Top Historic Sights in Noto, Italy

Explore the historic highlights of Noto

Noto Cathedral

Noto Cathedral construction, in the style of the Sicilian Baroque, began in the early 18th century and was completed in 1776. It is dedicated to Saint Nicholas of Myra, and has been the cathedral of the Diocese of Noto since the diocese"s establishment in 1844. The cathedral dome collapsed in 1996 as a result of unremedied structural weakening caused by an earthquake in 1990, to which injudicious building altera ...
Founded: 1776 | Location: Noto, Italy

Palazzo Ducezio

Inspired by French palace architecture of the 17th century, graceful, porticoed Palazzo Ducezio is one of architect Vincenzo Sinatra"s finest works. The lower level, dating from the mid-18th-century, houses the jewel-box Sala degli Specchi (Hall of Mirrors), a richly stuccoed, Louis XV-style room once used as a small theatre. The top floor, built in the mid-20th-century, offers a panoramic terrace with level views of ...
Founded: 1746-1830 | Location: Noto, Italy

San Carlo al Corso Church

The Carlo al Corso church replaced an earlier church. This church likely designed by Rosario Gagliardi, was part of the town reconstruction after the 1693 Sicily earthquake. The concave façade has three superimposed orders of columns, identified by their capitals from base to roofline as Doric, Ionic and Corinthian; in the progression expected in classical construction. The third story has floral oculus. The interior ha ...
Founded: 1693 | Location: Noto, Italy

Montevergine Church

Montevergine Church was built between 1695 and 1697, after the 1693 Sicily earthquake that leveled the town. It was built for the Benedictine nuns of the Order of Monte Vergine. The church is dedicated to St Jerome. The concave facade, flanked by two bell-towers, was completed in 1748 by Vincenzo Sinatra. The church rises at the top of stone steps, and the layout has a single nave flanked by Corinthian columns, and a ...
Founded: 1695 | Location: Noto, Italy

Santa Chiara Church

The church of Santa Chiara is located in Corso Vittorio Emanuele, next to the former Benedictine monastery of the Holy Crucifix.The church was designed by Rosario Gagliardi around 1730, it was completed in 1758 and later annexed to the monastery belonged the Benedictine nuns (which is now a museum). It represents an important example of baroque architecture.The façade of the church was originally located in Corso Vittor ...
Founded: 1730-1758 | Location: Noto, Italy

San Domenico Church

San Domenico is a Baroque-style, Roman Catholic church and monastery erected between 1703 and 1727 using designs by Rosario Gagliardi. The interior has three naves with polychrome marble side altars. The interior has a rich stucco decoration. The third altar to the left depicts a sculpted crucifixion with scenes of the Passion. Others depict a St Dominic receiving the Holy Spirit and a Madonna of the Rosary (1712) by ...
Founded: 1703-1727 | Location: Noto, Italy

Netum

Netum was a considerable ancient town in the south of Sicily. Its current site is at the località of Noto Antica, in the modern comune of Noto. As a treaty was concluded in 263 BCE between the Romans and King Hieron II of Syracuse, Netum was noticed as one of the cities left in subjection to that monarch. Ptolemy is the last ancient writer that mentions the name; but there is no doubt that it continued to exist thro ...
Founded: 8th century BCE | Location: Noto, Italy

Villa Romana del Tellaro

The Villa Romana del Tellaro is a Roman villa dating from the late Roman Empire. The remains of the villa were found in 1971 in a fertile agricultural area, on a low elevation near the Tellaro river. The central building was constructed around a large peristyle. The section of the porch on the north side had a floor which was decorated with mosaics. They show laurel wreathes forming circles and octagons with geometri ...
Founded: 4th century AD | Location: Noto, Italy

Helorus

Helorus was an ancient Greek city of Sicily, situated near the east coast. It was probably a colony of Syracuse, of which it appears to have continued always a dependency. The name is first found in Scylax; for, though Thucydides repeatedly mentions the road leading to Helorus from Syracuse, which was that followed by the Athenians in their disastrous retreat, he never speaks of the town itself. It was one of the cities w ...
Founded: 8th century BCE | Location: Noto, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Palazzo Colonna

The Palazzo Colonna is a palatial block of buildings built in part over ruins of an old Roman Serapeum, and has belonged to the prestigious Colonna family for over twenty generations.

The first part of the palace dates from the 13th century, and tradition holds that the building hosted Dante in his visit to Rome. The first documentary mention notes that the property hosted Cardinal Giovanni and Giacomo Colonna in the 13th century. It was also home to Cardinal Oddone Colonna before he ascended to the papacy as Martin V (1417–1431).

With his passing, the palace was sacked during feuds, and the main property passed into the hands of the Della Rovere family. It returned to the Colonna family when Marcantonio I Colonna married Lucrezia Gara Franciotti Della Rovere, the niece of pope Julius II. The Colonna"s alliance to the Habsburg power, likely protected the palace from looting during the Sack of Rome (1527).

Starting with Filippo Colonna (1578–1639) many changes have refurbished and create a unitary complex around a central garden. Architects including Girolamo Rainaldi and Paolo Marucelli labored on specific projects. Only in the 17th and 18th centuries were the main facades completed. Much of this design was completed by Antonio del Grande (including the grand gallery), and Girolamo Fontana (decoration of gallery). In the 18th century, the long low facade designed by Nicola Michetti with later additions by Paolo Posi with taller corner blocks (facing Piazza Apostoli) was constructed recalls earlier structures resembling a fortification.

The main gallery (completed 1703) and the masterful Colonna art collection was acquired after 1650 by both the cardinal Girolamo I Colonna and his nephew the Connestabile Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna and includes works by Lorenzo Monaco, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Palma the Elder, Salviati, Bronzino, Tintoretto, Pietro da Cortona, Annibale Carracci (painting of The Beaneater), Guercino, Francesco Albani, Muziano and Guido Reni. Ceiling frescoes by Filippo Gherardi, Giovanni Coli, Sebastiano Ricci, and Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari celebrate the role of Marcantonio II Colonna in the battle of Lepanto (1571). The gallery is open to the public on Saturday mornings.

The older wing of the complex known as the Princess Isabelle"s apartments, but once housing Martin V"s library and palace, contains frescoes by Pinturicchio, Antonio Tempesta, Crescenzio Onofri, Giacinto Gimignani, and Carlo Cesi. It contains a collection of landscapes and genre scenes by painters like Gaspard Dughet, Caspar Van Wittel (Vanvitelli), and Jan Brueghel the Elder.

Along with the possessions of the Doria-Pamphilij and Pallavacini-Rospigliosi families, this is one of the largest private art collections in Rome.