History and Culture a stone's throw from the sea
Discover the traditions and cultural heritage of eastern Sicily - from Baroque to Greek culture - while immersed in the artistic beauty of the region.
Town of Noto
Traces of human settlements in the area where Noto is located today date back to the Bronze Age, or Old Castellucciana (2200-1450 BC), as evidenced by archaeological findings.
The ancient “Neaton” was a colony of Syracuse during the tyranny of Hiero II, which in 214 BC fell under Roman rule. The Arabs who occupied the city in 854 gave its name, and “Noto” has survived to present day.
The city streets are paved with lava and white stone, the sloping streets and connecting stairways make the Noto urban landscape one of the most characteristic towns in Sicily. There are many architectural treasures scattered throughout the streets of the historical center, which, together with other late Baroque towns of the Val di Noto, is a UNESCO “World Heritage Site” since 2002.
What to visit in Noto:
- The Basilica Cathedral of St. Nicholas: UNESCO’s World Heritage, the Noto Cathedral is the result of the various projects to renovate the stylistic stratification built between the 18th and 19th centuries.
- The Church of the Holy Cross: built in the early 18th century. Inside, three aisles were preserved after several works by Francesco Laurana and a glass case containing a thorn, which, according to legend, is said to be from the crown of Christ.
- The Ducezio Palace: the building of the town hallwas designed by Vincenzo Sinatra in 1746. The façade is characterized by 20 arches supported by Ionic columns and 13 rectangular windows. Inside, the splendid "Hall of Mirrors" is decorated with Louis XV style furniture.
- Royal Gate: in neoclassical style, was built on the occasion of the visit of Ferdinand II of Bourbon. Today it is the symbol of the city.
The seaside village of Marzamemi is set near a fishing port, the main source of income for the first inhabitants of the country, which soon became one of the landmarks in Sicily for tuna fishing.
The tuna trap of Marzamemi dates back to rule of the Arabs, and in 1630 was bought by the Prince of Villadorata who enlarged and embellished it thanks to the intervention of skilled carpenters from nearby Syracuse.
Marzamemi has a beautiful beach and in recent years has become a favourite destination for many tourists, attracted by the scenic beauty of the place and the many opportunities for entertainment provided by the many shops and bars that line the narrow streets of the village.