Nicolaci di Villadorata Palace (Palazzo Nicolaci di Villadorata)
Famous for its opulent 18th-century baroque palaces and churches concentrated around Corso Vittorio Emanuele in the historic center, Noto is a must for any architecture buff. Visit the Nicolaci Palace (officially Palazzo Nicolaci di Villadorata) by joining a private or small-group guided walking tour of the city’s historic center that touches on its most sumptuous landmarks. Tours of Noto generally stop at the Cathedral of San Nicolò, churches of Santa Chiara, San Domenico, and Santissimo Salvatore, and Palazzo Ducezio, as well.
Things to know before you go
- Bring your camera to capture the beauty of Noto’s historic architecture.
- Tours of Noto are largely on foot and outdoors; a sun hat and comfortable shoes are recommended.
- If you plan to enter the churches in Noto’s historic center, wear modest attire covering your shoulders and knees.
- The streets in the old town are often steep and interspersed with pedestrian staircases, which may be challenging for wheelchair users.
How to get there
The Palazzo Nicolaci di Villadorata is located on Via Nicolaci just off the elegant Corso Vittorio Emanuele thoroughfare that runs through the center of Noto. Noto is about a 40-minute drive from Syracuse, where many day trips to the city depart. Public buses run between the two cities, but the most convenient way to reach Noto is via a guided tour that includes transportation.
When to get there
Many of Noto’s baroque attractions close briefly at midday, so visit in the morning or late afternoon to be able to view the interiors. Noto’s architectural masterpieces are best photographed at dusk, when the soft light casts a picturesque hue over the city center.
The Palazzo Nicolaci di Villadorata’s Architecture
Built in the 18th century as a residence for the Nicolaci family, the palace features an exterior decorated with sculpted sphinxes, winged horses, hippogriffs, and other mythical beasts, as well as two large columns topped by a large wrought-iron balcony and three smaller balconies on either side. Inside, the palace is comprised of 90 rooms, although only a handful in the main wing are open to the public. Another wing is home to the municipal library of Noto, founded in 1817.
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- Church of Santa Chiara (Chiesa di Santa Chiara)
- Basilica of San Salvatore (Basilica del SS. Salvatore)
- Church of San Domenico (Chiesa di San Domenico)
- Tellaro Roman Villa (Villa Romana del Tellaro)
- Tecnoparco Archimede Museum (Tecnoparco Museo di Archimede)
- Syracuse Cathedral (Duomo di Siracusa)
- Ortygia (Ortigia)
- Ear of Dionysius (Orecchio di Dionisio)
- Syracuse Greek Theater (Teatro Greco)