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Honeymoon Sicily | Noto

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Noto's cathedral rises impressively above Corso Vittorio Emmanuelle and is approached by a wide and graceful flight of steps. The dome collapsed in 1996 but is now back in place and the whole edifice has been restored to an almost Disneyesque perfection after years of grime and neglect. Noto a Unesco World Heritage Site offers other fine Baroque buildings which have been similarly scrubbed and returned to their natural beauty although plenty of buildings are still gently crumbling and still a marvel look at

Simply wander the length of the Corso, as long and graceful as an arrow, diving down side streets here and there making sure not to miss Via Nicolaci, at the top of which is the beautiful elliptical façade of the Chiesa di Montevirgine. Along one side of Via Nicolaci stands the Palazzo Villadorata who’s many playfully buttressed balconies including horses, griffons, nymphs, cherubs, fierce bald men – jut from the severely classical villa facade. The palazzo's poignant Empire-style interior with frescoed walls and ceilings has been miraculously preserved and unmarked by time

At the bottom of the street stands the church of San Carlo whose bell tower offers fine views. Opposite the cathedral the Municipio (town hall) has an exuberant trompe l'oeil ceiling in its "Hall of Mirrors"

Join the Corso via the shady public gardens and the monumental Porta Reale were halfway along its length the spacious, verdant Piazza XVI Maggio and the grandiose Chiesa di San Domenica sits before you Burnished a dusty gold in the fading light and flanked by huge palm trees this introduction to Noto is more North African than Mediterranean and yet somehow so Sicilian– enigmatic and unruly

During your walk pause for “Gelato” famous Sicilian ice cream which cannot be missed . Two cafés on the Corso, Sicilia and Costanzo, vie for superiority. At Caffè Sicilia opened in 1892 with fourth-generation owner Corrado Assenza who is the king of Sicilian confectionery creating radical cakes such as saffron with sour orange rind or ices flavoured with black olive or basil will amaze you. Café Costanzo has an amazing cappuccino “Ghiacciato” – iced coffee with almond milk granita

The interior of south-east Sicily is one of rough mountains and deep ravines but it is the Baroque towns – eight in all – that sprang up after the devastating earthquake of 1693 which capture the attention. Ragusa, Modica, Scicli and Ipsica all catch the eye but the finest of them is Noto whose rebuilding to the south of the original town (now known as Noto Antica) was a triumph of urban planning and architectural harmony, orchestrated by Giuseppe Lanza, Duke of Camastra, who employed the best architects of the day. The result, initiated just a week after the earthquake struck, is a late Baroque fantasy played out in fragile, honey-coloured stone