The scenic search for the illusion of light

Introduction to the route

The proposed educational route reconstructs the main events of the history of the Val di Noto, through the study of some of the most important architectural heritage in the eight Late Baroque Towns: Catania, Militello in Val di Catania, Caltagirone, Ragusa, Modica, Scicli, Palazzolo Acreide and Noto.
A territory that on this occasion can be examined and discovered over the course of its history, between its elements of homogeneity and diversity in terms of history, art and architecture which led its inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The common threads of the route will be scenery, light and theatricality, all characteristics belonging to Sicilian Baroque.
Through this study, we will capture aspects of architecture, figurative arts, sculpture and local traditions. For example, the desire to design light structures with articulated openings that favour the infiltration of light and chiaroscuro effects on the walls, but also the preference for traditional materials, the wise and focused use of materials that demonstrated the skill of local workers, such as the use of stucco instead of marble, and painted glass instead of hard stone.
The route will allow us to understand how the territories and populations affected by the earthquake of 1693 reacted to the catastrophic event that triggered a great renovation, which, in the wake of what was happening at the time in every important artistic centre of Italy, uses means of visual communication, illusionary perspective and spectacularity to involve, amaze and communicate.
The route is wound with texts that use the five senses to uncover and relive the atmosphere of the past of the towns of the Val di Noto, recounting the colours, smells and sounds that characterised them, as well as traditional food and the materials used to construct buildings.

Reconstruction after the earthquake

Luminous sacred spaces

The senses tell about Palazzo Beneventano

The Staircase of Angels

Baroque and the loss of balance in the 16th century

The Palazzo dei due mori

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

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

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

The senses tell of the Cathedral of San Pietro

The Benedictines’ library

The Franciscan convent

The dynamics of the Church of San Michele

A compromise between Neoclassicism and Baroque

The two churches

The city of Modica, a balance between nature and urbanism

A heritage of votive works

The Monte delle Prestanze in the new city layout

Scicli, the city of Baroque scenery

Expanded spaces, stucco and colourful lights

The Church of St. Mary of the Mountain

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

City and nature

Palazzo Zacco, a balance between sobriety and decoration

The Church of St. Paul

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

The church and the monastery

The illusion of light and the decorative splendour

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

The senses tell about Palazzo Zacco

The senses tell the Church of San Michele

Palazzo Trigona di Canicarao

Altars, saints and sculptural works

Militello: The story of an enlightened fiefdom

The senses tell about Palazzo Ducezio

A Nobel Prize in Modica

The interior and works of art

The senses tell of Palazzo della Cancelleria

Majestic exteriors, grandiose interiors

The city palace

The beginning of an authentic Baroque conception

The interiors: diffused light and Byzantine relics

The senses tell the Cathedral of San Giorgio

Palazzo Trigona: a building with a complex shape

The Church of St. Francis

Fountain of the Nymph Zizza: public water in the town

Rebirth and urban planning of the city of Noto

The senses tell the Church of San Domenico

Virtuosity, decorations and altars

The Church of St. Benedict

Art in the cathedral

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Paolo

The Church of St. John the Evangelist

Religious architecture

The church and the college

The palace, the town, the church

Akrai and Syracuse: an unbreakable bond

The Monastery of the Benedictine nuns

A casket of precious works

The triumph of Baroque: expansion of spaces

The new roads of the city

The senses tell about Palazzo Trigona

Scenography and devotion for St. Agatha

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

Unusual iconographies: the Burgos crucifix

Palazzo della Cancelleria: from former stable to the Nicastro family

St. Agatha and the candelore

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

The interior of the church: space and colour

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Benedetto

A unifying project for the city of Catania

The Church of St. Julian on Via dei Crociferi

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

The Infiorata of Noto, a modern tradition

A story of rebirth

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

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

The art of maiolica

The eagle-shaped city

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

The expansion of space and changing reality

A stone garden

The casket of austerity under the great dome

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

One city, three sites

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

The senses tell the Cathedral of Sant’Agata

The city within the city

From the end of the world to rebirth from the rubble

The senses tell the Cathedral of San Giorgio

The Antonino Uccello Birthplace Museum

Baroque creativity: recurring themes

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

A new site for the church of San Giorgio

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

Expansion, spatiality and light in the church of San Domenico

The Madonna dei Conadomini and the art of devotion

The articulated interior spaces

Garden of Novices and the restorations by Giancarlo De Carlo

Madonna of the Militia: a singular warrior virgin

The works in the church

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

Scenography, lights and colours of the cathedral

The smallest Greek theatre in the world

San Domenico and Gagliardi’s work

The Church of Madonna della Stella