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Noto Valley – Val di Noto

noto-valley-panorama

Baroque of Noto Valley

Following the earthquake of 1693, the major urban centers of Vallo were reduced to rubble. The subsequent reconstruction of the first decades of the eighteenth century sees the cities devastated by the earthquake adopt architectural and artistic solutions that characterize the entire Vallo. This veritable flowering of the Baroque taste was recognized in 2002 as a World Heritage Site by the supranational UNESCO organization on the basis of the following four reasons:

  • The cities assigned to the title of Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto (South-Eastern Sicily) constitute an exceptional testimony of the art and architecture of the late Baroque
  • The cities assigned to the title of Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto (South-Eastern Sicily) constitute an exceptional testimony of the art and architecture of the late Baroque
  • The quality of this heritage is also highlighted by the homogeneity, caused by the contemporary reconstruction of the cities
  • The quality of this heritage is also highlighted by the homogeneity, caused by the contemporary reconstruction of the cities

History of Noto Valley

From the ancient name

The etymological origin of the term Vallo has been widely discussed and there is no definitive hypothesis. Generally we tend to trace it back from an Arabic term, most of the time identified in the word wālī (وَالِ), that is “governor” or “viceroy”. However, the term defines the judges in charge of the provinces and not the latter, which are rather called waliyas. For the scholar and orientalist Michele Amari vallis it would be to be interpreted as a translation in Latin of the term ʾiqlīm (إقليم) (plural ʾaqālīm), with indistinct meaning in the first Norman diplomas such as “territory” and therefore extendable to any city, district or province; however, only one hypothesis remains. On the declension of the word, on the other hand, it is agreed for the use in the masculine distinguishing it from the lemma valley which in any case would have a very different origin, although there is no lack of wrong attributions of the term and it is therefore not rare to find it declined in the feminine, that is the Val di Noto.

From Syracuse to Noto

Vallo di Noto had to replace the previous Syracusan Province, from which the territory destined to constitute the core of the Val Demone was removed. The first reference to the Vallo occurs rather late compared to the previous Val Demone, almost a hundred years later, in 1172. In reality it was assumed that the tripartition should have existed before the Norman foundation of the Kingdom and rutherford that an Islamic iqlīm had existed since the early times of the Aghlabid occupation of Sicily, for this reason the institution under Roger II at the time of the foundation of the Kingdom as early as 1130 is plausible.

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