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 Cathedral of Sant’Agata

A colourful floor

The façade used as a puppet theatre

An eagle-shaped city

A hall for the feasts

San Benedetto: a treasure reopened to the public

The Supernatural dimension of the chapel of the Santissimo Sacramento

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

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

New roads for Catania

Rosario Gagliardi, the maestro of the Val di Noto

A half-Baroque church

Some masterpieces

Limestone, the colour of harmony

The senses tell the story of the Church of Santa Chiara

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

Places of knowledge: the Benedictines’ library

A museum to save a tradition

Garden of Novices and the restorations by Giancarlo De Carlo

From International Gothic to present day

The theatre of taste

Feasting in Palazzolo

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Benedetto

One city, three sites

The colours of the cathedral

The internal colours

Corbels: a celebration of the Nicolaci family

Two illustrious patron saints

A square as the heart of the city

Palazzo Nicolaci di Villadorata, who is the architect?

The senses tell the story of the Church of the Annunciation

The city of museums

Wonderful quick decorations

A design by Vincenzo Sinatra

Modica, a city with ancient origins

The Infiorata, a feast of colours and flowers

A feast only for Scicli

A Nobel Prize in Modica

The senses tell about Palazzo Nicolaci

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

A long reconstruction

The senses tell the story of the church of San Giuseppe

Discovering the mother church

San Nicolò l’Arena: an unfinished church

Feast days

St. Agatha and the giant candelabras

The cathedral of Sant’Agata: a lengthy reconstruction

Some prestigious works

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

A new palace for the La Rocca lords

Connections with other UNESCO sites

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

Many owners, one palace

A triumph of colour

The two churches

Militello, the story of an enlightened fiefdom

A majestic and luminous church

The disastrous earthquake

A new entrance for Santa Chiara (St. Claire)

The senses tell about Palazzo La Rocca

A new site for a new church

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

A city in colour

The church of Carmine

The Staircase of Angels

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Sebastiano

A talking palace

Norman apses

Baroque and the loss of equilibrium in the 16th century

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

Between white and black

One city, two sites

A new site for a new city

The senses tell the story of the Church of Santa Chiara

The Burgos crucifix

Prominent façade

The Feast of San Giacomo (St. James)

The wall comes to life

The interior and its masterpieces

The character of Badia Sant’Agata

The senses tell about Palazzo Napolino Tommasi Rosso

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

A symbol for the town

The Benedictine Monastery, one of the largest in Europe

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

Fontana della Ninfa Zizza, public water in the town

The Maiolica of the staircase

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

A prominent church

The Baroque town by the sea

St. Sebastian, so much work!

The Barresi-Branciforte lords

The kitchen, a treasure chest of colours

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

A miniature city

Searching for colour

From St. Thomas to St. Joseph

The chocolate of Modica

A small room with a golden entrance