The Cathedral of San Nicolò, dedicated to Saint Nicholas of Myra, is the beautiful Baroque cathedral of Noto, located at the top of a wide staircase, on the northern part of Piazza del Municipio (Town Hall Square). SHORT HISTORY The construction of the church began in 1694, one year after the terrible earthquake of Val di Noto, which completely destroyed the ancient Noto, located about 8 kilometers north of the current city. The church was completed in 1703, and it was opened for worship in a solemn ceremony. In the second half of the 18th century, the original unfinished facade of the church, built by Rosario Gagliardi, was remodeled by the architect Vincenzo Sinatra, and completed at the end of the 18th century. In the 19th century, a new dome was built to replace the previous one, deteriorated by the earthquakes from the 18th century, giving the cathedral its current appearance. After the earthquake of December 13, 1990, the church suffered some structural damage, but no restoration measures were taken. On the evening of March 13, 1996, due to a serious defect of the pillars of the central nave, the first of the right-hand pylons that supported the dome Read more [...]
Known as the Capital of the Baroque, Noto was declared in 2002 a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, together with the other seven late Baroque cities of the Val di Noto – Caltagirone, Militello in Val di Catania, Catania, Modica, Palazzolo, Ragusa and Scicli.
The most important landmarks in Noto are the Cathedral of Saint Nicholas (Cattedrale di San Nicolò), the Church of the Holy Cross (Chiesa del Santissimo Crocifisso), the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi to the Immaculate (Chiesa di San Francesco d’Assisi all’Immacolata), the Church of Saint Dominic (Chiesa di San Domenico), the Ducezio Palace, the Tina Di Lorenzo Theater, and the Royal Gate (Porta Reale). The streets of Noto are also beautiful, and a walk through the historical center of the city, especially in the pedestrian area, is a must.
The Church of San Francesco d’Assisi all’Immacolata is a beautiful church in Noto, located about 180 meters from the Cathedral of San Nicolò and the Ducezio Palace. Along with the adjacent Convent of the Friars Minor Capuchin, the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi to the Immaculate is considered one of the most important religious buildings in Noto. SHORT HISTORY The church was built between 1704 and 1745, after a design by the architects Vincenzo Sinatra and Rosario Gagliardi. ART AND ARCHITECTURE The harmonious facade of the church, with two orders, stands at the end of an imposing staircase with three ramps. The magnificent portal of the church is flanked by two Baroque columns, with two niches on each side and a smaller one above. On the second order, we can find a beautiful stained glass window. The interior, with a single nave, is rich in paintings and funerary monuments dedicated to members of noble families of Noto. As you enter the church, you can see on your left, inside the vault of the Blessed Inocents (Santi Innocenti), a painting entitled the Massacre of the Innocents, made by Antonino Vizzini in 1706. The vault of B. Andrea Conti Read more [...]
The Church of Santissimo Crocifisso is a church located on the northern part of Noto, in Piazza Mazzini. The Church of the Holy Cross is the largest religious building in the city, after the Cathedral of San Nicolò. SHORT HISTORY The church was built in 1715 by the architect Rosario Gagliardi, after a church with the same dedication from the ancient city of Noto (Noto Antica), located on Mount Alveria, was destroyed by the earthquake of 1693. ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade, with two incomplete orders, opens onto the large Mazzini Square, preceded by a wide staircase. On each side of the central portal, finely carved in limestone, two Roman lions were placed until 1984, when were transferred inside the church to preserve them from the atmospheric agents. The church has a Latin cross plan with three naves, surmounted by an imposing dome. The interior is very bright due to the large windows of the central nave. The wooden reliquary cross located in the apse was carved in 1746 by Vincenzo Rotondo, after a design by Gagliardi. On each side of the cross are two oval-shaped canvases depicting the Madonna Addolorata (Our Lady of Sorrows) and San Giovanni. Read more [...]
The Church of Montevergine is a Baroque church in Noto, located in Via Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour, about 150 meters away from the Cathedral of San Nicolò. The church is situated at the upper end of Via Corrado Nicolaci, the street which hosts every year the famous Infiorata di Noto. SHORT HISTORY The church was begun in 1695 on a project by the architect Vincenzo Sinatra, and was completed and opened for worship in 1762. ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church has a concave facade, without Baroque decorations, characterized by the measured geometry of its twin bell-towers and by a short staircase leading to the portal, bordered by two quadrangular columns. Inside, the church has a single nave, surrounded by Corinthian half-columns that give the whole interior a classical style. The 18th-century majolica floor of the nave is still intact. Of particular value is the Baroque central altar, in polychrome marble, surmounted by an artistic ciborium, rich in decorations. The paintings in the vault and in the four side altars are attributed to Costantino Carasi. One of them, the Deposition, is dated back to 1712, and the others depict the Marriage of the Virgin, the Madonna of the Read more [...]
Palazzo Ducezio, the seat of the Town Hall of Noto, is a beautiful palace located across Piazza del Municipio from the Cathedral of San Nicolò. The palace was named in honor of Ducezio, King of the Sicels and founder of Noto. SHORT HISTORY The palace was designed by the architect Vincenzo Sinatra in 1746, inspired by some French palaces of the 17th century, but was completed only in 1830. The second floor of the palace was built in the first half of the 20th century by the architect Francesco La Grassa. ART AND ARCHITECTURE The convex facade of the palace is characterized by twenty arches supported by columns with Ionic capitals in the lower section, and by thirteen rectangular windows in the upper section. Inside, we can find Sala degli Specchi (Hall of Mirrors), an oval-shaped hall decorated at the end of the 19th century with stuccos and sumptuous mirrors. Over time, the Hall of Mirrors received the visit of many heads of state. At the beginning of the 1930s, on the occasion of the official visit of Umberto and Maria Josè of Savoy, the hall was restored by the painter Gregorietti. The furniture was made by the Read more [...]
The Church of Sant’Agata is a Baroque church in Noto dedicated to Saint Agatha, located in Via Raffaele Trigona, about 350 meters away from the Cathedral of San Nicolò. The church, now deconsecrated, was the only church dedicated to Saint Agatha – the Martyr Saint of Catania, in the entire province of Syracuse. SHORT HISTORY Although is the oldest church in Noto, this does not mean very old, because the whole city was rebuilt after the terrible earthquake of 1693. The church was built at the beginning of the 18th century on a project by Rosario Gagliardi, and consecrated in 1710. ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church stands on top of a scenic staircase, with an interesting parvis paved with lava stone and river pebbles at its base. The facade of the church has an elegant rectangular shape, and is characterized by its beautiful portal. The portal is surmounted by a triangular architrave framed by a double order of Ionic columns that support the central entablature. The central window, framed by precious garlands carved in bas-relief, is surmounted by a decorated tympanum. The interior, with a single nave, has the vault decorated with polychrome stuccoes, together with the wonderful Read more [...]
The Church of the Madonna del Carmine (Our Lady of Carmel) is a Baroque church in Noto, located in Via Ruggero Settimo, about 500 meters away from the Cathedral of San Nicolò. SHORT HISTORY The church was built by Corradino Randazzo and Vincenzo Sortino on a project by Rosario Gagliardi. The building was completed in 1743. ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church, slightly concave towards the inside, has a single portal, surmounted by a large coat of arms of the Carmelites, supported by two angels. Above the coat of arms, there is a large semicircular architrave. The entablature is supported by four pillars in Corinthian style. The second order has a central window, with two pillars on the sides. The lateral pinnacles are decorated with geometric figures carved in bas-relief. The third order is represented by a bell-gable consisting of three arched niches surmounted by pinnacles. Inside, the church has a single nave decorated with fine polychrome stuccoes and frescoed geometric and floral figures. On both sides of the nave, there are splendid Baroque altars containing beautiful works of art, including 18th-century paintings. The most beautiful part of the church is undoubtedly the presbytery, with the Read more [...]
The Church of San Domenico is a church in Noto, located in via Matteo Raeli, overlooking Piazza XVI Maggio, about 280 meters away from the Cathedral of San Nicolò. The church, dedicated to Saint Dominic, the founder of the Dominican Order, is one of the most important and best preserved examples of Baroque architecture in Noto, and one of the most significant masterpieces of the late Baroque in the entire south-eastern Sicily. SHORT HISTORY The Church of San Domenico was built at the behest of the Dominican friars on a project by the architect Rosario Gagliardi, between 1703 and 1727. ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church has two orders, the lower one in Doric style, and the upper in Ionic style. The central part of the facade has a convex shape and protrudes towards the street. The interior, well preserved, is structured on an elongated Greek cross plan, with three naves and five domes richly decorated with stuccoes, and side altars in polychrome marble with 18th-century paintings, among which the Madonna del Rosario by Vito D’Anna stands out. The third altar on the left aisle has a Crucifix and various marble panels with scenes from the Read more [...]
The Statue of San Corrado is a bronze sculpture depicting Saint Conrad of Piacenza, the patron saint of Noto, located in the eastern part of the city, in Piazzale Luigi Adorno. THE SAINT Corrado Confalonieri was born in 1290 in the town of Calendasco, now a municipality in the Province of Vicenza, and died while in prayer, kneeling before a crucifix, on February 19, 1351, in Netum (Noto Antica). At his request, he was buried at the Church of St. Nicholas. After the city was struck by earthquake in the 1690s, his body was transferred to the new church of the same name built in the relocated city, now called Noto. Pope Leo X beatified Conrad on July 12, 1515, and permitted the town of Noto to celebrate his feast day on February 19. On June 2, 1625, he was canonized by Cardinal Odoardo Farnese, in a solemn ceremony held at the Cathedral of Piacenza. THE STATUE The statue of Saint Conrad of Piacenza, caught in the act of blessing the faithful, was inaugurated in 1955 on the occasion of the solemn patronal feast held every year on the last Sunday of August. The sculpture, about 2 meters Read more [...]
Teatro Tina di Lorenzo is a theater in Noto, located on Corso Vittorio Emanuele, about 300 meters away from the Cathedral of San Nicolò and Palazzo Ducezio. The theater was named after the famous Italian actress Tina di Lorenzo, who was raised in Noto and became a star on stage and in silent films during the first decades of the 20th century. The theater is also known as Teatro Vittorio Emanuele III, and is defined by some people as the Scala di Milano in miniature due to its sumptuous interiors. SHORT HISTORY At the beginning of the 19th century, the people of Noto, feeling the need for a theater, began to use a wing of the Ducezio Palace for such representations. However, the solution did not satisfied the ever increasing demands of the citizens, especially after Noto was named capital of the province of Syracuse in 1837, and the decision to build a new municipal theater was taken in 1851. In 1855, a committee of citizens was formed to raise the funds necessary for the construction. Later, the architect Francesco Sortino was commissioned to design the new building. At his death, in 1863, the direction of the works passed Read more [...]
The Church of Santissimo Salvatore (Most Holy Saviour) is a church in Noto, located between the Cathedral of San Nicolò and the Church of San Francesco d’Assisi all’Immacolata. The church is part of a larger complex, along with the Monastery of SS. Salvatore and the Episcopal Seminary. SHORT HISTORY The construction of the church began in 1767 under the supervision of the architect priest Andrea Gigante, to replace an old church dating back to the beginning of the 18th century. At his death, with the church unfinished, the initial project was partially modified by D. Antonio Mazza, and the church was completed and consecrated in 1802. ART AND ARCHITECTURE The decorative cycle of the interior is one of the most significant examples of the Sicilian cultural transition phase between the late Baroque and Neoclassicism. Began in 1794 and completed two years later, the interior is the result of the pictorial interventions of Ermenegildo Martorana from Palermo and those in stucco of Giovanni Gianforma. Among the frescoes, we can find the Pentecost, Saint Paul on the Road to Damascus and the Appearance of Three Mysterious Men to Abraham. The paintings found on the side altars are also of particular Read more [...]