The Cathdral The Cathdral of Noto the main church, begun in the early 18C and completed in 1776.

Ancient Noto, a Sicel indigenous centre, was situated on the Meti hill, 152 m above sea level. It was inhabited in prehistoric times, as testified by the numerous necropolis and substantial archaeological finds from the “Castelluccio culture” (17C-15C BC) and the “Finocchio culture” (8C-7C BC). In the 3C BC, the ancient Neai witnessed a considerable development under Hieron I. In Roman times, it became a “civitas foederata” and enjoyed special privileges. After the Byzantine age it was conquered by the Arabs in 866 AD, and raised to the status of capital of the Val di Noto department, becoming a rich stronghold of Muslim power in Sicily. From the 12C, under the Normans and the Swabian (except for short periods of feudal submission), it was a city of the royal domain, entrusted with the administration of vast territories, and as such it enjoyed considerable economic and commercial prosperity. Talented men of culture were born in Noto, such as the humanist Giovanni Aurispa, the architect Matteo Carnelivari and the jurist Andrea Barbagio. In the 16C and 17C the transformation of the medieval town began, but was suddenly interrupted by the 1693 earthquake. Following the disastrous event, Giuseppe Lanza, Duke of Camastra and royal official in charge of the reconstruction work, decided to built the new town on a different site. Renowned architects and engineers participated in the construction of the new town, including Rosario Gagliardi, Paolo Labisi, Vincenzo Sinatra, Antonio Mazza and a skilful group of master stonecutters who, in the course of the 18C, created an extraordinary urban and monumental site of outstanding artistic value.

The church of the San Francesco, the work of the architect Rosario Gagliardi, and the side of the Santissimo Salvatore convent, with its pointed tower, creating a scenographic ensemble of great architectural value from the top of the monumental steps. The church of the San Francesco