Noto is a small town just one hour by car from Catania. It is one of the most enchanting towns in Sicily.
How to reach Noto:
By car: You can easily reach Noto both from Syracuse and from Catania.
By train: Noto can be reached by train from Catania changing at Syracuse.
By bus: Take the bus from the Via d’Amico terminal at the Catania airport. The ride lasts about 90 minutes and costs 8 Euros (for more details on the hours visit the website www.interbus.it)
Noto was rebuilt in the 18th century after being devastated by an earthquake in January of 1693. The original name of the town was Noto Antica. The original town was located in a different spot than the new one, which is closer to the coast.
The reconstruction was carried out thanks to the contribution of several architects who realized a wonderful town built in a Baroque style. The buildings are made of local white tufa, which turns a brownish color in the sun.
What to see in Noto:
Walking the principal street, Corso Vittorio Emanuele, you will find the 3 main squares. Every square has a church.
The most important church in Noto is Cattedrale di San Niccolò (the Duomo). The construction of the Duomo started in 1694 and finished in 1703. The facade rises above a huge straircase and has two different towers. The Duomo is unique not only for its style but also for the material used for its construction. A particular kind of sandstone, taken from a nearby area, was used. This stone has a golden color and when the sun shines on the cathedral the facade lights up like a pale gold dust. The Duomo of Noto is part of the UNESCO sites since 1940.
The other sites to see are:
Chiesa del Santissimo Crocifisso: built in 1715. It is the second largest church in Noto and it has an unfinished facade because is was meant to be a simple church. The project was by Rosario Gagliardi.
Chiesa di San Domenico: built between 1703-1727 and also designed by Rosario Gagliardi. Nowadays, this church is considered the most representative of the baroque in Noto.
Noto Antica’s ruins: only a few tourists are aware that Noto Antica’s ruins are open to visitors. Sure enough, just a few kilometers away from Noto, and more exactly on the Alveria Mountain you can have free access (as of July 2015) to the ruins. Walking for just a few hours in the middle of the nature, you will be able to reach the ruins and enjoy a suggestive place. Before you start your adventure to look for the ruins on the mountain, make sure you have a map so you don’t get lost!