Noto is one of the European cities most beautifully constructed: this small remote town emerges in the memory like Würzburg or Nymphenburg.
Called the “Capital of Baroque”, in 2002 its historic center was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, along with Val di Noto.
The original site of the city, ancient Noto, is located 8 km to the north, Mount Alveria. Here are found the first human settlements, which date back to the Bronze Age or Castellucciana (2200-1450 BC).
According to legend, Neas, it would be the name of the oldest known, would give birth to the Sicilian Ducezio leader, who in the fifth century BC would defend the city against invaders Greek.
In 214 BC about, Neaton opened its doors to the army of the Roman consul Marcus Claudius Marcellus, and was so recognized as a city allied with the Romans (who called Netum) as Taormina and Messina. As such, the Romans conceded to netini own senate, and even today, in the palaces and portals is imprinted with SPQN (Senatus PopolosQue Netinum).
During the late Roman period in his area was built the Villa Romana del Tellaro (fourth century). After the occupation of Sicily (about 535-555) by legions of Byzantine Emperor Justinian, the territory of Noto was enriched with monuments such as the basilica of Eloro and the Citadel of Trigona Maccari, the Oratory of Falconara and the Crypt of St. Lorenzo Vecchio, the monastery of San Marco, the Village district of Arc. Noto was occupied by the Arabs in 864 of the ras Khafaja well Sufyan, who fortified.
Here you fù established the silk industry, exploiting the presence of mulberry trees in the territory.
From 1091 to 1542 step by dominations Norman to Aragonese. Ferdinand II of Aragon in Noto gave the title of “City ingenious” for the many characters in the four distinguished in Art, Letters and Science, as John Aurispa, Cassarino Antonio, Antonio Corset, Andrea and Matteo Barbatius Carnalivari.
On 11 January 1693 the town, then in its full splendor, was destroyed by the earthquake of Val di Noto, which killed about 1,000 people.
Immediately after the terrible event Giuseppe Lanza Duke of Camastra, appointed vicar general for the reconstruction of the Val di Noto, decided to rebuild the city on another site 8 km downstream.
In the plan of building the city intervened different personalities, indicated by documents and by tradition, by the military Dutch Carlos de Grunenbergh, mathematician Netino Giovanni Battista Landolina, the Jesuit between ‘Angelo Italy, military architect Giuseppe Formenti; but, beyond urban plan is to keep in mind that the current city is the result of the work of many architects (Rosario Gagliardi, Paul Labisi, Vincenzo Sinatra, Antonio Mazza), master builders and masons, who, throughout the eighteenth century, realize this unique urban environment.