Introduction to Val di Noto

From the end of the world to rebirth from the rubble

In a report about the earthquake of 11 January 1693 the Bishop of Syracuse described a dramatic sight: “The sun as obscured, the air, blackened and turbid, so for the dark and bleeding clouds, as well as the dense dust of the buildings that exhaled from the fall of the structures.”
According to the chroniclers, the atmosphere seemed suspended in a seemingly endless succession of earthquake tremors, though the catastrophe in fact took place in the early afternoon of 11th January and lasted as long as the prayer “De Profundis” (Out of the depths).
The inhabitants of the Val di Noto ran to different shelters according to their social class: the rich reached their properties outside the walls, the poor in other places, from the woods to makeshift shelters, haystacks, and the various plains located far from the borders of the cities.
The clergy fled to more distant monasteries, and let’s not forget the chronicle’s description of the wandering nuns with nowhere to go.
The interruption of the secular rules of a strictly disciplined life, such as seclusion, created the image of a society broken apart by dramatic circumstances.

The Franciscan convent

Verticality and dynamism of the façade of the Church of San Carlo

The Benedictines’ library

The city of Modica, a balance between nature and urbanism

Palazzo Trigona di Canicarao

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Carlo and the former Jesuit college

City and nature

The senses tell the Benedictine Monastery and the Church of San Nicolò l’Arena

The Church of St. John the Evangelist

From the end of the world to rebirth from the rubble

Altars, saints and sculptural works

Expanded spaces, stucco and colourful lights

The interior of the church: space and colour

The freedom of worship and the Catholic Church’s role in the diffusion of Baroque

The dynamics of the Church of San Michele

The church and the monastery

The Church of St. Julian on Via dei Crociferi

The senses tell the Church of San Domenico

The expansion of space and changing reality

The Antonino Uccello Birthplace Museum

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Paolo

Piazza Duomo, the elephant fountain, the heart of the city

The city palace

Unusual iconographies: the Burgos crucifix

San Domenico and Gagliardi’s work

A casket of precious works

The art of maiolica

The church of San Nicolò l’Arena: the majesty of an unfinished beauty

A heritage of votive works

The interior and works of art

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

The articulated interior spaces

Art in the cathedral

Reconstruction after the earthquake

A Nobel Prize in Modica

The casket of austerity under the great dome

Fountain of the Nymph Zizza: public water in the town

Religious architecture

The Madonna dei Conadomini and the art of devotion

A new site for the church of San Giorgio

The beginning of an authentic Baroque conception

The city within the city

The senses tell the Cathedral of Sant’Agata

The palace, the town, the church

The new roads of the city

The Staircase of Angels

The eagle-shaped city

The senses tell the Cathedral of San Giorgio

The neo-Gothic seminary chapel: symbols, light and space

The senses tell of the Cathedral of San Pietro

Palazzo Zacco, a balance between sobriety and decoration

The senses tell about Palazzo Trigona

Scenography, lights and colours of the cathedral

Virtuosity, decorations and altars

The Monastery of the Benedictine nuns

The Church of Madonna della Stella

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

A unifying project for the city of Catania

The senses tell the Church of San Michele

Scicli, the city of Baroque scenery

Garden of Novices and the restorations by Giancarlo De Carlo

The church and the college

Geometry and wonder in civic architecture in the Baroque of the Val di Noto

The Badia di Sant’Agata (St. Agatha’s Abbey)

The smallest Greek theatre in the world

Palazzo della Cancelleria: from former stable to the Nicastro family

The senses tell about Palazzo Zacco

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

Expansion, spatiality and light in the church of San Domenico

A stone garden

Luminous sacred spaces

A story of rebirth

The works in the church

The Palazzo dei due mori

The two churches

The Duomo di San Giorgio (Cathedral of St. George)

Scenography and devotion for St. Agatha

Akrai and Syracuse: an unbreakable bond

Palazzo Trigona: a building with a complex shape

The senses tell of Palazzo della Cancelleria

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Benedetto

Baroque and the loss of balance in the 16th century

Barresi-Branciforte: the lords of the fiefdom and the modernisation of the town

St. Agatha and the candelore

Rebirth and urban planning of the city of Noto

Baroque creativity: recurring themes

The triumph of Baroque: expansion of spaces

The Infiorata of Noto, a modern tradition

The senses tell the Cathedral of San Giorgio

The Church of St. Paul

Majestic exteriors, grandiose interiors

The interiors: diffused light and Byzantine relics

Views denied, views conquered: the power of the devout Benedictines

The Monte delle Prestanze in the new city layout

Madonna of the Militia: a singular warrior virgin

The illusion of light and the decorative splendour

The Church of St. Mary of the Mountain

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

The senses tell about Palazzo Beneventano

The senses tell about Palazzo Ducezio

Militello: The story of an enlightened fiefdom

A compromise between Neoclassicism and Baroque

The senses tell the story of the Sanctuary Church of Santa Maria della Stella

The Church of St. Benedict

One city, three sites

The Church of St. Francis