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.

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

The works in the church

Expansion, spatiality and light in the church of San Domenico

The Monastery of the Benedictine nuns

The senses tell the Cathedral of Sant’Agata

The casket of austerity under the great dome

Madonna of the Militia: a singular warrior virgin

The senses tell the Church of San Michele

Art in the cathedral

St. Agatha and the candelore

The city palace

Garden of Novices and the restorations by Giancarlo De Carlo

Majestic exteriors, grandiose interiors

The interior of the church: space and colour

The Church of St. Benedict

The Staircase of Angels

A casket of precious works

The senses tell about Palazzo Zacco

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

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Benedetto

The Church of St. Francis

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

The Church of St. John the Evangelist

The senses tell the Cathedral of San Giorgio

Scenography, lights and colours of the cathedral

A unifying project for the city of Catania

The senses tell the Church of San Domenico

Religious architecture

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Paolo

The Benedictines’ library

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

Unusual iconographies: the Burgos crucifix

The smallest Greek theatre in the world

Baroque and the loss of balance in the 16th century

The senses tell of Palazzo della Cancelleria

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

A compromise between Neoclassicism and Baroque

A stone garden

The senses tell of the Cathedral of San Pietro

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

Palazzo Zacco, a balance between sobriety and decoration

The articulated interior spaces

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

The Church of St. Mary of the Mountain

The illusion of light and the decorative splendour

The triumph of Baroque: expansion of spaces

City and nature

Baroque creativity: recurring themes

The interior and works of art

Rebirth and urban planning of the city of Noto

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

Luminous sacred spaces

The dynamics of the Church of San Michele

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

The church and the monastery

The two churches

Scenography and devotion for St. Agatha

The senses tell about Palazzo Trigona

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

Palazzo Trigona: a building with a complex shape

Reconstruction after the earthquake

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

Scicli, the city of Baroque scenery

The Infiorata of Noto, a modern tradition

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

Akrai and Syracuse: an unbreakable bond

A heritage of votive works

The interiors: diffused light and Byzantine relics

The Franciscan convent

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

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

The Monte delle Prestanze in the new city layout

Virtuosity, decorations and altars

The Church of St. Julian on Via dei Crociferi

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

Palazzo della Cancelleria: from former stable to the Nicastro family

The palace, the town, the church

One city, three sites

The new roads of the city

The expansion of space and changing reality

The city of Modica, a balance between nature and urbanism

The eagle-shaped city

San Domenico and Gagliardi’s work

The Palazzo dei due mori

The senses tell the Cathedral of San Giorgio

Fountain of the Nymph Zizza: public water in the town

A new site for the church of San Giorgio

Militello: The story of an enlightened fiefdom

Expanded spaces, stucco and colourful lights

The senses tell about Palazzo Ducezio

The Antonino Uccello Birthplace Museum

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

The church and the college

A story of rebirth

From the end of the world to rebirth from the rubble

Palazzo Trigona di Canicarao

The Madonna dei Conadomini and the art of devotion

The Church of St. Paul

The art of maiolica

A Nobel Prize in Modica

Altars, saints and sculptural works

The city within the city

The beginning of an authentic Baroque conception

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

The Church of Madonna della Stella

The senses tell about Palazzo Beneventano