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Visit Noto

Noto is found to the south-east of Sicily, to the east of Ragusa and south of Syracuse.

The town dates from the 18th century - there was a town that stood nearby previously but it was destroyed by the infamous earthquake of 1693 (the ruins of the original town can also be visited).

Explore Noto

Siciliy Visitor comment: Noto is stunningly beautiful and was one of our favoutite towns in Sicily. Its baroque buildings are beautiful, its centre is compact and easy to visit and it has a nice relaxed atmosphere.

In common with several other Sicilian towns, the architecture in Noto is relentlessly baroque - and very charming. It is perhaps exactly what you would look for in a 'perfect town in Italy'. Indeed it is so beautiful it is considered to be one of the most beautiful towns of Sicily and Italy.

Chiesa San Francesco

One of the most impressive of these baroque buildings is the newly restored Noto Cathedral - made even more so by the broad, long stone staircase that rises to the front of the building. An unusual design, the cathedral facade incorporates two towers (one a clocktower, the other a belltower) either side of the main entrance.

The cathedral is on the main square of the town, the Piazza Municipo, as is the Palazzo Ducezio which, with its many arches and columns is one of the highlights of Noto. This is now the town hall and you can enter to visit the 'hall of mirrors' with its 19th century frescoes.

The main street of Noto, the Corso Vittorio Emanuele crosses three square and between them the major buildings of Noto. Another of these squares is the Piazza Immacolata where you will find the church of San Francesco all'Immacolata.

Next to the church is the beautiful monastery of Sant Salvatore and together these buildings are one of the highlights of a trip to Noto. The monastery is one of the largest buildings in Noto and is a fine example of the architectural transition from Baroque to Classicism. Be sure to enter the monastery whose intereior is painted in a mix of pastel colours.

On the other side of the Piazza Municipo is the street the Via Nocolaci at the top of which is the beautiful church of Montevergini with an unusual elliptical facade. Also on this street is the Palazzo Nicolaci whose balconies are decorated with a wonderful array of cherubs, horses, griffons and lots more.

theatre

Further along the Corso Emanuele is the Piazza XVI Maggio, a pretty square with the theater on one side and the splendid church of Saint Domenico on the other. This is another of Noto's finest Baroque buildings. Next to it is the convent of Saint Domenico. Both were designed by Rosario Gagliardi who is thought to be buried in the church.

Be sure to walk down the Corso Emanuele again in the evening when the setting sun bathes the buildings in a rich golden glow!

Elsewhere in Noto there are numerous other churches and palaces (palazzos) with stunning baroque facades.

We were lucky enough to visit Noto during the Infiorata di Noto which is an annual flower festival where flowers are used to create pictures all along the lenghth of Via Nicolaci. The flower pictures are stunning and elsewhere in town steps are decorated and Noto fills with visitors and locals to admire the flower pictures which are judged to choose the winner.

Where to visit near Noto?

The surrounding region, known as the Val di Noto, contains several towns and villages that were destroyed by the same earthquake and were reconstructed in the 'late-baroque' style and, because of the architecture, is now listed as the Val di Noto UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The eight towns of the Val di Noto are Noto, Caltagirone, Militello Val di Catania, Catania, Modica, Palazzolo, Ragusa and Scicli.

You can find more local travel ideas in the South-East Sicily guide and the guide.

See also:

Photos of Noto

Click any picture to start the gallery

  • basilica-san-nicolo
  • basilica-san-nicolo1
  • chiesa-montevergini
  • chiesa-san-carlo
  • chiesa-san-domenico
  • chiesa-san-francesco
  • fontana-ercole
  • gate
  • infiorata-di-noto
  • infiorata-di-noto1
  • infiorata-di-noto2
  • noto-centre
  • noto-san-francesco-all'immacolata
  • palaczzo-ducezio
  • palazzo-nicolai
  • theatre

Map of Noto and places to visit

Noto places to visit

Cassibile

Cassibile

Cassibile is a popular for its canyon rock pools.

>> Cassibile guide
Ispica

Ispica

Ispica is a hilltown and home to Sicano castle carved into the rock.

>> Ispica guide
Akrai

Akrai

Akrai is home to an ancient Greek settlement.

>> Akrai guide
Palazzolo-Acreide

Palazzolo-Acreide

Palazzolo Acreide is one of the most beautiful villages of Sicily.

>> Palazzolo-Acreide guide
Syracuse Cathedral

Syracuse Cathedral

Syracuse cathedral is a 7th century cathedral which incorporates the remains of a Greek temple.

>> Syracuse Cathedral guide
Syracuse - Ortigia Island

Syracuse - Ortigia Island

Ortigia is the fabulous old town of Syracuse.

>> Syracuse - Ortigia Island guide
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