The Beauty of the Iblei Mountains and their most famous municipalities, originates in a strong earth tremor of January 1693. A furious earthquake struck a vast area between Catania, Ragusa and Syracuse. The sea receded and shortly after a huge tsunami poured on the coasts, including Messina, Calabria and Malta. A clean sweep of two millennia of civilization.
The rebirth was an act of will and strength. An act of collective arrogance, an immense effort with avant-garde, very modern ideas. Big, daring.
The reconfiguration of the spaces, as well as of the buildings, was carried out in the name of the models of the new urban planning and of the Baroque culture, which flourished in the seventeenth century and which detested the old medieval models.
The push was so natural as to graft the Baroque into the roots of Sicilian taste, changing it into a unique and typically Sicilian form of identity.
The unique mix of white rocks, carob trees, Tonda Iblea olive trees , almond trees, river valleys, and man-made artefacts, the Baroque of the cities and the essential style of the farms, is inseparable. In the countryside, pitch stone is used in the houses and the plots are divided by dry stone walls, which remodel the estates in a checkerboard pattern. In the cities, the splendor of the clergy and nobility shows off.
A walk in Corso Vittorio Emanuele in Noto, between the Fountain of Hercules and Porta Reale, is a pleasure for the eyes. ten minutes of concentrated Sicilian Baroque.
Noto is a millefeuille of swaying churches and simpering palaces.
It can be traveled entirely on foot. Getting lost in the alleys above San Giorgio reveals the intimacy of the houses, with the pots of basil or tomatoes on the steps of the stairs. At the end of Piazza Duomo, on the left, going down towards the Iblei Gardens, there is the conversation club or Caffè dei Cavalieri, a real gem.
Perched on a rock overlooking the sea, Taormina holds out his hand. The greek theater is in the center. The glance, hypnotic and central to the volcano, is a delight for the spectators and a cross for the actors.