifs that connect to each other and define the essence of what has been called the "perfect baroque city".
Among the main things to see in Noto stands out the majesticCathedral, true hub of the city. The Basilica, built at the end of the 1600s, is dedicated to San Nicolò, bishop of Mira. Inserted among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Cathedral has a facade with two side towers and a Latin cross interior divided into three naves. It is here that some important works are found, such as a copy of theSpasm of Sicilyby Raffaele Politi and several canvases by Costantino Carasi, as well as the mortal remains of San Corrado Confalonieri.
Next to the Cathedral of Noto stands theDucezio Palace, at the top of the list of things to see. This is the town hall designed in 1746 by Vincenzo Sinatra and built with a facade with twenty arches supported by columns with Ionic capitals. Inside Palazzo Ducezio is the "Hall of Mirrors", a hall that houses Louis XV-style furniture and large mirrors.
Behind the Cathedral, along the street where the flower festival takes place annually, stands theNicolaci Palace of Villadorata. It is a majestic Baroque-style building characterized by a series of balconies supported by stone blocks in the form of lions, centaurs, children, mermaids and chimeras.
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Among the other things to see in the historic center of Noto, theChurch of Santa Chiara, with the bell tower and the interior characterized by decorations with stuccos and cherubs, thePorta Reale or Ferdinandea, symbol of the entrance to the city, theCastelluccio palace, among the most important noble palaces of Noto, theChurch of San Domenico and the Landolina Palace.
INFIORATA OF NOTO
The floral display of Noto is one of the most particular and characteristic things to see in the city. It is an event that takes place every year during thethird Sunday of Mayand which manages to involve thousands of people from all over Sicily, but not only. The event was born from the encounter between the Genzano and Netini flower artists, about forty years ago, and has since then enjoyed increasing success.
The floral display of Noto is set up along thevia Corrado Nicolaci and, every year, tells a different theme. The contrast between the colorful carpets of flowers and the golden stone of the buildings is stark and creates a bewitching atmosphere.
WHAT TO SEE AROUND NOTO
In the surroundings of the historic center of Noto there are many attractions. Among the main ones, the small and colorful one stands outMarzamemi, fishing village of Syracuse, theVendicari Wildlife Reservewith the famous Spiaggia delle Mosche, theRoman Villa of Tellaro, residence of the late Roman imperial age, theCavagrande Nature Reservewith lakes, for trekking lovers, and theHermitage of San Corradoout of the walls.
If you are organizing an on the road among the most beautiful areas ofSyracuse, in addition toOrtygiaand the Greek Theater, I recommend a visit to Portopalo di Capo Passero (southern tip of Sicily) ePalazzolo Acreide.
HOW TO GET TO NOTO
Noto si trova in provincia di Siracusa, a circa 40 chilometri a sud dal centro città. Il modo migliore per raggiungere il comune è la macchina:
- From the airportCatania(92 km): about 1 hour.
- From the airportPalermo(300 km): approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes.
- From Syracuse(40 km): about 30 minutes.