Noto and Marzamemi
After breakfast, you’ll meet with your private driver to enjoy Noto, a baroque town so gorgeous you might mistake it for a film set. Noto is renowned for its beautiful historic center that was almost entirely rebuilt as magnificent “Garden of Stone” in the early 18th century following the 1693 earthquake.
Your visit begins with a walk through the Royal Gate, which offers a grand entrance to the main road, an elegant walkway that runs straight to Noto’s main square flanked by thrilling baroque palazzi, churches and convents. This superb square, Piazza Municipio, features the Cathedral, which is the focal point today of Noto’s skyline which had to undergo extensive renovation after its dome collapsing during a 1996 thunderstorm. On the opposite side, you can appreciate the elegant convex facade of Palazzo Ducezio, Noto's town hall which houses an impressive hall of mirrors with 19th century frescoes.
Your tour continues to admire the rich baroque architecture of Palazzo Nicolaci di Villadorata which amazes travelers with its beautifully wrought-iron balconies supported by a swirling pantomime of grotesque figures through a crescendo of lions, jellyfish, hippocampus and horses. Inside, the richly brocaded walls and frescoed ceilings offer an idea of the sumptuous lifestyle of Sicilian nobles, as brought to life in the Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa novel "Il Gattopardo" (The Leopard). Spend your lunch and the rest of your afternoon in the quaint fishing village of Marzamemi, one of the most southern towns in Sicily where you can see the small and characteristic houses of the fishermen which border the main square around the 18th century tonnara – the town’s famous tuna production factory.