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.

The Baroque town by the sea

Places of knowledge: the Benedictines’ library

A long reconstruction

A square as the heart of the city

A new site for a new city

A hall for the feasts

Some masterpieces

The city of museums

Prominent façade

The disastrous earthquake

The character of Badia Sant’Agata

Feasting in Palazzolo

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

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

San Benedetto: a treasure reopened to the public

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

A miniature city

The wall comes to life

Many owners, one palace

Two illustrious patron saints

A triumph of colour

A talking palace

From International Gothic to present day

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

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

San Nicolò l’Arena: an unfinished church

Rosario Gagliardi, the maestro of the Val di Noto

Garden of Novices and the restorations by Giancarlo De Carlo

The senses tell the story of the Church of the Annunciation

The senses tell about Palazzo La Rocca

Searching for colour

A new site for a new church

Fontana della Ninfa Zizza, public water in the town

The Maiolica of the staircase

Wonderful quick decorations

Connections with other UNESCO sites

A prominent church

The church of Carmine

Corbels: a celebration of the Nicolaci family

One city, three sites

A design by Vincenzo Sinatra

A Nobel Prize in Modica

The senses tell the story of the Church of Santa Chiara

St. Sebastian, so much work!

The senses tell about Palazzo Napolino Tommasi Rosso

Baroque and the loss of equilibrium in the 16th century

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

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

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

St. Agatha and the giant candelabras

The Supernatural dimension of the chapel of the Santissimo Sacramento

Discovering the mother church

Limestone, the colour of harmony

A museum to save a tradition

A feast only for Scicli

The chocolate of Modica

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Sebastiano

The interior and its masterpieces

An eagle-shaped city

The Feast of San Giacomo (St. James)

The colours of the cathedral

The Benedictine Monastery, one of the largest in Europe

Militello, the story of an enlightened fiefdom

Feast days

Palazzo Nicolaci di Villadorata, who is the architect?

The two churches

A new entrance for Santa Chiara (St. Claire)

The Infiorata, a feast of colours and flowers

The senses tell the story of the Church of Santa Chiara

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

The senses tell about Palazzo Nicolaci

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Benedetto

The kitchen, a treasure chest of colours

Norman apses

From St. Thomas to St. Joseph

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

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

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

Modica, a city with ancient origins

A city in colour

The façade used as a puppet theatre

A small room with a golden entrance

A majestic and luminous church

A half-Baroque church

Between white and black

New roads for Catania

The senses tell the story of the church of San Giuseppe

Some prestigious works

The Staircase of Angels

The senses tell the Cathedral of Sant’Agata

A symbol for the town

The internal colours

One city, two sites

The theatre of taste

The cathedral of Sant’Agata: a lengthy reconstruction

The Burgos crucifix

A new palace for the La Rocca lords

The Barresi-Branciforte lords

A colourful floor