Noto is generally known as the prettiest of the Baroque towns in the area, and it is undeniably so, in a slightly ‘chocolate box’ kind of way. It’s richer and more touristy than its neighbours, but also much smaller and felt less ‘local’. The main sightseeing area is the long Corso Vittorio Emanuele with one beautiful building or church after another. It’s definitely worth straying from the beaten path and climbing the stairs up (towards Crocifisso). You’ll get some fantastic views of the rooftops and palaces below.
Noto is known to be quite ‘foodie’ and I was quite excited to explore the restaurant scene here.
We went in search for a recommended restaurant – which took us up steps and more steps (it is a common theme in the area) in the burning sun. And then we reached Crocifisso. Which was shut for lunch (don’t believe the websites). NOTE: It appears that Noto is a better place to visit for dinner, when the likes of Manna (brand new, modern – my ideal kind of place) and Dammuso are open. Food is meant to be exceptional here. Having said that, Dammuso is usually open for lunch, just not when we were there.
We did find a place for lunch (Marpessa), where the food and stunning presentation surprised us (the gazpacho was brilliant) and despite the heat we had a fantastic meal. Though it’s cooler inside, sitting in the shade on their charming little terrace outside is much nicer.
After lunch we were recommended ‘the best ice cream in the world’ at Caffe Sicilia (it was delicious, but DiVini in Ragusa was still better). Caffe Sicilia is a quirky, colourful and in many ways very traditional Italian Gelateria, worth grabbing an ice cream for on the go.
There are plenty of terraces for sundowners, but if you want something different the Anche Gli Angeli concept store also offers a cool bar under red brick arches. Not only can you have a drink here, but it’s great for a little browse too. This is not a party town, it’s more cute and sophisticated than buzzing.
On a different note, a short drive from Noto (25 minutes) you’ll find some beautiful beaches – and the Agua Beach Bar which is meant to be worth a visit.