Noto: what to see, where to eat and what to do in the evening

Who I am
Lluis Enric Mayans

Noto is certainly one of the obligatory stops on a trip to eastern Sicily. Defined as a "stone garden" by Cesare Brandi, and considered as the "capital of Sicilian Baroque", the great artistic and historical heritage it contains was included in the list of UNESCO heritage.
Rebuilt after the devastating earthquake of 1693, the new part rises downstream of the pre-existing inhabited center, known as ancient Noto, and was founded in 1703. The reconstruction interested artists and architects of great importance, who chose the Baroque style.


  1. 10 things to see in Noto in a weekend
  2. What to see in Noto in one day: recommended itinerary
  3. Where to eat in Noto: the best restaurants
  4. What to do in the evening: the nightlife areas and the best clubs in Noto
  5. Plan your stay in Noto: info and useful tips
  6. User questions and comments

10 things to see in Noto in a weekend

1 - Minor Cathedral of San Nicolò

One of the symbols of the Baroque of the Val di Noto, was rebuilt in the eighteenth century after the earthquake of 1963. In contact with the sun's rays, its facade lights up highlighting the rocky material used for the construction, highlighting the Baroque style. The façade has two bell towers, one of which houses a bell, while the other has a clock. There are columns arranged on the sides of the side entrances and, to a double extent, near the main entrance where there is an important portal.
The upper part of the façade houses a central window bordered by two pairs of Corinthian columns, while the bell towers are characterized by the purple red color that breaks with the remaining gold color of the cathedral. The scenographic show from the church is then amplified by the imposing staircase of the eighteenth century which is divided into three flights and which connects the church with the Palazzo Ducezio seat of the current town hall of the city.

The interior is a Latin cross with three naves, with some frescoed parts that survived the collapse of the earthquake, in particular, the Immaculate Conception with Saints and Martyrs, the Adoration of the shepherds and the Madonna delle Grazie and Miracle of San Francesco di Paola . Also noteworthy is the baptismal font and the wooden statues from the 1700s.

  • in Piazza del Municipio, right in the center, it is 1,5 km from the railway station and only 750 m from the Bus Terminal - Get directions
  • every day from 9:00 to 13:00 and from 15:00 to 20:00
  • Free

2 - The hermitage of S. Corrado Fuori le Mura

San Corrado Confalonieri da Piacenza is the patron saint of the city of Noto, and his cult is deeply felt by the community even today. The hermitage dedicated to him stands outside the city, and was built where the patron saint of the city lived as a hermitage from 1322 to 1351. This includes some caves where the Saint and his brothers gathered in prayer and / or found shelter. A suggestive and fascinating santuario dated 1800, today it preserves its footprints, which have become a cult object for many visitors.

  • the hermitage is located about 7 km outside the walls, and it is possible to reach it either via a staircase that descends from the town of Noto or by car: in this case it takes about 11 minutes - Get directions
  • from 7:00 to sunset
  • Free
  • Info and advice: absolute silence is required inside

3 - Palazzo Nicolaci of the Princes of Villadorata

In Baroque style and with about 90 rooms, it dates back to the early decades of the 1700s, even if the works lasted until 1765. The building was born as a noble urban residence of the Nicolaci family who kept the ownership of one wing, giving the other to the Municipality of Noto. The palace is beautifully decorated with several balconies and enclosed by curved railings. Among the figures of the decorations there are mermaids, sphinxes, hippogriffs, winged horses and more, which give the building a particular exotic harmony. A wing of the building houses the Municipal Library, founded by the Town Hall in 1817. Today only nine halls on the noble floor can be visited, finely furnished with nineteenth century furniture from the main cities of Europe. Each hall is furnished in such a way as to suggest the activities that animated these spaces until the last years of the twentieth century.

  • it stands on the opposite side of the Cathedral, on Piazza del Municipio - Get directions
  • every day from 10:00 to 20:00 and from 21:15 to 23:00
  • Full € 4,00, reduced € 2,00 for groups of at least 25 people, free for students and their companions

4 - Agliastrello district

Noto is famous for being the city of the Baroque, which has attracted numerous nobles. But, like any other city on Earth, Noto was and is inhabited by common people, "normal". The popular workers all lived in the Agliastrello district, where it is possible to notice a change in architecture and atmosphere: the houses are all small, close to each other, and characterized by the presence of many courtyards. Certainly the district does not have the same historical importance as the "artistic and chic Noto", but it is still the other side of a coin that is worth seeing.

  • on foot, heading towards Palazzo Castelluccio. The neighborhood is about 7 minutes from the city center - Get directions
  • always accessible
  • Free

5 - The Civic Museum of Noto

The museum is located inside the park of Villa Landolina, and is rich in evidence of a historical nature and archaeological interest. The museum is modern, inaugurated in 1988, and consists of two levels, where the exhibitions are divided into four sectors. The most fascinating are certainly that archeological, which groups together finds found in the excavations of the ancient site of Noto and the ancient Greek citadel of Eloro and the Contemporary art gallery.

  • 170 m from the Town Hall Square, in Corso Vittorio Emanuele - Get directions
  • from Tuesday to Saturday 9: 00-18: 00; Sundays and holidays 9: 00-13: 00;
  • € 8,00; Reduction € 4,00 - residents of the province: € 1,00

6 - Palazzo Ducezio

Palazzo Ducezio is located near the Cathedral of Noto, with which it forms the heart of the city. Seat of the Town Hall, the building was built between '700 and' 800 and was dedicated to the famous leader Ducezio, who opposed the Greek domination. Inside, the boardroom is the main attraction. The charm of the frescoed roof, in which the hero is represented in the act of indicating the place on which his homeland should have been built and the excellent acoustics, which betray his role as ancient theater, are supported by the wise use of large mirrors. These, thanks to a game of illusions, make the salon seem to have infinite galleries.

  • walk in just over ten minutes - Get directions
  • from 10:00 to 13:30 - 15:00 to 18:00
  • € 2,00

7 - Church of San Carlo

Characterized by a baroque facade, fully following the style of the city, the church of San Carlo boasts, inside, three naves with a marble altar in the center. The bell tower can be visited, provided that there are no problems climbing the spiral staircase, which leads to the first terrace. A further staircase leads to the last terrace where the bell tower of the church and its are located three bells, which resonate at regulated intervals. From here you can enjoy a wonderful view of the Cathedral, which becomes enchanting at sunset.

  • definitely on foot, given its proximity to the Cathedral, Palazzo Ducezio and other attractions. It can be reached easily in about 10 minutes, from any point in the historic center - Get directions
  • from 8:00 until sunset
  • the entrance to the church is free, the climb to the bell tower costs € 2,00

8 - Royal Gate

Porta Reale is the symbol of the entrance to the city of Noto, located on Corso Vittorio Emanuele. Built in 1838 upon the news of the king's arrival Ferdinand II of Bourbon, the famous king of the two Sicilies. The designer of the work was the Neapolitan Angelini, also author of the statue of the king which still retains the same aspect of that time, although now it is known as the war Memorial

  • on foot, with a pleasant walk on Corso Vittorio Emanuele, the main street - Get directions
  • always accessible
  • Free

9 - The city of Noto Antica

Ancient Noto is the ancient town of Noto, which was destroyed following the earthquake of 1693, which led its inhabitants to move about 12 km further downstream. In this place, to be visited in respectful silence, the remains of some large structures are kept, including the castle, while it is possible to admire other buildings, such as the church of Santa Maria della Provvidenza, still intact. A project, which sees the universities of Catania, Palermo and a startup collaborate with each other, are trying to restore value to the area, starting from the experience of the visitors.

  • no public transport reaches Noto Antica. It is necessary to have a vehicle in order to travel the 14 km of the SP287 north (about 20 minutes) that separate the two centers - Get directions
  • always accessible
  • Free

10 - The Vendicari Nature Reserve

La Vendicari Wildlife Oasis Nature Reserve is an uncontaminated stretch of coast, located a short distance from Noto city. Finding the entrances to the Reserve is not difficult, given the presence of signs and signs, and once you leave the car you have to move along the paths, meeting marvelous beaches and several ponds, home to many protected species. Furthermore, inside the reserve it is possible to visit the ruins ofSveva Tower, the ancient ruins of the Greek city of Eloro e the Antica Tonnara, a real piece of history that, until 1945, saw the bluefin tuna fishermen in activity. Visitors can choose between different itineraries. Not to be missed, inside the Reserve, is the Calamosche beach.

  • the reserve has five entrances, each of which leads to different attractions. Eloro entrance (Get directions), Marianelli beach entrance (Get directions), Vendicari entrance (Get directions), Calamosche entrance (Get directions), Cittadella dei Maccari entrance (Get directions).
  • by 8: 00 19 to: 00
  • Free

What to see in Noto in one day: recommended itinerary

Morning: breakfast at Caffè Sicilia and starting from Palazzo Nicolaci, the ancient residence of the Princes of Noto with an impressive facade. Going along via Nicolaci you find yourself in front of the elegant church of San Carlo and its beautiful bell tower, on which it is possible to climb, and from which it is possible to see the Cathedral of Noto, the next stage of the visit. The symbol of the city is considered by scholars to be the emblematic building of the Baroque in Italy, which deserves to be visited with the right calm.

Afternoon: once you leave, the nearby restaurant even gli Angeli could be a good idea for lunch, given its proximity to the new stage of the tour: Palazzo Ducezio, the Town Hall. Not to be missed is what is called "the hall of mirrors" which, thanks to a clever game of illusions, seems infinite and huge.
At the end of the visit, always moving along Corso Vittorio Emanuele we soon cross the Civic Museum, where a great variety of archaeological finds are kept, also coming from the nearby Greek town of Eloro. Always looking to the right, in the direction of the Villa Comunale, it will be possible to glimpse from a distance the Royal Gate, built on the occasion of Frederick II's visit to the city.

Sera: right near the monument there is a classic Sicilian bistro, called "Porta Reale Bistrot Siciliano", where it will be possible to taste all the Sicilian gastronomic specialties, desserts included.

One day itinerary at a glance

  1. Breakfast: Caffè Sicilia, Corso Vittorio Emanuele - Get directions
  2. Nicolaci Palace: every day from 10:00 to 20:00 and from 21:15 to 23:00 - ticket price: full € 4,00 reduced € 2,00, free for students
  3. St. Charles Church: every day from 8:00 until sunset - ticket cost: the entrance to the church is free, the ticket to go up the bell tower costs € 2,00
  4. Cathedral of San Nicolò: every day from 9:00 to 13:00 and from 15:00 to 20:00 - ticket price: free
  5. Lunch: Even the Angels, via Arnaldo da Brescia - Get directions
  6. Palace Ducetius: every day from 10:00 to 13:30 - 15:00 to 18:00 / ticket price: full € 2,00
  7. civic Museum: from Tuesday to Saturday 9: 00-18: 00, Sunday and holidays 9: 00-13: 00 / ticket price: full € 8,00 reduced € 4,00
  8. Port Royal: always accessible - ticket price: free
  9. Price: Porta Reale Bistrot Siciliano, Largo Porta Nazionale, 9 - Get directions

Where to eat in Noto: the best restaurants

  1. Porta Reale Sicilian Bistro: small and characteristic place, it is suitable for both lunch and dinner based on typical products
    Average price per person: € 5,00 - € 15,00
    Address and contacts: Largo Porta Nazionale, 9 (Get directions) / tel: 0931 576031
  2. Even the Angels: restaurant with a characteristic location, specializing in Italian, Mediterranean cuisine and a good selection of wines
    Average price per person: € 8,00 - € 60,00
    Address and contacts: via Arnaldo da Brescia, 2 (Get directions) / tel: 0931 576023
  3. Trattoria Fontana d'Ercole: 0 km fish cuisine, Italian cuisine
    Average price per person: € 20,00 - € 25,00
    Address and contacts: vicolo Salonia, 30 (Get directions) / tel: 0931837772

What to do in the evening: the nightlife areas and the best clubs in Noto

The center of Noto is always very lively and, sometimes, it can even be difficult to walk. But we are still in a city with a great historical heritage, which we try to protect in every way. So, beyond restaurants and bars, someone open until late in the evening, for discos, pubs and similar clubs it is necessary to move either towards the coast or near Avola.

The best pubs, clubs and discos

  • Karma cafe: lounge bar open until late
    Address: Via Salvatore La Rosa, 9/11 - Get directions / Facebook page
  • Morrison's Irish Pub: classic Irish pub with a pizza oven, with a good selection of beers
    Address: c.da Nicolella- Baglio Avola 96012 Avola - Get directions / Facebook page
  • Violet Club: cult disco of the place for those who love to dance until late at night
    Address: Provincial Road Noto-Calabernardo / Facebook page

Plan your stay in Noto: info and useful tips

  • by plane, the nearest airport is Catania Fontanarossa (95 km - flights from € 34,00). From the airport there are buses (every hour) covering the 90 km distance from Noto.
    By bus, the stop for the lines that connect Noto to nearby cities is located outside the Porta Reale.
    By car, along the A18 and A19 motorways - Get directions
  • Getting around: the city should be explored on foot. To visit the surroundings, you need a car
  • Where to park: outside the city, towards Porta Reale, there is always a good chance to find free parking. Noto is a city on a human scale, and the center can be reached without the slightest effort
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 33,00 per room -
  • What to see in the surroundings: Villa del Tellaro, remains of a 8th century Roman villa, accessible from Monday to Sunday from 30:19 am to 45:9 pm, free admission (Get directions). Castelluccio di Noto, an archaeological site of prehistoric age, with remains of the ancient town, tombs belonging to various eras and a medieval castle (Get directions). To visit the villages of Avola (23 km - Get directions), Marzamemi (22 km - Get directions), Pachino (36 km - Get directions). Not far away are also important centers such as Syracuse (37 km - Get directions), Modica (52 km - Get directions), Ragusa (44 km - Get directions) and Scicli (20 km - Get directions), and in general all the towns of the Val of Noto and the places of the Montalbano Itinerary. The Cavagrande del Cassibile reserve ( km - Get directions) with the lakes of Avola Antica is also splendid and unique.
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