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  • The late baroque Towns of Val di Noto

    Unesco site since 2002

    During Arab domination, Noto had the function of ‘capovallo’, that is the administrative center of reference ( in Arabic waal or Wali), from which Vallo or Val di Noto. The eight cities that are part of the site, Caltagirone, Militello Val di Catania, Catania, Modica, Noto, Palazzolo, Ragusa, and Scicli, are located in the south-east of Sicily. All of them were rebuilt after the terrible earthquake of 1693, which razed entire inhabited centers to the ground, completely devastating the urban memory of the area. The current face of this area of the island is therefore the result of a reconstruction of cities thought as works of art, masterpieces of late Baroque architecture of the 17th century. The site, which represents the culmination of the Baroque in Europe, includes three entire historic centers, Caltagirone, Noto, and Ragusa, some specific urban areas of Catania and Scicli, and some isolated monuments of Modica, Palazzolo Acreide and Militello Val di Catania The sumptuous and elegant palaces, churches with precious interiors and stunning inlaid facades, urban textures woven in a unique style, make this south-eastern area of Sicily an exceptional example of architectural influence on the territory and represent one of the greatest expressions of European Late Baroque in the world. The style that is commonly called “Val di Noto baroque” is distinguished from one city to another above all by the use of different materials for construction: for example, in Catania, the baroque is dark gray due to the use of stone lava, while in Noto it takes on the bright honey color of the local stone.


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