Sicily is famous for its striking baroque villages. Most notable of these are the hill towns of the Val di Noto, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here are some of the best to add to your Sicily itinerary.
Destroyed by an earthquake in the late 17th century, Noto was rebuilt in a slightly different location, using the baroque style popular in Sicily at the time. Some guided day trips and multi-day tours of the region stop by Noto, taking the hassle out of coordinating transportation to numerous Sicilian sights.
Things to Know Before You Go
As many of the streets are old, uneven, and cobblestoned, Noto isn’t ideal for wheelchairs and strollers.
Travelers should have a moderate level of physical fitness, as exploring Noto requires quite a bit of walking.
Take sunscreen, a swimsuit, and binoculars if you like to watch birds—there are some beautiful beaches nearby.
How to Get There
Noto is just under 90 miles (145 kilometers) south of Taormina. Driving or visiting with a tour guide is the quickest and easiest way to get there. Public transit reaches Noto, but the route is long: take the train (with a stop in Syracuse), or a combination of train and bus.
When to Get There
Weather-wise, the best time to visit Noto is in spring or fall, since the summer heat can be stifling. High season is June to September and around the Christmas and Easter holidays. The city hosts special events throughout the year (e.g. the Baroque Spring Festival, the Arab Horse Race, and various food-themed festivals).
Vendicari Nature Reserve
In Noto, stop at a bakery and grab sandwiches for a picnic at the nearby Vendicari Nature Reserve. Along the rocky coastline, the park is a network of lagoons, dunes, and beaches rife with wild herbs and migrating birds passing through on their way to Africa. Look out for flamingos, herons, cormorants, and storks in fall, and ducks, mallards, and terns in winter.
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