Palazzo Ducezio is a historic 18th century palace and the seat of Noto’s Town Hall. Its location in the building along Corso Vittorio Emanuele is not accidental. In fact, during the reconstruction of the city after the earthquake of 1693, it was chosen to have the seat of political power right in front of the seat of religious power, represented by the Cathedral of Noto. The Ducezio Palace is one of the monuments that are part of the UNESCO serial site Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto.
The history of Ducezio Palace
The construction of Palazzo Ducezio began in 1746, following the plan of the architect Vincenzo Sinatra. The first building had only one floor, completed in 1830. Between 1949 and 1951 the second floor was added by the architect Francesco La Grassa. At the beginning of the thirties, on the occasion of the official visit of Umberto and Maria José of Savoy, the so-called Hall of Mirrors of the Palace was restored by the painter Salvatore Gregorietti. Master Sebastiano Dugo was responsible for the Louis XV style furniture and decorations.
The origins of the palace’s name
The name of the palace of the town hall of Noto is linked to the figure of Ducezio, who lived in Sicily in the 5th century BC. He was the leader of the Siculi, an aboriginal population of Sicily who lived in the eastern part of the island. Ducezio led his people in a war against the Greek colonies of Sicily, and in 460 BC he was elected king of the Siculi. He won several important victories against both Akragas (Agrigento) and Syracuse, and also founded several cities. Legend has it that he was the founder of Neas, the ancient name of the city of Noto Antica.
Architecture of Ducezio Palace
The original design of the Ducezio Palace was inspired by some 17th century French palaces. The second floor has an elegant portico on three sides with arches supported by Ionic columns. The central part, at the entrance portal, is characterized by a pronounced convexity. At the entrance of the Ducezio Palace there is a marble bust of Sándor Petöfi, one of the leading Hungarian poets. In fact, there is a town twinning between Noto and Kiskőrös, where the poet was born. It was Giuseppe Cassone, an engineer from Syracuse, who settled in Noto in 1837 and published the first Italian translations of his works.
The Hall of Mirrors
The most beautiful room in Palazzo Ducezio is the Salone degli Specchi. It is an oval room decorated in the style of Louis XV with precious mirrors, stucco and gold. It was first used as a small theater, then as a council chamber and finally, during the Fascist period, it was transformed into a reception hall. In the vault of the hall there is a large fresco called The Foundation of Neas, painted in 1826 by the painter Antonino Mazza. The scene shows Ducezio, King of the Siculians, as a general showing him the place where the city of Neas (Noto Antica) would be built. In the side panels there are representative scenes of Noto’s past, quotations from the historian Diodorus Siculus and a telegram sent by Garibaldi to the inhabitants of Noto.
Ducezio Palace: opening hours and visits
It is possible to visit the Hall of Mirrors by purchasing a ticket. From May to September and on important holidays it is also possible to visit the balcony of the Ducezio Palace. In addition, the city of Noto has created a cumulative ticket that includes admission to the Teatro Comunale “Tina di Lorenzo”. Visits are possible every day from 10:00 to 13:30, from 14:30 to 19:00 and from 21:15 to 23:30.
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