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Noto is one of the most beautifully-built towns in Europe and this remote little place comes out in the memory like W?rzburg or Nymphenburg as one of the most achievements of the age which produced Mozart and Tiepolo
The older town, Noto Antica, lies 8 km directly north on Mount Alveria. It was ancient Netum, a city of Sicel origin, left to Hiero II by the Romans by the treaty of 263 BCE and mentioned by Cicero as a foederala citilas (Verr. v. 51, 133), and by Pliny as Latinae conditionis (Hist. Nat. iii. 8. 14). According to legend, Dedalus stopped here after his flight over the Ionian Sea, as well as Hercules, after his seventh task.

A view of the Noto town hall.
In the Roman era, it opposed praetor Verres. In 866 it was conquered by the Arabs, who elevated to a capital city of one of three districts of the island (the Val di Noto). Later it was a rich Norman city.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, the city brought forth several notable intellectual figures, including Giovanni Aurispa, jurists Andrea Barbazio and Antonio Corsetto, as well as the architect Matteo Carnelivari and the minor composer Mario Capuana. In 1503 king Ferdinand III gave it the title of civitas ingeniosa ('ingenious city'). In the following centuries, the city expanded enlarging its medieval limits; and new buildings, churches and convents were built. These, however, were all totally destroyed by the earthquake of January 11, 1693. The devastation of the city on Mount Alveria was accompanied by its economy, which relied mainly on agricultural products? vine, oil, cereals, rice, cotton? and its renowned handicrafts.
The current town, rebuilt after the earthquake on the left bank of River Asinaro, was planned on a grid system by Giovanni Battista Landolina. This new city occupied a position nearer to the Ionian Sea. The presence of architects like Rosario Gagliardi, Francesco Sortino and others, made the new Noto a masterpiece of Sicilian Baroque, dubbed the 'Stone Garden' by Cesare Brandi and is currently listed among UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. The new structures are characterized by a soft tufa stone, which under sunlight assumes a typical honey tonality. Parts of the cathedral suddenly collapsed in 1996, a great loss to Sicilian Baroque.
The city, which had lost its provincial capital status in 1817, rebelled against the House of Bourbon on May 16, 1860, leaving its gates open to Giuseppe Garibaldi and his expedition. Five months later, on October 21, a plebiscite sealed the annexation of Noto to Piedmont.
In 1844, Noto was named a bishopric seat, but in 1866 suffered the abolition of the religious guilds, which were deeply linked to the city's structures and buildings.
Noto was freed from fascist dictatorship in July 1943. At the referendum of 1946, the Notinesi people voted in favour of the monarchy.
[edit]Main sights

    This section requires expansion.
Noto is famous for its fine buildings of the early 18th century, considered among the main masterpieces in the Sicilian baroque style.
[edit]Palaces and other buildings
Ducezio Palace, the current Town Hall. Designed by Vincenzo Sinatra, it houses neo-classical style frescoes by Antonio Mazza.
Astuto Palace.
Villadorata palace on Via Nicolaci which was built by P. Labisi in 1733.
[edit]Religious buildings
Cathedral of San Nicolò di Mira (finished 1776).
Church of Santa Caterina.
Church of San Corrado.
Church of the Collegio di San Carlo.
Church of the Sacro Nome di Gesu.
Monastery of Santa Chiara (1735), designed by Gagliardi. It has an oval plant, the interior divided by twelve columns housing a Madonna with Child from the 16th century.
Church of San Michele Arcangelo.
Church of Santa Maria della Scala.
Church of Santissimo Salvatore.
Town Library.
Church of San Nicola di Mira.
Church of Santa Chiara, with a precious Madonna by Antonello Gagini.
Church of San Francesco d'Assisi (Immacolata).
Church of the Spirito Santo.
Church of Ecce Homo.
Church of Santa Maria dell'Arco.
Church of the Anime Sante del Purgatorio ('Holy Souls of the Purgatory').
Church of Santa Maria della Rotonda.
Church of the Santissima Trinità.
Church of San Carlo al Corso (by Rosario Gagliardi).
Church of Santa Maria del Carmelo.
Church of San Pietro Martire.
Church of San Michele Arcangelo.
Church of San Domenico (by Rosario Gagliardi).
Church of Sant'Antonio Abate.
Church of Santa Caterina.
Church of the Crociferio di San Camillo.
Church of Montevergine (San Girolamo).
Church of Santissimo Salvatore.
Church of San Andrea Apostolo.
Church of San Pietro delle Rose (Saints Peter and Paul).
Church of the SS. Crocifisso.
Church of Sant'Egidio Vescovo.
Church of Santa Maria del Gesù.
Church of Annunziata.
Church of Santa Agata.
[edit]Archaeological finds
The remains of Notòs early inhabitants are almost entirely hidden beneath the ruins of the mediaeval town, except for three chambers cut into the rock. One is noted by an inscription in the library at Noto to have belonged to the gymnasium, while the other two were heroa (shrines of heroes). But explorations have brought to light four cemeteries of the third Sicel period, and one of the Greek period, of the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC. There are also catacombs of the Christian period and some Byzantine tombs.
Four miles to the south of Noto, on the left bank of the Tellaro (Helorus) stands a stone column about 10 metres high, which is believed to be a memorial of the surrender of Nicias. In the 3rd century BC, a tomb was excavated in the rectangular area which surrounds it, destroying apparently a pre-existing tomb. The later burial belongs to the necropolis of the small town of Heloron, 750 m to the southeast, some remains of which have been discovered. It was a small advanced post of Syracuse, belonging probably to the 6th century BC.




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