Church of San Francesco (Noto)

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The Church of San Francesco of Noto is the first great surprise that greets the visitor who enters through the Royal Gate. Situated at the top of a majestic three-stage ramp, it is certainly one of the most picturesque religious buildings in the whole of Noto. Since 2002 it has been part of the World Heritage Site within the serial site Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto.

History and architecture of the Church of San Francesco in Noto

The church of San Francesco di Noto was built between 1704 and 1745, designed by the architects Vincenzo Sinatra and Rosario Gagliardi. The building stands at the top of a majestic staircase with three flights. The lower one was added in 1840, when the street level was lowered by about two meters. The marble statue of the Immaculate Conception, which can be seen to the right of the church, was added in 1787 to replace a limestone statue dating from 1704. The church has a beautiful main door surmounted by a niche and a pediment with a broken arch. On the sides there are two richly decorated columns and two other niches.

Interior and artwork

The interior of the church of St. Francis of Noto has a single nave and contains some very interesting works of art. The two side chapels, dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi and St. Anthony of Padua, are decorated with stuccoes by Giuseppe Gianforma, after a design by the architect Vincenzo Sinatra. Two very beautiful paintings can be admired here: The Ecstasy of St. Francis and St. Anthony’s Sermon to the Fish. Also worth seeing is the Massacre of the Innocents, painted in 1706 by the painter Antonino Vizzini. Inside the church there are also three 19th century funerary monuments. They are dedicated to Mariano Nicolaci, prince of Villadorata, Giuseppe Trigona, marquis of Cannizzaro, and his wife.

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