Monday, June 18, 2007


One of the glories of this part of Sicily is the city of Noto, about a half hour's drive from Modica. "Old" Noto was destroyed in the terrible earthquake of 1693 and the citizens rebuilt their town a few miles away, creating what is probably the most harmoniously Baroque city in all Sicily. Vincent Cronin, in The Golden Honeycomb, writes:

" Noto has remained an eighteenth- century country town of golden stone, standing on the slopes of a hill with a view on all three sides of almond trees, row upon row, their leaves in March the most delicate shade of green, a shade which springs new at every glance."

You just have to behold the delicate colour of that stone. When I first saw it, I immediately understood Tennyson's line:

"The splendour falls on castle walls".

In March 1996 disaster again befell Noto, when the cupola of its magnificent cathedral collapsed due to cracks in it caused by yet another, later earthquake. I took the above picture when I was there not long afterwards. You can see a picture of the Cathedral before the collapse here.

It has taken over a decade, and an expenditure of 25, 000, 000 euros, to restore the building and today Prodi visited the town for the reopening. A message of goodwill was received from the Pope. Let us hope that this threat turns out to be a non-starter.


Crushed said...

This would have been built at the tail end of Spanish rule.
It's lovely.
There's a very similar- if smaller- church in Athlone, believe it or not.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Crushed, I shall look that church up.

Gledwood said...

All that beautiful sandstone! Fantastic style!

Maria said...

Thank you for not only quoting Tennyson... but for the brief history lesson!

As always.. I am so impressed!

Tutto il la cosa miglior!*(hope that's correct)

jmb said...

We went to Noto when I was in Sicily and I remember wandering around looking at the balconies. Is that the place where they fill one whole street with flowers for a festival?

Of course we weren't there for that but I do remember the balconies with lovely flowers.

Sally said...

Hi Welshcakes - so much has been going on while I've been away. First of all complimenti for your Blogpower award, quanto sei brava! And I'm sorry I wasn't around to put my vote in for you, not that you needed it, speeding right up there to the top. It does indeed show how it's the truly human blogs that appeal, you're an essential part of my day and I love hearing about your goings on and thoughts on this and that. Tuscany was beautiful, varied and a great chance to catch up with friends, I'm so rarely in Italy and not working that it was an especial treat. I've come home with a wonderful new risotto recipe - interested.........?

marymaryquitecontrary said...

How on earth could the Sicilian Authority contemplate this. Money speaks.

Anonymous said...

I am just adding you to my links, I like your post, no food though - something wrong?

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Glad you like it, Gledwood. Thanks, M - you always encourage me. Jmb, yes, that's where they do the flower carpet in May. I always manage to miss it but am determined to catch it next year! Welcome back, Sally and thank you. I didn't exactly speed to the top - it got quite hairy at one stage! But I am of course delighted. Glad you had a relaxing time in la bella Toscana. I'd love to have your new risotto recipe! Marymary, it's incredible, isn't it? Same story all over the world.. Thanks, Mutley. I'll add you, too. No, nothing wrong!!

Liz Hinds said...

Let's hope the Texan oil magnate doesn't get his evil way.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Yes, let's hope not, Liz.

Whispering Walls said...

When I visited Noto, admittedly nearly 10 years ago, virtually all the churches were closed for restoration. The place seemed to be at the mercy of the mafia.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

That's interesting, WW, as this area doesn't have much mafia activity. It's very frustrating when you get to an Italian town praised in your guidebook and find all closed for restoration. It took me 10 years of visits before I could get into San Pietro in Modica!

Melanie said...

Noto, where we had the most fabulous gelato--there was a rose petal flavour, as well as a jasmine, if I recall correctly. mmmmmm!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Melanie. Yes, they do incredible flavours in Noto - and in Avola!


View My Stats