Church of Santa Chiara (Chiesa di Santa Chiara)
The baroque beauty of Noto draws visitors from across the globe, and its concentration of 18th-century masterpieces lining the elegant Corso Vittorio Emanuele will thrill any architecture enthusiast. Explore this splendid historic center on foot with a private or small-group guided tour to learn about the history and art behind its most important palaces and churches, including the Chiesa di Santa Chiara. Most walking tours also take in the town’s ornate cathedral and churches of San Domenico and Santissimo Salvatore, as well as Palazzo Ducezio in Piazza Municipio.
Things to know before you go
- Walking tours of Noto are largely outdoors under the strong Sicilian sun, so wear a hat and comfortable shoes.
- Modest attire covering your shoulders and knees is required to enter the churches in Noto’s historic center.
- The old town is a clutch of steep lanes with no sidewalk and pedestrian staircases, so may present a challenge for those using a wheelchair.
- Climb up to the rooftop terrace of the adjoining Santa Chiara convent to enjoy panoramic views of Noto.
How to get there
The Chiesa di Santa Chiara is located along the main Corso Vittorio Emanuele thoroughfare in the heart of Noto, about 40 minutes from Syracuse and a popular day trip. Though there is a bus service between the two cities, the best way to reach Noto is by joining a guided tour that includes transportation.
When to get there
Many of Noto’s most significant churches and palaces close briefly at midday, so time your tour for the morning or afternoon. The historic center is particularly photogenic in the final hours of the day when the soft light of dusk casts a golden hue over the baroque facades.
The History and Architecture of the Chiesa di Santa Chiara
Designed by architect Rosario Gagliardi around 1730, Santa Chiara was modeled after elliptical-shaped churches popular in Rome in the 16th and 17th centuries. The interior is considered one of the most beautiful in Sicily, with decorative stucco, gold gilding, a wooden choir with intricate inlays, 12 columns topped by statues of the apostles, and the main altar constructed with marble pilfered from nearby ancient sites. Also on display inside the church are important works of art, including a St. Benedict and St. Scholastica painted by Salvatore Lo Forte.
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- Nicolaci di Villadorata Palace (Palazzo Nicolaci di Villadorata)
- Basilica of San Salvatore (Basilica del SS. Salvatore)
- Church of San Domenico (Chiesa di San Domenico)
- Tellaro Roman Villa (Villa Romana del Tellaro)
- Tecnoparco Archimede Museum (Tecnoparco Museo di Archimede)
- Syracuse Cathedral (Duomo di Siracusa)
- Ortygia (Ortigia)
- Ear of Dionysius (Orecchio di Dionisio)
- Syracuse Greek Theater (Teatro Greco)