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 obscured, the air, blackened and turbid, like the dark and bleeding clouds, and the dense dust from the buildings that was exhaled after the structures fell.”
According to the chroniclers, the atmosphere seemed suspended in a seemingly endless succession of earthquake tremors. The catastrophe took place in the early afternoon of the 11th of January and left an indelible scar in the memory of the Sicilian land.
The inhabitants of the Val di Noto ran to different shelters according to their social status: the rich fled to their properties outside the walls, the poor made for the woods or makeshift shelters such as huts and haystacks.
The clergy had to abandon their convents to the point of breaking centuries-old rules, such as seclusion, creating the image of a society broken apart by dramatic circumstances.

Feasting in Palazzolo

The theatre of taste

The internal colours

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

The Baroque town by the sea

The cathedral of Sant’Agata: a lengthy reconstruction

Rosario Gagliardi, the maestro of the Val di Noto

Fontana della Ninfa Zizza, public water in the town

A new palace for the La Rocca lords

The Feast of San Giacomo (St. James)

Wonderful quick decorations

The chocolate of Modica

Palazzo Nicolaci di Villadorata, who is the architect?

The senses tell the Cathedral of Sant’Agata

The interior and its masterpieces

A new entrance for Santa Chiara (St. Claire)

The senses tell the story of the church of San Giuseppe

The wall comes to life

The senses tell about Palazzo La Rocca

The Infiorata, a feast of colours and flowers

A symbol for the town

The church of Carmine

From St. Thomas to St. Joseph

Many owners, one palace

The senses tell about Palazzo Nicolaci

The Staircase of Angels

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

The Barresi-Branciforte lords

Feast days

Connections with other UNESCO sites

A hall for the feasts

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

Norman apses

A new site for a new church

The façade used as a puppet theatre

Garden of Novices and the restorations by Giancarlo De Carlo

St. Sebastian, so much work!

The two churches

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

A square as the heart of the city

Some masterpieces

A majestic and luminous church

Baroque and the loss of equilibrium in the 16th century

The colours of the cathedral

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

A Nobel Prize in Modica

St. Agatha and the giant candelabras

New roads for Catania

San Benedetto: a treasure reopened to the public

Between white and black

Corbels: a celebration of the Nicolaci family

A new site for a new city

The character of Badia Sant’Agata

Militello, the story of an enlightened fiefdom

The city of museums

A small room with a golden entrance

The senses tell the story of the Church of Santa Chiara

A feast only for Scicli

The Supernatural dimension of the chapel of the Santissimo Sacramento

A museum to save a tradition

The Maiolica of the staircase

An eagle-shaped city

Places of knowledge: the Benedictines’ library

The Burgos crucifix

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

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

The senses tell the story of the Church of Santa Chiara

A design by Vincenzo Sinatra

San Nicolò l’Arena: an unfinished church

A miniature city

The senses tell the story of the Church of the Annunciation

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

A half-Baroque church

Discovering the mother church

The disastrous earthquake

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Sebastiano

A triumph of colour

Some prestigious works

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

Prominent façade

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

Modica, a city with ancient origins

One city, two sites

The senses tell about Palazzo Napolino Tommasi Rosso

Two illustrious patron saints

The kitchen, a treasure chest of colours

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

One city, three sites

A city in colour

A talking palace

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

Searching for colour

A colourful floor

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Benedetto

From International Gothic to present day

Limestone, the colour of harmony

The Benedictine Monastery, one of the largest in Europe

A long reconstruction

A prominent church