Situated in the south-east of Sicily, against a dramatic landscape marked by the craggy IbleanMountains, Noto is considered to be the fairest of the eight Baroque towns that are renowned throughout the island for their beauty. A storybook town, Noto is characterised by honey-hued stone; the architecture encapsulating the very best of Sicilian Baroque with ornate balconies, intricate facades and fairytale buildings straight out of a storybook.
Many Sicilians believe Noto to be the perfect example of a Baroque town. It was rebuilt in this fashion after a destructive earthquake devastated the town back in 1693. The Duke of Camastra took on the project, choosing the top architects of the period to work on this challenge – the results are both charming and spectacular.
Notable sights include around 30 churches, palaces and a magnificent cathedral. Although some of the buildings of Noto are weathered from years gone by, many have been restored and the town is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, this combination of grand architecture and crumbling stone add to Noto’s historical, rustic charm.
Noto holidays bring together enchanting urban scenery with shady green spaces, picturesque piazzas and tropical palms that marry the Mediterranean with North Africa in a style that is truly Sicilian in nature. Visit by day to watch the golden stone glow in the sunshine or arrive as darkness falls, when strategically positioned floodlights light up the buildings and lend a magical fantasy ambience to the town.
For those that are looking to experience traditional Sicilian life against a tranquil backdrop of extraordinary beauty, Noto certainly ticks all the boxes.
Many people choose to visit the town for a day trip but choosing one of our Noto apartments or villas in the immediate area will appeal to those interested in peaceful, authentically-Sicilian surroundings. A base in Noto also provides excellent access to other points of interest in the south-east region such as the ruined town of Noto Antica, the coastal town of Noto Marina and various beaches on the south-east shore. Additionally, self-catered accommodation allows you to set your own timetable and enjoy your own space.
One such property is the magnificent Villa Ceres, an estate nestled in the acres of rolling countryside that stretch between Noto and another UNESCO heritage site, Palazzolo Acreide. With a luxurious interior, designed in the style of a sophisticated yet traditional country home with six elegant bedrooms, this villa makes the ideal base for groups or families to relax by the large pool in the summer and in front of the roaring, open fire in cooler months.
The holiday homes we offer here at Sicily4U are unique in that they have been specially chosen by our dedicated team. Each abode offers its own distinctive features – from private pools to lush Mediterranean gardens, guided tours to cooking services. Browse our selection of Noto accommodation or contact us for assistance and advice in finding your dream Sicilian home-away-from-home.
Noto is one of the most popular destinations for visitors in this region of Sicily and the only way to enjoy this stunning town is to take a leisurely stroll of the streets and soak up the atmosphere of the historical centre. This is Sicilian architecture at its very best and for anyone seeking a bit of escapism from the modern world, rest assured that renting a Noto villa or apartment will not disappoint.
The stunning cityscape that unfolds before you as you wander the main town road, Corso Vittorio Emmanuelle, is the big attraction of Noto. One end of this famous road is marked by the Porta Reale gateway, close to one of Noto’s pretty parks. As you walk the boulevard, you will encounter numerous sights of interest, such as the postcard-perfect spectacle of the Chiesa di Montvirginie and the sweeping staircase that leads to the Chiesa di San Franceso with its beautifully carved, medieval interior.
Other key sights include the majestic Duomo, the cathedral with its fresco-filled ‘hall of mirrors’, as well as the intricate balconies of the Palazzo Villadorata, alive with mythical creatures – from angelic cherubs to proud griffins. The panoramic view from the bell-tower of the San Carlo church will snatch your breath away and is a must-see when visiting Noto.
If you want to see this peaceful town come to life, pay a visit on the third weekend of May when the Infiorata di Noto is celebrated throughout the town. This flower festival sees the Via Nicolai taken over by Sicilian and international artists, paving the streets with petals as they create carpets of glorious mosaics. Parades and carnival shows continue all weekend until Monday when tradition dictates that children run through the streets, destroying the artwork and symbolising the fresh, new beginning marked by the coming of spring.
There are numerous places of interest in south-east Sicily which make excellent destinations to move on to after Noto. Brucoli is a seaside town located between Catania and Syracuse. This former fishing village offers a 15th century fortress for history buffs, whilst nature lovers will delight in some excellent snorkelling spots and wonderful hiking opportunities in the countryside and on the slopes of Mount Etna.
If Noto has whet your appetite for Baroque architecture, explore the ancient city of Ragusa or the postcard perfection of Modica, its elegant buildings spread like a blanket over the rolling hills that typify the region. Alternatively, visit the provincial capital, Syracuse, with its rich heritage of archaeological treasures. For more detailed information on other areas in Sicily, explore our location guide.