Art & cultureTowns & Architecture

The Sicilian Baroque style in Noto

Sicilian Baroque architecture, Historical facts;

After the devastating 1693 earthquake,

a programme of reconstruction was introduced

throughout eastern Sicily in the early 18th century.

The architects entrusted with this task elaborated

upon the achievements of 17th century Baroque architecture

and adopted recurrent features that can still be seen in the

streets of Noto.

The facades of both churches and civic buildings

became of fundamental importance in the hands of

these men.

Although, some of them,

like Rosario Gagliardi,

who designed the churches of Santa Chiara,

Santissimo Crocifisso and San Domenico in Noto,

were originally craftsmen themself.

However, the great attention paid to decorative detail

in facades and balconies proves us their skills

paid to decorative detail in facades and balconies.

Rebuilding made the large monastery complexes,

which together with the mansions of the landed gentry

were the economic and social backbone of 18yh and 19th

centuries of Noto;

even more grandiose than before.

In 2002 The UNESCO has named

the Baroque town of Noto along with

other Sicilian towns and villages

World Heritage Sites.

The Baroque Noto

The heart of Noto is the main avenue,

modern Viale Marconi, which becomes Corso

Vittorio Emanuele at the monumental Porta Reale

(or Ferdinandea) city gate,

and passes through Piazza XXIV Maggio,

Piazza Municipio (which is a good starting point for a visit)

and Piazza XXX Ottobre.

Steps lead to the upper part of the town,

with marvellous views of the landscapes around.

The Baroque Cathedral of Noto

In the winter of 1996,

a loud rumble signalled the collapse of the

cathedral’s cupola, leaving a noticeable scar in

the heart of Noto.

It was a great loss to Sicilian Baroque art.

The church was originally completed in 1776,

and dedicated to San Nicolò.

It stands at the end of a spectacular three-flight

staircase designed by Paolo Labisi,

the facade bearing twin bell towers and bronze portal.

The interior has a wealth of frescoes and other decorations,

especially in the side chapels.

The cathedral has now been brought to its former

splendour following restoration.

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