Cradle of Sicilian Barque as well as one of the most wonderful expressions of the last period od the European Baroque, in 2002 the Val di Noto was included by UNESCO in the World Heritage List. The eight Late Baroque towns of Val di Noto (Caltagirone, Catania, Militello in Val di Catania, Scicli, Noto, Ragusa, Palazzolo Acreide e Modica), in fact, represent an exceptional example of Late Baroque art and architecture emphasized by their homogeneity, caused by the simultaneous reconstruction of the cities after the violent earthquake in 1693.
The Baroque architecture is concentrated in via Crociferi at Catania. The Giovan Battista Vaccarini's work prevailed in the city of Etna. He took care of the decoration of the cathedral square, including the praetor palace and the fountain of the elephant inspired by Bernini, while Caltagirone includes very rare examples of 17th c. architecture, as the staircase of Santa Maria del Monte. At the base of the staircase, the baroque façade of the churches of San Giuseppe and San Giacomo strike us. Ragusa hides a perfectly preserved baroque architectonic structure in the heart of the ancient district of Ibla, dominated by the cathedral of San Giorgio, with an elegant façade divided into three parts. Don't forget a quite walk among the little streets of the centre of the town, winding among the beautiful façades of buildings and churches, to realize the triumph of the precious decorations along the cornices and below the balcony. The same pleasure that give the lanes and the squares of Modica, Scicli and Noto, above all at the sunset or with the lights of the evening, when the colour of the stone becomes warmer and the grotesque figures of animals or transfigured man, are exalted in their immobility. In Modica, Salvatore Quasimodo's native city, the church of San Giorgio looks like challenging the sky with its powerful staircase of 250 steps. The little city of Noto is going to open the big cathedral, destroyed by the recent earthquake, to visitors. Its centre area is quite a salon, with the theatre and the sumptuous palaces, and between them that one of Villadorata stands out with its rich floral decorations supporting the balconies.