Noto, known as the pearl of Sicilian Baroque, givesits name to the district called Val di Noto, made up of a string of municipalities remarkable for their art works and architecture of their palaces and churches. Since the nineteen-eighties, Noto has become even more famous thanks to the annual Infiorata (floral display), which takes place in May.
The presence of the Aragonese gave Noto a particular city structure and made it a centre of art and culture in 1400. Like Ragusa, Noto had also literally flourished again after the devastating earthquake of 1600, after this terrible event, massive reconstruction works began. The architecture in Noto is, indeed, unique of its kind, with large squares and staircases, all elegantly illuminated by the typical pinkish colour of the local stone.
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The city of Noto and its architectural splendour are strongly linked with the figure of the famous Giuseppe Lanza, duke of Camastra, who was in chargeof the entire reorganisation of the city and gave the typical Sicilian Baroque elements. The duke of Camastra was also responsible for the rebuilding of Catania, again following an earthquake, which was redesigned according to antiearthquake criteria way ahead of their time. Some places not to be missed Palazzo Ducezio, the town hall, remarkable for the beauty of its loggia with eleven arches; Chiesa Madre di San Nicola, the city’s majestic Baroque cathedral; Palazzo Nicolaci di Villadorata, which is one of the most beautiful aristocratic buildings. Its balconies are made in beaten iron and decorations that depictmermaids, winged horses, hippogriffs and other invented animals.
Archaeological and natural heritage sites in the Noto Area
Noto Antica is the city’s ancient urban settlement, which still contains remains dating from theGreek era. Eloro is an archaeological site located near to Noto, right at the mouth of the Tellaro river. The Roman Villa at the Tellaro is a real treasure to be discovered. From Noto you can reach it by motorway, turning off towards Pachino. The villa dates back to the 4th Century AD and conserves an incredibly rich mosaic work, whose preciousness challenges the one of the more famous Villa del Casale in Piazza Armerina.
Noto’s traditional local products
If you happen to visit Noto, don’t miss a good draught of Moscato di Noto, the local protected origin wine with a pleasant aromatic taste. And for dessert, try the Conchiglie, delicious sweets with real pasta in shell shapes filled with citron jam.
Events in Noto
Festa di San Corrado Confalonieri, 19 February.
Infiorata (floral display), which takes place every third Sunday in May in Via Nicolaci, where real works of art are created, with various representations made exclusively with fresh flowers.