Noto is famous for its fine buildings of the early 18th century, many of which are considered to be among the finest examples of Sicilian Baroque style.
The town’s striking architecture is due to an earthquake that struck Sicily in 1693. The old town was completely destroyed and the new town was built several kilometres away.
The entrance to the Baroque section of the town is through Porta Reale.
It leads to the Main Street, Corso Vittorio Emanuele, which is lined with amazing buildings.
There was a sign which gave an excellent description of the town.
“Cesare Brandi, an art historian, defined Noto “The stone garden”. About 50 churches and religious institutes, 15 noble palaces, residences of ancient aristocrats, are the flowers of this garden.
The Baroque dwells in the town; it is splendid and conceited in the historic centre, tender and almost elusive in the high area of the town and in its characteristic quarters. There are many climbs, many staircases and some streets which are less large than one metre. Let curiosity guide you and Noto will show you itself”.
We let our curiosity guide us.
As in all Italian towns, we came across a group of older gentlemen sitting together solving the problems of the world.
The one thing I was not prepared for was the crowds. We arrived early in the morning, which was just as well. It was already busy and a steady stream of buses were dropping hoards of people into the town.
I also admit to not having much interest on Baroque buildings as it turns out. I can see that the buildings are stunning, but there are other eras I prefer.
We covered most of the town and got out before we were completely swamped by tour groups. We were there in mid April, long before tourist season. It must be hell in summer.