top of page

Noto, the amazing Baroque city in Sicily

If you are near Syracuse, you cannot miss a trip to Noto, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The area surrounding Noto is mainly mountainous and hilly, with rock formations that gradually slope down towards the sea, where beaches, natural harbors and enchanting inlets dominate. The climate is typically Mediterranean, with mild, rainy winters alternating with hot, dry summers, mitigated by the wind and the proximity of the sea. This allows you to visit its natural and architectural beauties in every season, choosing the most congenial solution among the travel offers to Noto.

Noto is known throughout the world for its extraordinary Baroque system, absolutely homogeneous and unitary due to the unity of space and time in which the construction of the new city took place after the earthquake at the end of the 17th century. The urban layout of the city is set on a regular orthogonal scheme, punctuated by parallel axes among which Corso Vittorio Emanuele stands out.

The Church of San Francesco, the Benedictine Monastery and the annexed Church of Santa Chiara with an elliptical plan, introduce the central square of the city. A real authentic Baroque jewel, on which the staircase leading to the spectacular facade of the Cathedral extends. Inside, the Cathedral was damaged after the terrible collapse of the dome in 1996 and part of the roof of the central nave, already partially damaged during a previous earthquake. The reconstruction works that began a decade ago are however about to be completed and will give new splendor by strictly following the original typical Baroque appearance.

In front of the Duomo it is possible to admire the Palazzo Ducezio - today the Town Hall - next to the Palazzo Landolina and the Bishop's Palace. Walking through the streets of the center, it is possible to admire some noble palaces with imposing facades, enriched with precious decorative elements. The most beautiful are near the cathedral and almost frame it, such as Palazzo Sant'Alfano, Palazzo Nicolaci di Villadorata, Palazzo Trigona and Palazzo Astuto. In the upper part of the city is the Church of the Crucifix, another work by Gagliardi, inside which you can admire the splendid "Madonna della Neve", by Francesco Laurana.

Although a small town, Noto has a rich calendar of events, parties and competitions that take place throughout the year. In winter, the theater season takes place at the Municipal Theater, with concerts, operettas and comedies, while on February 19, the Patron Saint Corrado Confalonieri is celebrated, honored with a spectacular and impressive procession. Holy Week is particularly felt in this city and reaches its climax on Good Friday when the procession of the Santa Thorn takes place, where the precious relic is carried in procession together with the simulacrum of the Dead Christ and the Madonna.

Finally, the last week of April until May 1st hosts the Food and Wine Week. It is basically an itinerary of taste within a cultural, artistic, monumental and naturalistic journey, with tasting of typical products of the Netina tradition within the evocative courtyards of the noble palaces and in the various districts. In the same period, an interesting exhibition of agricultural and food products was organized in the ancient Loggia del Mercato "Vetrina Sicilia". Within this theme, the sublime pastry and ice cream tradition of the city should not be overlooked at all, with sorbets, almond paste, jellies, candied fruit, cream puffs, for which you cannot say no to a stop at the Caffè Sicilia in Piazza Cathedral.

On the third Sunday of May, another highly anticipated event is the Baroque Spring, events and concerts, craft exhibitions, parades of vintage carriages and flowered floats culminating in the Infiorata of Via Nicolaci, a spectacular carpet of flowers set up by local artists along the whole main street and which illustrates different iconographic scenes and themes every year. Also not to be forgotten are the Antiques Fair on Pentecost, the International Festival of Baroque Music and the exhibitions of ancient traditional hand-made nativity scenes during the Christmas period.

Nearby, about 10 km from modern Noto, is ancient Noto, a Sicilian center which was later Hellenized, very rich in Roman times and still flourishing in the Middle Ages, then abandoned after the terrible earthquake at the end of the 17th century. It is worth taking a walk among its ruins, fascinating because they are now wrapped in thick vegetation that has almost completely swallowed them up. The archaeological area of Eloro is also of considerable importance, the ancient center founded by the Syracusans in the 7th century. B.C. Another site of interest is the sanctuary dedicated to Demeter, with sections of the city walls and the sacred area, the remains of the Agora and the theatre.

Noto is a pure city of art, still far from the great flows of mass tourism and is ideal for those in search of cultural itineraries and for those who want to discover the noble Sicilian origins together with its past. It is an introspective itinerary of Sicily and its traditions, where there is no noisy succession of souvenir shops, pubs and fast food restaurants. Here the ancient flavors are rediscovered, those that follow sustainable tourism in full harmony with the territory. If you are looking to get away from the so-called routine, the last minute travel offers to Noto are the right thing for you.


bottom of page