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Baroque routes in the deep south: the Noto Valley

Searching Noto and the Sicilian Baroque. Add to your trip a unique cultural experience and have the best trip of your life in Sicily. Staying here, perhaps in a splendid villa for rent, will change your life forever.

Baroque routes in the deep south.

The Noto Valley, in the province of Syracuse, has become a worldwide-famous destination thanks to its beautiful towns, graced with outstanding examples of the most typical Sicilian Baroque architecture.

Wiped out by the devastating earthquake of 1693, they were re-built during the following century.

Prominent and talented architects and artists of the time were entrusted with the design of the new towns, that were supposed to rise again, more beautiful than ever, as a symbol of the ability of the Sicilian people to make it through the hardest, most tragic times.

Noto is considered the capital of Sicilian baroque. Formerly set a few kilometers away from the new town, ancient Noto was a florid and prosperous town during the Renaissance-

After the earthquake, the new Noto was built on a slope of Mount Meti, at the foot of the Hyblaean Mountains, surrounded by citrus trees, olive and almond groves.

The streets of the city often end up in fascinating elegant squares as well as steep staircases connected with panoramic terraces; the urban landscape is rich in marvellous evidence of the most refined baroque architecture, which does not indulge into lavish decorations as much as it does in Catania or Lecce (Puglia).

Monumental churches and palaces are particularly beautiful, with their concave façades (see the Chiesa del Carmine or the Church of San Bartolomeo al Corso).

Baroque architecture is the very soul of Noto, as it is not confined within a street or a neighborhood, or hidden by other imposing styles: the whole urban area is permeated by an outstanding stylistic coherence that makes Noto “the perfect baroque city” to more than one expert.

The most striking “parade” of baroque masterpieces in Noto is Corso Vittorio, the main street of the historical centre.

Limestone-gold elegant palaces, curved façades, perfect symmetry – an enchanting view, enhanced at night by the amber street lamps. The avenue ends in a large refined square that houses the stunning Cathedral with its imposing staircase: inside, you’ll find plenty of interesting works of art. And don’t forget to take a walk down Via Nicolaci, where the Palazzo Nicolaci di Villadorata houses wonderful wrought-iron balconies that, according to some critics, are to be considered the most beautiful in the world.

Heading north-west from Noto, it will take you only 30 minutes to reach another one of the baroque towns of the Noto Valley: Palazzolo Acreide, whose origins are quite ancient as it was probably inhabited by the Sicels since the 11th Century BC.

Heading south west from Noto and Palazzolo Acreide, right before the kilometer-long sandy beaches of Donnalucata and Marina di Ragusa, another monumental baroque town is set, placidly laying on a basin among three canyons T

The typical landscape of the Hyblaean Mountains. Peaceful and quiet, Scicli has an enchanting, romantic atmosphere thanks to the outstanding palaces and monuments that were built after the earthquake of 1693.

You’ll realise it as soon as you take a walk down via Mormino Penna, sided by rich and refined palaces from the 18th Century; the most appreciated one is Palazzo Beneventano, with its peculiar “masks” decorating the two gold-yellow prospects.

Elegant buildings and finely-decorated churches, little streets sided by marvellous works of art, golden palaces… all within a very original setting, as the whole town is sided by three gorges. There really is no place like Sicily.