Introduction to Val di Noto

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

Baroque was born and developed in a historical period worn out by conflict between the Catholic Counter-Reformation and Protestantism that led to the Thirty Years’ War, a scene of blood and death in Europe.
With the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, freedom of worship was approved for the three main faiths (Protestant, Calvinist and Catholic), despite the fact that the major European powers involved in the conflict sought the undisputed dominance of one religion.
The Catholic Church had a decisive role in spreading Baroque, which was used as a propaganda tool against the rampant forms of Protestantism and heresy.
Baroque art was born to celebrate the power of the Catholic Church, leading artists to create pictorial, sculptural and architectural representations that amazed and astounded the observer.
Baroque encouraged a new vision of the world in which reality and fiction merged to create veritable masterpieces.
Colour and colourful marble were used to decorate church interiors and unusual, often curvilinear shapes such as ovals were used for church floor plans. It was important to incite amazement and demonstrate the greatness of papal authority.

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Benedetto

San Nicolò l’Arena: an unfinished church

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

A square as the heart of the city

A colourful floor

The Supernatural dimension of the chapel of the Santissimo Sacramento

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

The colours of the cathedral

The chocolate of Modica

Connections with other UNESCO sites

The Maiolica of the staircase

The Infiorata, a feast of colours and flowers

The interior and its masterpieces

A small room with a golden entrance

Fontana della Ninfa Zizza, public water in the town

A prominent church

The senses tell the story of the Church of Santa Chiara

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

Searching for colour

St. Agatha and the giant candelabras

New roads for Catania

The character of Badia Sant’Agata

Corbels: a celebration of the Nicolaci family

Prominent façade

A new entrance for Santa Chiara (St. Claire)

Some prestigious works

A city in colour

A new palace for the La Rocca lords

A museum to save a tradition

A design by Vincenzo Sinatra

The senses tell about Palazzo Nicolaci

The senses tell about Palazzo Napolino Tommasi Rosso

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Sebastiano

An eagle-shaped city

A hall for the feasts

Modica, a city with ancient origins

Many owners, one palace

The senses tell about Palazzo La Rocca

Places of knowledge: the Benedictines’ library

A new site for a new city

Two illustrious patron saints

A majestic and luminous church

San Benedetto: a treasure reopened to the public

The senses tell the story of the Church of the Annunciation

Norman apses

Feast days

Militello, the story of an enlightened fiefdom

A long reconstruction

A miniature city

Between white and black

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

Baroque and the loss of equilibrium in the 16th century

The city of museums

A triumph of colour

The church of Carmine

A symbol for the town

The senses tell the story of the Church of Santa Chiara

A half-Baroque church

A new site for a new church

The two churches

The kitchen, a treasure chest of colours

A Nobel Prize in Modica

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

The cathedral of Sant’Agata: a lengthy reconstruction

The Staircase of Angels

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

Discovering the mother church

From St. Thomas to St. Joseph

Rosario Gagliardi, the maestro of the Val di Noto

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

The Benedictine Monastery, one of the largest in Europe

The Barresi-Branciforte lords

A talking palace

The Feast of San Giacomo (St. James)

From International Gothic to present day

Some masterpieces

The senses tell the Cathedral of Sant’Agata

Limestone, the colour of harmony

The internal colours

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

Feasting in Palazzolo

St. Sebastian, so much work!

The Baroque town by the sea

The theatre of taste

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

Palazzo Nicolaci di Villadorata, who is the architect?

The senses tell the story of the church of San Giuseppe

One city, three sites

Garden of Novices and the restorations by Giancarlo De Carlo

Wonderful quick decorations

The Burgos crucifix

The façade used as a puppet theatre

The wall comes to life

A feast only for Scicli

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

One city, two sites

The disastrous earthquake

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

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