Church of Santa Maria dell’Arco (Noto)

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The Church of Santa Maria dell’Arco di Noto is located at the intersection of Via Ducezio and Via Speciale Viceroy. It was the first mother church of the city, built after the destruction of the earthquake of 1693. Inside there are splendid stucco decorations and several works of art. The church is also one of the monuments included in the UNESCO itinerary: Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto.

Architecture and interior of the church of Santa Maria dell’Arco in Noto

The church of Santa Maria dell’Arco di Noto, designed by the architect Rosario Gagliardi, was built between 1725 and 1760. It was the mother church of the city until the completion of the Cathedral of San Nicolò. The main façade has a splendid Baroque portal with two twisted columns supporting a broken arch on either side. In the center there is a shield, the symbol of the Circestense Order, which had its convent just behind the church. At the top there is a window decorated with beautiful geometric and floral motifs, carved in bas-relief. On the sides, there are four large pillars whose Corinthian capitals support the sturdy pediment crowned by two bell towers.

The interior of the church

The interior of the church of Santa Maria dell’Arco di Noto has a single nave and is decorated with splendid stuccoes. The altarpieces and the paintings on the vault are the work of Costantino Carasi. On the wall of the apse there is the canvas of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem, painted in 1797 by Antonio Manno. On both sides of the painting there are two beautiful balconies. These were the choir of the church and from here the monks attended the services. Inside the church of Santa Maria dell’Arco there is also a reliquary containing the bones of Blessed Nicolò Morengia. In 1212 he founded the first Cistercian abbey in Noto Antica, which was destroyed by the earthquake of 1693.

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