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 senses tell the story of the Church of San Giovanni Evangelista

The senses tell the Cathedral of San Giorgio

The church and the monastery

The senses tell the Church of San Michele

The palace, the town, the church

The triumph of Baroque: expansion of spaces

Unusual iconographies: the Burgos crucifix

Expansion, spatiality and light in the church of San Domenico

Baroque creativity: recurring themes

Palazzo Trigona: a building with a complex shape

Palazzo Zacco, a balance between sobriety and decoration

Altars, saints and sculptural works

The illusion of light and the decorative splendour

Militello: The story of an enlightened fiefdom

The casket of austerity under the great dome

The senses tell about Palazzo Zacco

Religious architecture

The dynamics of the Church of San Michele

The interior of the church: space and colour

City and nature

The Monastery of the Benedictine nuns

The senses tell about Palazzo Beneventano

The church and the college

The city of Modica, a balance between nature and urbanism

The city palace

Scenography, lights and colours of the cathedral

The Church of St. Benedict

Madonna of the Militia: a singular warrior virgin

The Staircase of Angels

A story of rebirth

The art of maiolica

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

Scicli, the city of Baroque scenery

Palazzo Trigona di Canicarao

The expansion of space and changing reality

Fountain of the Nymph Zizza: public water in the town

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

The senses tell about Palazzo Trigona

The senses tell the Church of San Domenico

Majestic exteriors, grandiose interiors

The smallest Greek theatre in the world

The Franciscan convent

The Church of St. John the Evangelist

A Nobel Prize in Modica

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

A new site for the church of San Giorgio

One city, three sites

The Church of Madonna della Stella

Palazzo della Cancelleria: from former stable to the Nicastro family

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

The Antonino Uccello Birthplace Museum

The city within the city

The Madonna dei Conadomini and the art of devotion

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Paolo

The beginning of an authentic Baroque conception

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Benedetto

St. Agatha and the candelore

The Church of St. Julian on Via dei Crociferi

The Church of St. Mary of the Mountain

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

The senses tell of Palazzo della Cancelleria

The new roads of the city

The senses tell of the Cathedral of San Pietro

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

The Church of St. Paul

The senses tell the Cathedral of Sant’Agata

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

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

Expanded spaces, stucco and colourful lights

The Palazzo dei due mori

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

The senses tell about Palazzo Ducezio

San Domenico and Gagliardi’s work

Rebirth and urban planning of the city of Noto

The eagle-shaped city

The articulated interior spaces

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

A unifying project for the city of Catania

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

The Church of St. Francis

Akrai and Syracuse: an unbreakable bond

The works in the church

The Monte delle Prestanze in the new city layout

The interiors: diffused light and Byzantine relics

A stone garden

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

The Benedictines’ library

The two churches

The Infiorata of Noto, a modern tradition

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

Scenography and devotion for St. Agatha

Luminous sacred spaces

Reconstruction after the earthquake

The senses tell the Cathedral of San Giorgio

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

Art in the cathedral

A casket of precious works

Virtuosity, decorations and altars

Garden of Novices and the restorations by Giancarlo De Carlo

A heritage of votive works

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

Baroque and the loss of balance in the 16th century

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

The interior and works of art

A compromise between Neoclassicism and Baroque

From the end of the world to rebirth from the rubble