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Syracuse and Surroundings

Villas in Sicily near Syracuse

SyracuseLike most of the towns and villages of South-eastern Sicily, after the earthquake of 1693 Syracuse was rebuilt according to the dictates of baroque style. The isle of Ortigia, the very original core of Syracuse, hosts most of the beauties of this magnificent city. The palaces on Via Roma and Via Maestranza (like Palazzo Impellizzeri, for example, whose façade shows a theory of human and animal faces in rococo style) are the result of the fantasy of architect Giovanni Vermexio, to whom most of the “happy mess” of Siracuse can be atttributed. Piazza Duomo is another striking example of baroque taste and refinement, with its imposing Duomo, whose interior incorporates a few Greek columns from an antique temple, and a few other buildings symbolizing Siracuse' power in XVII century: Palazzo Arcivescovile, with its refined terrace and hanging gardens, Palazzo del Senato, built in eclectic style, Palazzo Beneventano del Bosco, with its rococo-style monumental stairs and its luminous party hall), and S.Lucia alla Badia Church.

Palazzo Bellomo, site of the Regional Gallery, is also worth a visit for the multitude of masterpieces it displays, among which the famous Seppellimento di S.Lucia, painted by Caravaggio.

A few kilometres from Syracuse, Noto, declared by UNESCO “artistic heritage of all mankind” can be considered an immense theatre of rock where buildings play the role of sumptuous wings. Major axe of the historical centre, Corso Vittorio rolls like a red carpet exhibiting an amazing series of baroque architectural masterpieces arranged with marvelous symmetry: S . Francesco all'Immacolata Church, the Civic Museum , SS. Salvatore monastery , S. Chiara Church , Palazzo Vescovile, Palazzo Ducezio, the Duomo, Palazzo Landolina di S.Alfano, S. Carlo Church, S. Domenico Church, the Town Theatre and S. Michele Church . All of these witness how both aristocratic and ecclesiastic power found in baroque language a way to impose themselves. Everywhere is a profusion of carved mantles, exuberant balconies, small angels and wreaths.

Avola is also worth a visit . The hexagonal shape of its urban texture is quite unusual. Remarkable are its Chiesa Madre and S. Croce Church.

Palazzolo Acreide boasts other examples of the overwhelming baroque fantasy, for example Palazzo Zocco, Palazzo Judica Caruso, and Palazzo Pizzo .

Villas in Sicily near Syracuse

The Duomo in Ortygia

Palazzo Arcivescovile in Syracuse

Chiesa di S.Francesco all'Immacolata in Noto

The Facade of The Chiesa Madre in Noto

The Chiesa Madre in Avola

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