I took a little day trip to Noto on my birthday. After a quick thirty minute ride on the shortest train I’ve even seen, I arrived in a small town considered to be the height of Baroque urban planning.
The Duomo is a show stopper. The old town was completely destroyed in the 1693 earthquake. The way it’s laid out is very organized thanks to Giovanni Battista Landolina. Working with three architects, Rosario Gagliardi, Vincenzo Sinatra, and Paolo Labisi, Landolina designed three main streets, running parallel. At the top were the aristocracy (with the best views), the clergy in the middle, and everyone else at the bottom.
I had a great time in gorgeous Noto. Caffe Sicilia on Corso Vittorio Emanuele, 125, is fantastic. I had one of the best lemon granitas of my LIFE there.
My return to Ortigia had a classic Italian moment. I bought a round-trip ticket. After a long walk, downhill, to the train station I noticed everything was closed. Ten minutes later, an announcement is made over the loud speaker in rapid-fire Italian saying my train had been canceled. Thank God I understand Italian because at a pocket-sized station why would there have been an explanation also in English? I went to a gym across the street to ask where the heck the bus stop was as there were no signs with that information.
There were four men at the front desk chatting and they looked like Dolce & Gabbana models but with athletic builds. The men were very dark and handsome with those striking green/grey eyes you see all over Sicily. My brain froze. I literally could not speak Italian (or English really). One dude said, “are you okay?” I blamed the heat and they were kind enough to give me specific directions.
The street was silent, expect for my cursing, as I climbed back up the ridiculously long and steep hill, in the blazing hot Sicilian sun (there were NO cabs around). At the bus stop I was told that the bus service between these small towns is a lot more reliable than the train. Thanks Trenitalia!
A view of the Duomo from one of the terraces of the Santa Chiara church.
Love the detailing above the chandelier.
I ate a delicious Pasta alla Norma and the service was great. The reviews of this restaurant are all over the map. Two foodie friends thought the food was overrated and others go to Noto just to eat here.
While am I more of a Biggie person, I can appreciate this graffiti.
Interior of the Montevergine church.
Three bells. Shot from another terrace of the Santa Chiara church.
Sea view. In the distance.