Sunday, May 24, 2009

A MORNING IN NOTO

I've lived in Sicily for almost exactly four years, but - vergogna! [shame on me!] - I've yet to see the Infiorata [carpet of flowers] at Noto. This year I couldn't get there because of work commitments. However, on Saturday morning I thought I'd pay my respects to Noto anyway, and Rosa came with me.

Noto Antico or "Old Noto" was destroyed by the devastating earthquake of 1693 and the city now known as Noto was built from scratch a few miles away. Therefore you see a homogeneous Baroque city, with one of the most stunning skylines in Sicily.

This is how Noto looked yesterday, with the honeyed stone of its buildings bathed in sunlight:

Let's start with the Porta Reale, the city gate [1838]:



The Duomo [1703 - 1776], restored to its former glory following the collapse of its dome on the night of March 13th - 14th 1996, when heavy rain seeped into cracks left by an earthquake. I hadn't seen it since its painstaking and loving restoration, and I think the restorers have done a wonderful job:




Me on the Cathedral steps, just to prove I was there!



Via Nicolaci, where the Infiorata is laid out every year in May. You can still see the design plan:



The Corso:



The War Memorial:



Church of San Carlo:



We were treated to sultry jazz music being played under the shade of this tree:



Palazzo Ducezio [Town Hall]:





Almonds, carob, mini Sicilian carts and traditional implements on display outside a shop:



And inside there was this clever display:



The Monastery of the Santissimo Salvatore:



Rosa liked this fountain:



A cool, pleasant walkway with plenty of seats along it:



And a fountain to look at while we waited [ages!] for our bus home:



The first time I saw Noto I was disappointed. That was in winter and the city was in obvious decay. In 1986 it was discovered that the whole city was so fragile it was about to fall down! I am happy to say that much work has been done on its monuments since then and today it is as beautiful as ever.

13 comments:

CherryPie said...

Looks like a good day out and I love hearing the history.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thanks, Cherie.

annechung said...

I love Noto. It is so beautiful especially Palazzo Villadorota where they have the flower festival. I love the whimsical carvings on the balconies, some are of naked ladies which is almost scandalous. Like Villa Palagonia in Bagheri (have you been there?) I love the Sicilian sense of humor. There's a restaurant across the street from the Duomo which served great food and not too expensive either.

cb said...

Beautiful and heartening pictures - Noto's cathedral was still in scaffolding when I was last there so it's lovely to see the work complete.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Anne. I'm glad that you like Noto, too. No, I've never been to Bagheria but would like to. Hi, cb. I hated seeing it in scaffolding, too.

mutleythedog said...

You are obviously having a lot of fun....

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Not as much fun as you are having with that skeleton, surely, Mutley?! [Mutley is on holiday with a skeleton, readers.]

Winchester whisperer said...

The last time I was there, all the churches I wanted to see were closed for repairs

jmb said...

I think Noto is a wonderful place and enjoyed my visit there, although not at the right time either.

I especially loved the wonderful balconies, for which they are famous.

Liz said...

What a lovely day out!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, WW. That is very frustrating. I'd been visiting Modica for about 5 years before I could get into the Duomo of San Pietro - it was always closed for restoration! Hi, jmb. Yes, the balconies are wonderful. Hi, Liz. Yes, it was.

jams o donnell said...

That certainly looks lik a great place to visit!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I'm sure you would love it, jams.

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