CASA VALENTINE…

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Noto, City of Sicilian Baroque

Written By: Arlene Ridolfi Valentine - Jul• 27•16

A cloudy and windy day in southern Sicily does not bode well for beach-going.  It is perfect though for a visit to Noto, Sicilian Baroque at its most outrageous.

Porta Ferdinandea, Noto, Sicily

Porta Ferdinandea, Noto, Sicily

From the minute you walk through the Porta Ferdinandea, you’re strolling through history.  For sure, there are too many tourist venues pandering gadgets and flags and bouncing balls…..but even they can’t take away from the magnificence of what unfolds before your eyes as you walk down the Corso Vittorio Emanuele.  The old city of Noto was destroyed by a violent earthquake in 1693 and the entire city was rebuilt in Baroque style which was the fashion at the time.  I’ll just let the photos do the talking……..

Chiesa San Francesco d'Assisi, Noto, Sicily

Chiesa San Francesco d’Assisi, Noto, Sicily

Just a few steps under the arches and the procession begins…..the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi gets you in shape for the stair-climbing that is to come.   All of the churches and palazzos have grand entries.

Security and Screens Combined

Security and Screens Combined

This amazing building, not even a church or monument, has the most original screens and window moldings, not to mention its rooftop pediment which is literally over the top.

Chiesa di San Carlo al Corso, Noto, Sicily

Chiesa di San Carlo al Corso, Noto, Sicily

A few steps further along and the Church of Saint Carlo looms over the narrow street that is leading you directly to

Duomo, Noto, Sicily

Duomo or La Chiesa Madre di San Nicolo, Noto, Sicily

the Duomo……the Cathedral that looks out over all.  The same Cathedral whose cupola collapsed in 1996 and was rebuilt (just a tad shorter than before),

New Cupola, Cathedral, Noto, Sicily

New Cupola, Cathedral, Noto, Sicily

but still wonderfully frescoed (and hopefully safely reinforced).  Off to a side street, the same street on which there is an infiorita every year in May (when the street is completely covered in flower petals laid out in intricate designs and patterns), there is a palazzo that stands out because of its lavishly decorated balconies……here are three of them, exceptional in their lifelike forms……

Palazzo Nicolaci Balcony, Noto, Sicily

Palazzo Nicolaci Balcony, Noto, Sicily

The faces, oddly enough two per support, seem to follow you around……while the next balcony

Nicolaci Balcony, Noto, Sicily

Nicolaci Balcony, Noto, Sicily

features lion/horses charging forward……and yet another displays

Palazzo Nicolaci Balcony, Noto, Sicily

Palazzo Nicolaci Balcony, Noto, Sicily

female forms rising from the sea.   One more church nearby stood out because of its setting…..

Chiesa di San Domenico, Noto, Sicily

Chiesa di San Domenico, Noto, Sicily

the Church of Saint Domenico sits on a little rise with a magnificent pine tree of equal height right outside its door.
By now, all that stair-climbing and craning of necks looking upward had brought on a fierce hunger which was no problem at all since it was past noon and we knew right where we were going…..

Trattoria Carmine, Noto, Sicily

Trattoria Carmine, Noto, Sicily

The Trattoria Carmine, kind of nondescript on the outside, had aromas emanating that could not be ignored.  The only sign is a bit high to notice from the street……the entrance is up a flight of stairs….and I can only describe the inside by saying it brought back

Trattoria Carmine, Noto, Sicily

Trattoria Carmine, Noto, Sicily

a flood of memories of what New York City’s Little Italy was like in the 1960s.  Heaven!  We ate very well here……their own pasta with a sauce of sicilian pachino tomatoes, pesto, eggplant…..and a bit of roasted sausage on the side.  Sadly there are no photos because my camera just plain blew a fuse (too many baroque photos will do that every time)……but at least I got a shot of the sweet, happy and very talented Queen of the Trattoria Carmine Kitchen….

Queen of Trattoria Carmine, Noto, Sicily

Queen of Trattoria Carmine, Noto, Sicily


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