Did you know?
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Noto is a true Sicilian Baroque jewel, famous all over the world for its art masterpieces. The town was founded at the beginning of the 18th century following the 1693 earthquake that destroyed Noto Antica, a Roman village that during the Norman age was the capital of Val di Noto. Churches, monasteries and palaces, built according to Baroque criterion, form a unique "garden of stone" taking advantage of the hill's natural slope.
More About Noto
Many of the most important buildings and monuments, mainly the religious ones, are lined up on the main street which traces the ancient Cassero. In Piazza XVI Maggio stands the Church of San Domenico, flanked by a monastery with an original rustic door, considered the masterpiece of the architect Rosario Gagliardi, who also built the 18th century church and convent of San Francesco, overlooking the Piazza Immacolata. Close nearby you can witness the Benedictine monastery of the Santissimo Salvatore and the church of Santa Chiara, richly decorated with stucco.
The monumental center of Noto is the town hall square, surrounded by the most important buildings, like the 18th century Ducezio Palace, the town hall today, which houses the splendid mirror room, an oval boardroom decorated with stucco and gold. On the square's opposite side, an imposing staircase highlights the cathedral dedicated to San Nicola, decorated with columns and by bell towers, Palazzo Vescovile (Bishop's Palace) and Palazzo Landolina, former residence of the noble Marquis family of Sant'Alfano. Marble, statues and stucco decorate the church of the Santissimo Salvatore and masked shelves supporting balconies embellish Palazzo Nicolaci of Villadorata and with the nearby church of Montevergine plays as a backdrop to the Infiorata, taking place on the third week of May every year. Thousands of people come to Noto every year to admire the spectacular flower carpet covering the streets.
During the ‘’Settimana Santa’’ Holy Week the most important religious events are celebrated. On Venerdi Santo (Holy Friday the procession of the Cristo Morto (dead Christ) , the Madonna Addolorata and the Spina Santa (Holy Thorn) is held , which according to tradition was brought to Noto in 1295 by a Franciscan priest.