panoramic view of cattedrale san nicolo from chiesa santa chiara in noto

Noto Travel Guide, Things to do in the Baroque Capital

Eastern Sicily is full of surprises! I just loved exploring Mount Etna and Alcantara Gorge, but I was very surprised by the beauty of Noto. There are several towns and cities in Sicily where you can admire many baroque buildings, but Noto is probably the most famous and it has rightfully earned the nickname of Baroque’s Capital. The town is about an hour (by car) from Catania and coupled with Siracusa, it makes a great day trip to South Eastern Sicily.

Disclosure: is reader-supported. When you make a reservation through links on my site, I may earn an affiliate commission, at no extra cost for you. That will help me keep the blog up and running. Thank you!

In This Article

Planning a trip to Sicily?
Save money and time with the best companies!

✈️ Find the best flight deals on Skyscanner.
🏨 Looking for an accommodation? Booking is the place to go!
🎡 Add more emotions to your trip with GetYourGuide and Viator.
🚗 Need a car for your trip? Book the best one with Discover Cars.
📱 Avoid losing your connection by buying an eSim from Airalo.

Things to do in Noto

Stroll along Corso Vittorio Emanuele

Noto is a rather small town and can be visited in a few hours. There are many parkings where you can leave your car and be in no time in Corso Vittorio Emanuele, the most important street.

While walking admire Noto for what is famous, the Baroque architecture. Above the beautiful buildings it was Porta Reale also known as Porta Fernandinea that captured my attention. The funny thing is that this gate was built in 1838 to honor the visit of King Ferdinando II, so it wasn’t built in the same period as the other buildings, yet it perfectly blends in the town’s style.

On Corso Vittorio Emanuele you will find many artisan shops, bars, restaurants, and also monuments. However don’t forget to keep an eye on the buildings, windows, terraces, and doors are heavily decorated with Baroque elements.

baroque gate opening on a large street corso vittorio emanuele porta ferdinandea noto travel guide

San Nicolò Cathedral

Personally I think the majestic San Nicolò Cathedral is the most beautiful building in Noto. Surely it’s one of the most famous and a landmark from Sicily. What makes it so special? The richly decorated interiors but also the endless stair in the front that connects it with Corso Vittorio Emanuele.

The building dates back to the end of the 17th century but it went through many renovation works. In 1996 the dome and two naves collapsed and the cathedral remained closed until 2007.

In the same square you can find also other notable buildings such as Ducezio Palace, Lodolina Palace and Basilica Santissimo Salvatore.

view of a baroque church at the end of a stair san nicolo cathedral in noto

San Francesco from Assisi and Santa Chiara Churches

As an Italian living abroad my friends always tell me that Italy is the country with the most churches, and of course Noto makes no exception! In addition to the imposing San Nicolò Cathedral, I highly recommend visiting two more churches in Noto.

The first is San Francesco from Assisi Church. This Baroque church was built during the 18th century and inside it has many important paintings and funeral monuments.

The second church I recommend visiting is Santa Chiara. This is one of the most important churches in Sicily because of its impressive interiors that you can visit for free. Even if I was amazed at the stucco and gilding inside, the church point of interest is the panoramic terrace overlooking the city (one of the views is the photo cover of this post). To go up to the terrace there is a small fee that gives you access to an interesting museum inside the attached monastery.

richly decorated interiors of the baroque church santa chiara in noto

Ducezio Palace

The elegant Ducezio Palace is the seat of Noto Municipality but for a small fee you can visit its interiors and the panoramic terrace.

The palace has an interesting story: the project is from the 18th century but it wasn’t until the 19th century that the first floor was built. While the second floor and the terrace were completed in the first half of the 20th century.

view of a city from above in the front palazzo ducezio in noto municipality

Corrado Nicolaci Street

Via Corrado Nicolaci (street) is one of the most famous streets in Sicily. Why? Because every year it hosts the famous Infiorata a very famous flower festival. Following a theme there are thousands and thousands of flowers covering the downhill street with intricate designs. The festival takes place from May to June.

Not able to visit during the festival? When we visited it was outside the festival dates, but even without the flowers you can get a glimpse of the designs that are still visible.

Another must visit from the location is Nicolaci Villadorata Palace. In addition to the exteriors with the famous terraces you can visit the opulent interiors that hosts the public library.

view of a downhill street with decorated ground via corrado nicolaci in noto


Is Noto worth visiting?

You can get the full tour of Noto in a day and yet I highly recommend visiting it because of the Baroque buildings. Food lovers will also find their joy as Noto was elected best destination at the Food Travel Italy Awards for the year 2023.

And last but not least, it can be a great base to explore Sicily’s South. The town is close to Siracusa, Modica (where they make my favorite chocolate!), Ragusa, and of course the magical Sicilian Southern coast.

view of a balcony baroque support palazzo corrado nicolaci in noto
Corrado Nicolaci Palace in Noto.

When is it the best time to visit Noto?

That’s an easy question: during the Infiorata Flower Festival! The city gets more crowded, but that’s a minor price to pay to attend the event and its shows.

If you are planning to go at this time check out the event info on Noto Municipality website.

Planning a trip to Eastern Sicily?

I got you covered with our 5 day itinerary! We just loved exploring this region. People are very nice and helpful, food is to die for, and lifestyle is straight out from la dolce vita manual. How could you ask for more? Well it’s Italy baby! Are you planning a trip to il bel paese? Check out more guides and itineraries in our Italy

Have you liked our Noto Travel Guide? Sharing is caring!

Scroll to Top