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Oldest known

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Sunday, 19 September 2010 15:31

Oldest known

is the name of the ancient town of Noto destroyed by the earthquake of 1693. Before the earthquake had about 14,416 inhabitants and 3046 houses


Noto was founded at the time of the ancient king of the Sicilians Ducezio (around 428 BC) and became Capovalle during the Arab era. It was a very important city in Sicily and was with two other Confederate cities: Messina and Taormina. The city was also given the title of City ingenious by Ferdinand the Catholic in 1503. It is believed that Ducezio, constantly at war with the Greeks, may have led to the choice of site on the mountain's natural defenses by Alveria which is surrounded by high rocky ridges and deep valleys, then we enjoyed the view of the Ionian Sea and it was easy the descent to the beach (though longer than that on the new site). Was known as a perfect site for its impregnability, in fact it was never conquered by force. So Ducezio that Mineo had built in an elevated position, could not bear to leave his home in a humble and insecure (ancient Mount neas dell'Aguglia) and threw it on the mountain Alveria the foundations of the city of Noto, surrounding walls. Gymnasiums flourished in the ancient city of philosophers.

Church Staff

Noto had asked noblest, the most beautiful of which (says Rocco Pirri) was the mother church called the Church Major (right at the beginning of the collegiate 600) which was titled (like today) at St. Nicholas. The church is believed to be founded around the time of the expulsion of the Saracens by Count Roger the Norman.
The church kept the urn of San Corrado Confalonieri (now kept in the cathedral of the new city), Rocco Pirri tells of a plate (not known at present) in which there was written:

(LA) 'eft facrum Conradi, QuED confpicis effaque CODEM Hoc venerable viri contumultata site. Trecentum luftris cumulaverat fe jam annus Terdenns, Fuit bis bis quoque Janita feges "

(IT) 'This is you admire saccello Conrad are buried here as well and his venerable bones, three hundred fifteen years had passed and three decades of which were also added to twice the crops. "

Church of SS. Crucified

The second church that was present in ancient Noto was that of SS. Crucified once dedicated to St. Maria del Castello, precisely the location of resources. It was founded in the days of Jordan, at which time the castle had been built. The restoration of the church was financed by one of the noblest families of note: the Chair: to point out that their financial strain due to the restoration of the church had to paint the emblem on the ceiling of their church. In it was a painting of the crucifix (now remains only the face of Christ preserved in a glass case on a beautiful golden crucifix Rosario Gagliardi in the new church in Noto), which according to tradition, was painted by St. Luke and was led by Count Roger the Landolina to build a church. The aforesaid image of the crucifix, placed under the dome of the church (says the Pirri) was transferred March 27, 1514 in a special chapel on top of which is admired, as well as a pint, the superb mass of the bell tower on it hung with bold architectural resolution, another plaque, "Why remember the old giants of Asia? The provident Noto has a surprise that the Sicilians. "The church worshiped in more than (as is venerated in the new city), the golden shrine of the Holy Thorn.

Cistercian monastery of Santa Maria Arch

The Cistercian monastery of Santa Maria was founded in Arc 6 miles from the city, north from Isimbardi Monergia [citation needed]. In the monastery church to venerate the relics of Blessed Nicholas of Noto, in the same order, some of which were contained in silver reliquaries.


Of the buildings will have more news but synthetic or absent. Chair: The palace, one of the most important buildings in the country, was decorated in Baroque style, with two eagles in limestone that supported the central balcony to represent, probably, the strength of the family. Another building, but for which there is no news, is that of Impellizzeri. It also points out buildings for communal use as the senatorial palace, prison and fortress with the main tower, which was also the site of the light cavalry.


Old had known of the massive fortifications that surrounded the entire perimeter of the city and Mt. Of these, despite the devastation of the earthquake still stand several sections visible. The walls were broken by two main entrances, one to the north (the gate of the mountain) and one south. But there were also seven other minor inputs that bear on behalf of nine entries in total. Attached to the walls is the royal castle with the remains of towers and the old prison where you can see a lot of graffiti and carvings worked by convicts.

Remains of the Greek era.

Noto Antica, having lived in the Greek era, presents some structures still visible, such as the gymnasium and Heroon [2]. The hero, a monument dedicated to the worship of heroes, shows a variety of niches where they had placed the pinakes. In some cases you can see some writing Greek bas-reliefs and even a rare frescos. The school has been identified by the presence of some inscriptions still visible including one in honor of King Hiero of Syracuse.

After the earthquake

The new town was rebuilt in the valley, with the characteristics of the baroque city that made it famous throughout the world.

Currently in the archaeological site may see some Sicilian necropolis of the ninth and eighth century BC, the Cave of the Artichoke (Jewish catacomb), the Cave of a Hundred Mouths, old tanneries and mills in the valley of the carousel, the remains of the walls and the Royal Castle By its scale which affected the Latin motto "There Numquam captures" [3]. And in fact, never proved any more truthful motto since only the aforementioned earthquake of 1693, managed to destroy the impregnable town.

The site today

Currently the area is recognized as Noto Antica archaeological site, even if it is not valued enough to lack of adequate facilities, adequate signage and appropriate use. The whole site requires knowledge of excavations took place only in small part, while others are envisaged. Very few studies and publications related to this wealth of information covering a time span ranging from prehistoric times until 1693, year of the earthquake.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 March 2011 16:51
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