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Syracuse, Ortygia and Noto Full-Day Tour from Catania

1. Syracuse, Ortygia and Noto Full-Day Tour from Catania

Learn the ancient history of Sicily on a full-day sightseeing tour that takes in the archaeological park of Neapolis, home to the majority of classical monuments of Greek and Roman Syracuse. Following a pick-up from your accommodation in Catania, transfer to the ruins of Syracuse, now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During your walk you will discover many old Roman streets, as well as monuments such as the Greek Theatre, whose cavea is one of the largest ever built by the ancient Greeks. Near the Greek Theatre, you will see the latomie, including the limestone cave known as the “Ear of Dyonisius,” as well as the Christian Church of San Nicolò ai Cordari. Admire the Amphitheatre of the Roman imperial age, and more. Then, continue to Ortygia Island to experience the historic heart of Syracuse. Located at the park’s eastern end, and separated by a narrow channel, Ortygia is filled with Greek temples, Christian churches, and Arabian streets. Visit the Arethusa fountain and Piazza del Duomo, where the baroque palaces, such as Beneventano del Bosco Palace and Senate Palace are among the most beautiful in Sicily. After lunch (own expense), go to the small town of Noto, noted for its unique style of Sicilian Baroque architecture, and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002. Wander the open air museum and beautiful Corso Vittorio Emanuele to admire the many palaces and churches that, grouped together, are known as the “Stone Garden.”

Noto: Sicilian Baroque Architecture Guided Walking Tour

2. Noto: Sicilian Baroque Architecture Guided Walking Tour

The guided tour of Noto will take you back to the Baroque era with its buildings embellished with decorations, stairways and statues like a stone garden and having become the capital of Sicilian Baroque. The guided tour starts from the entrance door to the historic center, the Porta Reale or Porta Ferdinandea, near the Church of St. Francis of Assisi and the nearby Convent of the Holy Savior. We go up the beautiful staircase to be able to admire one of the most beautiful interiors in Noto, with wonderful frescoes and decorations. Walking along the main street, a few steps away we find another beautiful church in which the Baroque style is very recognizable especially inside: we are talking about the Church of Santa Chiara next to a former Benedictine monastery, where you can admire the columns embellished with stuccoes, statues of the apostles and putti. The tour continues arriving in the Piazza del Duomo which houses the majestic Palazzo Ducezio, seat of the Town Hall, built between the 18th and 19th centuries, with its frescoed roof and rooms in which the mirrors create games of visual illusions that make them more large. In front of this baroque-style jewel stands the monumental staircase that leads to the stupendous Cathedral of S. Nicolò, the very symbol of Noto with its honey color that characterizes it at sunset and which we will visit inside. Built in the eighteenth century, it has collapsed three times over time, it has been rebuilt even if many frescoes have been lost; the beautiful facade has two bell towers, one housing a bell while the other has a clock. We continue the visit reaching another well-known symbolic place, namely Via Nicolaci, the street where the infiorata is set up (a carpet of flowers lying on the road) which attracts many tourists and we will also visit externally from some of the most beautiful buildings in Noto. One of these palaces for sure is Palazzo Nicolaci with its beautiful and famous balconies decorated in the lower part with statues, masks, animals and various figures carved in the limestone in the typical Baroque style. Walking through the alleys of the historic center we can admire the Loggia del Mercato which was once the seat of the Noto market with the wrought iron loggia and today used for cultural events. We end the guided tour by discovering the elegant building that houses the Tina di Lorenzo Theater in neoclassical style and the marble Fountain of Hercules built in the 1700s.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Noto

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What people are saying about Noto

Pick up and return on time. Corona-proof in these times because 2 mini-vans for 10 people in total, wearing masks inside all the time. Professional and friendly guides. Tour partly guided, partly with free time, enough time for questions and lunch.

It was great to see a few different places. Nando was friendly and informative. It’s quiet this year so we ended up having a private tour. I recommend it!

Not is beautiful, well worth a visit to slowly stroll the streets and enjoy the atmosphere. The ruins are magnificent.

Our guide, Nando was extremely knowledgeable about the many amazing and historical sites we toured.

It was a great trip. You get to see a lot in a day. Salvo was a great guide.