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 Syracuse Free Walking Tou

Syracuse Free Walking Tour

Every Tuesday & Friday afternoon (summer months and Christmas period)

Noto, in the province of Syracuse, in the south-eastern part of Sicily, is one of the "baroque jewels" of the island. Thanks to the magnificent architectural details of its churches and nobiliary buildings, the town  belongs to the world culture heritage list of Unesco. The town is also known as "stone garden". If you are visiting eastern Sicily, Noto is surely worth a visit. It's possible to visit the historic town center in a half day. In a full day it's also possible to visit the surroundings: the roman mosaics of the Tellaro villa, the nature reserve of Vendicari, the archaeological area of Noto antica (ancient Noto).

 Coming from Syracuse it's possible to reach Noto through the autostrada (freeway) in about 30 minutes. The freeway exit is between Noto and the sea-village Noto Marina. For the visit of the town center we suggest to park your car near the giardini pubblici (the little public garden) and start from there your visit, going up the "corso", the main street. Blue bays require a parking ticket (available at Tabacchi shops at 0,50 €/hour). It's also possible to arrive in Noto by public bus (from Syracuse or Ragusa) or by train. Look carefully at the timetables because there are few runs and sometimes there a long travel time.

Noto was built from the year 1693, after a tremendous heartquake which destroyed the ancient medieval town (the few ruins are nowadays visible in Noto antica, an archaeological area located at about 10 Km from Noto). For this reason, the town center was built in an uniform baroque style. The "corso" starts at the Porta Reale, a nice arch of triumph in neoclassic style, built in the mid of the 19th century for the visit of the king Ferdinand II of Bourbon. Walking along the main street you wull entcounter an impressing sequence of sumptuous religious buildings: the San Francesco all'Immacolata church, the Santissimo Salvatore monastery, the Santa Chiara church. The last one was projected by Rosario Gagliardi, the most important of the architects which worked in Noto during the 18th century. In the main square it's possible to visit the imponent cathedral of San Nicolò. The cathedral of Noto is famous for the collapse of its dome in 1996. After long restoration works the cathedral was rebuilt in its originary form and using the same golden limestone which is typical of this area. In the same square it's also possible to visit Palazzo Ducezio, the town hall and to admire the archbishop's palace and palazzo Landolina di Santalfano. Continuing the walk on the main street, you will se the baroque San Carlo Borromeo church and in front of it, via Nicolaci. This street is famous for  palazzo Nicolaci, a nobiliary building with wonderful baroque balconies. Via Nicolaci is also famous for the yearly "Infiorata flower festival", which is organised in May and attracts thousand of tourists. The "corso" ends with the elegant fontana d'Ercole (fountain of Hercules), the baroque San Domenico church and the neoclassic theater. Be aware that the most churches and monuments are closed during the lunch time.

It's also possible to visit the inside of a lot of monuments. It's very interesting to walk through the rooms of Palazzo Nicolaci (ticket € 4) which it's ancient furnishings of the 19th century. Visiting the cloister of Santa Chiara is also very interesting. Here it's possible to walk up the tower and enjoy a wonderful panorama of Noto. It's also possible to walk up the tower of the San Carlo church. In Palazzo Ducezio (entrance € 2), the "mirrors room" is open to visitors. Other monuments which is possible to visit inside are the theater (ticket € 2) and the museum of the reconstruction of the cathedral.

 We also suggest to try the bars and pasticcerie of Noto which offer a wide choiche of typical sicilian cakes like cannoli and cassate (traditional cakes with sweet ricotta cheese) and icecreams like the famous "granita". The most famous pasticcerie are the Caffè Sicilia (on the main street), the bar Costanzo (near the main square) and the Mandorlinfiore (near the San Domenico church). Other typical products of the area are the wines (like Nero d'Avola) and the almonds

Guided Visits of Noto

If you are looking for a private guide of a tour of Noto have a look at Hermes-Sicily.com. The guides of Hermes-Sicily organize visits for individual tourists or groups and often it's also possible to take part in mixed group tours. It's also possible to visit Noto together with the Nature reseve of Vendicari or the Villa Romana del Tellaro.

Accomodations in Noto

If you are looking for a Hotel or a Bed and Breakfast have a look at the offers of Booking.com in Noto. A good choice is the Grand Hotel Sofia, a modern 4 stars hotel at the entrance of Noto. It has an own private parking and is good located to reach the town center, the surroundings or the freeway. Another good choice is Il giardino del barocco. This accomodation has a private garden and is located in the town center. If you are looking for a place near the sea, you can try the Hotel Noto Marina, at only 100 m from the beach.

Testi: © Sicily-Holiday - Foto: © Sicilystockphoto.com

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