Noto, capital of baroque

Eleonora Ruzzenenti | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Noto is a European capital of the Baroque and UNESCO Patrimony since 2002. It is far from Syracuse 30 km around, placed in the south ovest zone of the province. Its coast, between Avola and Pachino, gives the name to the homonymous gulf. In the Noto territory there are two rivers: the Tellaro and the Asinaro. It's one of the most beautiful cities of Sicilian art, has a splendid historical center where you can admire many civil and religious monuments, but also the roads, the alleys, the balconies have architectural elements to appreciate.

The city was completely razed to the ground by the earthquake of 11 january 1963 and subsequently rebuilt, under the supervision of the Duke of Camastra, on its current site several miles away from Noto Antica, the older, ruined town. What remains today of Noto Antica are just a few ruins (some of them quite fascinating), that are completely surrounded by the vegetation that has retaken the area.

The new city of Noto was rebuilt approximately 15 kilometers away and owes its beauty to the fact that it was built using a consistent style thanks to the ability of local sculptors who had learned to use the local stone, which is rather soft, to decorate the buildings with a sort of lacework made of stone.

There are three main roads that cross the city from east to west. The palaces are majestic, built using local stone, with a golden and pink hue, accentuated by the light of the sunset. The main axis is Corso Vittorio Emanuele, marked by three squares, each of which houses a church. The Porta Reale, surmounted by a pelican, symbol of self-sacrifice is the access to the course and to the historical center of the city. After leaving the car, you can walk along the course. In Piazza dell'Immacolata stands the Chiesa di San Francesco, with its imposing staircase. The most majestic of the three squares is that of the Municipio, bordered on the left by Palazzo Ducezio and on the right by the steps of the Cattedrale. The church, elevated by Benedetto XVI to a minor basilica today is still usable after the collapse of the dome and a large part of the central nave in 1996. Many of the paintings, unfortunately, have been lost. It remains, however, one of the most important symbols of Sicilian baroque. A little further on the course, on the right you can also admire the Chiesa di San Domenico, reachable from the slope that runs around a curated square embellished with a cedar and some palm trees.

The tourism of Noto, besides rotating on the architectural and historical beauties of the city, it also enriches its offer with artistic and cultural appointments that recall thousand of people for their oneness. One of these is the "INFIORATA", a demonstration that, from 1980 (year of the first edition), regularly develops it every year on third Sundays of May. A whole street (NICOLACI street) is decorated with sketches and representations to theme, performed using only flowers, petals, peat, in the suggestive scenery of this road in light slope that arrives in front of the Church of Montevergini. The Infiorata of Noto is known in all the world, and in the days when the jobs are exposed, in the city arrive thousand of people by organized pullmann or by own cars. And there are also the natural beauties of this amazing part of Sicily. The sea, the coast, the hinterland have each their charm. In the territory of Noto there are also some naturalistic pearls that have great historical-archaeological importance. They are the Natural Reserve of Vendicari, of the Natural Reserve Cavagrande of the Cassibile, of the beach of Calamosche, the Villa of the Tellaro, and Eloro.

Ristorante Dammuso. I love this restaurant!! The location is perfect, right in Noto's historical centre, nice and cozy, set in a light, airy stone vaulted building with a lovely ambience. The food is amazing, sicilian traditional recipes slightly revisited to make them closer to the modern taste and the wine list is interesting. Good value for money as well compared with other restaurants in the area.

Caffe' SIcilia: I tasted an almond and coffee granita at CaffèSicilia, which is a famous bar in Noto because locals recommended to go to this place and I found it pretty delicious. Surely this bar worth a visit even if in my opinion, the Sicilian granita you can taste in Catania is absolutely the best (but I'm biased)

Trattoria del Carmine: The real italian Trattoria!! If you are looking for a simple place but with a very tasty and not expensive traditional food, popular with Italian families.

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