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If your holiday destination is the great Sicilian volcano, Mount Etna, know that in addition to being able to enjoy the wonderful nature of this mountain, you can also make it the basis for an itinerary. There are many routes that lead from Etna to the most fascinating places in Sicily and certainly one of the most requested by tourists is the one that leads to Noto. Let’s see together which interesting stages can be reached during a journey that takes you from Etna to the baroque “city of wonders”, Noto.

ETNA NOTO 2Etna South

Before leaving for Noto, which is located in southern Sicily in the district of Syracuse, enjoy the beauty of the Etna volcano and in particular, of its southern flank. The southern side of Etna is perhaps the most touristic of all: here is the Refuge Sapienza, the cableway that takes you to the summit craters leaves from here. And on this side you can walk between the plains of Piano Vetore and the Milìa woods. Etna Southis also home to towns rich in history and beauty: Pedara, Trecastagni, Nicolosi, Paternò. A street of art and history which obviously also includes Catania.

Augusta, risen from the rubble

Your route, once you have re-emerged from the festive and artistic chaos of Catania, continues across the plain in a southerly direction. Entering the district of Syracuse it is certainly worth visiting Lentini and Carlentini, the Brucoli canal and the Simeto river. But make sure your main stop is Augusta. This beautiful city, resurrected from the rubble of the 1693 earthquake with all the splendor of baroque architecture, today tries to distance itself from the stereotype of an “industrial city” linked to the oil refineries of its territory. In the central old quarter, it is certainly worth visiting the churches (San Domenico, the Assunta, the Souls of Purgatory, the Round Church…), the Swabian Castle, the Avalos Tower, the Fort Garsia, the 1920s hangar and the excavations of Megara Hyblea.

Syracuse, queen of old times

The second stop of your journey is the incomparable queen of old times, Syracuse. Here, three-thousand year old Greek ruins blend harmoniously with baroque, neoclassical and modern buildings. A granita ice cream is a must in Piazza del Duomo, in Ortigia, in front of the cathedral which hides the columns of the ancient temple of Minerva under the stuccos. Not to be missed: a walk to the Fonte Aretusa, the Temple of Apollo, the archaeological excavations, the legendary Ancient Theatre. The Maniace castle is beautiful both from

PHOTO Herbert Bieser from Pixabay

the outside, despite its rigid and square shape, and from the inside – when it can be visited – where the pointed arched loggias in two-tone stone recall Middle Eastern influences. Also visit the new Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Lacrime, the beaches of Pillirina and Santa Panagia, the Miqwé – or ancient Jewish ritual bath.

Noto, a walk in the baroque

The beauty of Noto, famous for its Baroque, is mainly due to the color of the sandstone with which it is built. A golden-white stone that changes color depending on the sunlight, from pink to dazzling white to golden yellow! Its cathedral is very famous with the monumental staircase that faces the beautiful town hall. Also worth visiting are the churches of San Carlo al Corso, Santissimo Crocifisso, Santa Chiara, San Salvatore, then palaces such as palace Nicolaci, Palazzo Modica, Palazzo Trigona. Noto Antica is the old city destroyed by the earthquake of 1693, and it will be your journey between art and nostalgia that leaves a mark. Other historical sites are the archaeological ruins of Eloro, Castelluccio, Villa del Tellaro and Monte Finocchio. The nature of Noto is expressed in the Vendìcari oasis, in the beaches of Noto Marina and in the Cassibile lake reserve.

DO NOT FORGET! On the third sunday of May, every year, Noto organizes the “Infiorata” (video) : a beautiful baroque artwork made of hundreds of flowers, usually set along the Via Nicolaci, not far from the cathedral square. 

(photos by G Musumeci and H Bieser)

Autore: Grazia Musumeci

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