Useful touristic information about the baroque Sicilian city of Noto

Noto SicilyMy dear travellers, today I want to introduce you a beautiful baroque Sicilian city, namely Noto. That is, perhaps the most baroque city in Sicily, due to the high number of baroque churches you can visit there. Rather, if you are about to marry your loved soul mate or if you are an architect, visit these churches can be a good solution to get a happy wedding day or for your architectural projects. Apart these my divagations, Noto is placed in the South East of Sicily, the city faces the Mediterranean and Ionian Sea and it is a few kilometres away from the district of Syracuse, where it is included, also. The city is also placed in the middle of the Noto Valley, a territory including other small baroque towns, such as Caltagirone, Vizzini, Grammichele, Catania, Palazzolo Acreide, Modica, Scicli, Ragusa and Militello Val di Catania. This valley was entirely destroyed during the earthquake of 1693 and rebuilt upon an architectural style just called baroque. Noto is surely the most relevant city for its touristic importance. The other cities are equally interesting, especially Catania and Ragusa, but I’ll talk about the other small baroque cities of the Noto valley in the future. Noto is not only important for its baroque churches and palaces, but also for her beaches and natural reserves. Furthermore, in 2002, the city was also included in the World Heritage list of Unesco.

As many other Sicilian cities, Noto was inhabited by the ancestors of Sicilian people, the Sicels. It was also conquered by the Greeks, the Romans and the Arabs. Between the 800 and the 1000 A.C, the city became the most important Islamic stronghold, but this period lasted short because in the following centuries, Noto was granted to the Christian bishops who turned it into the most beautiful baroque city of Sicily. During its long history, Noto also became a rich Norman city, indeed, still today, you can admire many noble palaces and buildings, in addition to nearly 40 baroque churches. Among these, the most important is the cathedral.

Monuments to see in Noto
noto-cathedralAs I mentioned above, Noto has nearly 40 baroque churches and the most important is The Cathedral. The external columns and facades are clearly baroque, so as the internal spaces with a profound and bright dome resembling the Notre Dame cathedral. Indeed, Noto Cathedral is regarded as the most important Sicilian Church and as famous and important as the one of Notre Dame de Paris. The unique difference of Noto Cathedral is that you can organize your wedding at a less expensive cost than in Paris. Other important monuments you can see in Noto are Palazzo Ducezio, the Monastery, the Library and the Roman Villa of Tellaro (Villa Romana del Tellaro). The latter is an important Roman building dating back the late Roman Empire. It is placed outside the city of Noto. The ruins of this Ville were found in 1971 in a fertile farmland nearby the Tellaro river. The building was entirely restored in 2008 and opened to the public. Inside it, you can see stunning Roman mosaics also depicting numismatic images and codes. Behind the Ville there are also many vineyards where the Sicilian farmers are still today producing traditional Sicilian wines, such as Nero D’Avola , Moscato and Albanella, which are very hard to be found nowadays.

noto-beachIn Noto, you can also see wonderful beaches. Especially if you arrive in this city in the summer, I bet you also want to sunbathe or swim in the crystal blue waters of the Noto beaches. The most beautiful beaches on Noto are: Vendicari, San Lorenzo, Marzamemi, Cala Mosche, Eloro, Lido di Noto ( also called Noto Marina) and Calabernardo. Vendicari is the beach which lies in the natural namesake reserve. It is dominated by a Swabian tower and by the ruins of a tuna fishery ( Tonnara). It has white, soft and thin sand. San Lorenzo arises in a charming piece of Sicilian coast made of unspoiled bays. Marzamemi beach is in the namesake hamlet of fishers. Placed between Noto and Pachino city, it is a stunning beach made of soft, white and slight sand soaked by a crystal, clear sea.The beach is called  Marinella and it is a place which resembles the Ocean ( see the image). Cala Mosche has golden sand and it is amid two rock promontories. Eloro is a Greek hamlet with two beaches called Spiaggia della Pizzuta and Spiaggia do Iancu. The landscape is similar to Vendicari beach, but in the meanwhile you can also visit the archaeological park of the same hamlet. Lido di Noto is instead an organized beach with services for tourists. At this beach you can also do water sport. Calabernardo is a delicious beach not far from Noto and with clear sand, and crystal waters.

Natural Reserve of Vendicari
vendicari-oasisVendicari is another wonder you can visit in Noto. Inside it you can also admire the beaches I mentioned above. This has also been a protected natural reserve since 1984 and for this reason there are no hotels around it. Vendicari has several ponds hosting several species of migratory birds. Vendicari is also dominated by a Swabian Tower ( Torre Sveva) and a tuna fishery (Tonnara). It is also surrounded by typical plants of the Macchia Mediterranea. Its main environment is wet and it is suitable for many birds coming from Africa. The Natural reserve of Vendicari is regarded as a real jewel of the Sicilian landscape.

When to visit Noto
You can visit Noto in any seasons, but if you want to enjoy the beaches, also, you must visit the city in the summer. Indeed, the beaches are not accessible in the other seasons and the parking lots are not guarded. All of these services can be found in the summer. Fortunately, the Sicilian summer lasts up to September. For this reason, I advise you visit the city in September, because you’ll find the same summer services, but with less crowded beaches.

How to reach Noto
From Catania or Palermo airport you can take a bus, which brings you to the bus stop in Noto.

Unfortunately, if you take a bus, you’ll listen to  people and drivers who speak Italian or Sicilian, only. This is could be a problerm for you.

To fix it,  you can take a taxi  which leads you to this baroque city. To find a transfer from the two Sicilian airports, click here.

To find a transfer from another destination to Noto, contact me.

To find cheap flights to reach the airports, click here.

if you want to stay a couple of day or more in this wonderful baroque town, you can book hotels near the beaches or in the city.

In the summer, you can book hotels near the beaches in Noto Marina here.

If you want to visit Noto city in the other seasons, you can book urban hotels outside the beaches here.

To enjoy a tour to Noto, with a travel guide and a driver who speak English, you can see this link.