Criteria for including the towns of the Val di Noto in the WHL

The “Val di Noto” (Noto Valley) is the area with the eight most important towns in south-eastern Sicily among those that were affected in 1693 by the disastrous earthquake and rebuilt during the 18th century in late Baroque style. These towns are: Catania, Militello in Val di Catania, Caltagirone, Ragusa, Modica, Scicli, Palazzolo Acreide and Noto. They were inscribed in the WHL at the Budapest Conference of 24-29 June 2002, according to the following criteria:

  • this group of towns in south-eastern Sicily provides outstanding testimony to the exuberant genius of late Baroque art and architecture;
  • the towns of the Val di Noto represent the culmination and final flowering of Baroque art in Europe;
  • the exceptional quality of the late Baroque art and architecture in the Val di Noto lies in its geographical and chronological homogeneity, and is the result of the 1693 earthquake in this region;
  • the eight Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto in south-eastern Sicily are characteristic of the settlement pattern and urban form of this region, and are permanently at risk from earthquakes and the eruptions of Mount Etna.

In the Val di Noto the innovative drive of this cultural and artistic period came from the need to rebuild entire urban areas affected by the earthquake of 1693.
Homogeneous criteria were implemented in terms of diversity; some towns were rebuilt on their original site; others were moved to different places.
The towns chose their own architects, sculptors and painters and preferred local workers.  This led to the birth of a varied and diversified Baroque art. The commitment of the religious orders to educate the new generations of artists and architects in the cultural and artistic knowledge of Baroque Rome was crucial. It allowed the new workers to combine technical knowledge from local culture with the monumental dynamics of Roman Baroque.

A colourful floor

The theatre of taste

Some prestigious works

The senses tell the story of the Church of Santa Chiara

San Nicolò l’Arena: an unfinished church

A hall for the feasts

The role of the religious orders in rebuilding the Val di Noto

The senses tell the story of the church of San Giuseppe

A small room with a golden entrance

Palazzo Nicolaci di Villadorata, who is the architect?

The Feast of San Giacomo (St. James)

Connections with other UNESCO sites

The chocolate of Modica

Freedom of worship and the role of the Catholic Church in the diffusion of Baroque

A feast only for Scicli

The Supernatural dimension of the chapel of the Santissimo Sacramento

A new site for a new city

The wall comes to life

Rosario Gagliardi, the maestro of the Val di Noto

A symbol for the town

The senses tell about Palazzo Napolino Tommasi Rosso

The Staircase of Angels

From the contrast of the exterior to the internal jubilation of colours

A museum to save a tradition

Some masterpieces

The internal colours

The Burgos crucifix

A triumph of colour

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Benedetto

St. Sebastian, so much work!

The disastrous earthquake

From St. Thomas to St. Joseph

A city in colour

A majestic and luminous church

The senses tell about Palazzo Nicolaci

The senses tell about Palazzo La Rocca

The Maiolica of the staircase

A design by Vincenzo Sinatra

A Nobel Prize in Modica

Limestone, the colour of harmony

The two churches

A square as the heart of the city

A talking palace

One city, three sites

St. Agatha and the giant candelabras

The senses tell the story of the church of Santa Maria del Carmelo

The senses tell the story of the Church of Santa Chiara

The senses tell the story of the staircase of Santa Maria del Monte

Two illustrious patron saints

The Baroque town by the sea

A long reconstruction

Between white and black

The colours of the cathedral

Church of San Giuliano (St. Julian) on Via dei Crociferi: reconstruction

Norman apses

The interior and its masterpieces

Modica, a city with ancient origins

The kitchen, a treasure chest of colours

Fontana della Ninfa Zizza, public water in the town

The Benedictine Monastery, one of the largest in Europe

The church of Carmine

The senses tell the Cathedral of Sant’Agata

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Giovanni Evangelista

A half-Baroque church

The senses tell the story of the church of San Giovanni Battista

Corbels: a celebration of the Nicolaci family

A new site for a new church

The city of museums

From International Gothic to present day

The Barresi-Branciforte lords

The senses tell the story of the Church of the Annunciation

Wonderful quick decorations

Feasting in Palazzolo

A miniature city

The cathedral of Sant’Agata: a lengthy reconstruction

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Sebastiano

An eagle-shaped city

San Benedetto: a treasure reopened to the public

Discovering the mother church

A prominent church

The façade used as a puppet theatre

Feast days

One city, two sites

The senses tell the Benedictine Monastery and San NicoIò l’Arena

A new entrance for Santa Chiara (St. Claire)

The senses tell the Mother Church of San Nicolò and of the Santissimo Salvatore

A new palace for the La Rocca lords

Garden of Novices and the restorations by Giancarlo De Carlo

The character of Badia Sant’Agata

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Giuliano ai Crociferi

Places of knowledge: the Benedictines’ library

Searching for colour

Prominent façade

Many owners, one palace

Militello, the story of an enlightened fiefdom

The senses tell the story of the Badia di Sant’Agata

New roads for Catania

Baroque and the loss of equilibrium in the 16th century

The Infiorata, a feast of colours and flowers