A first glimpse of Noto and it is love at first sight! This hillside town in southern Sicily, one of UNESCO’s prestigious World Heritage Sites, is the undisputed capital of Sicilian baroque: Elaborate decorations, statues and grotesque figures adorn the majestic facades and swollen balconies of churches and aristocratic buildings. With all this art and history Noto truly deserves to be called a “garden of stone”. From Corso Vittorio Emanuele, via the Cathedral of San Nicolò, on top of a majestic staircase, to Palazzo Ducezio, Palazzo Landolina, the Church of San Domenico and Palazzo Nicolaci, her atmospheric streets and alleyways simply transpire beauty. On the third Sunday in May, the floral festival takes place in Via Nicolaci and the street itself becomes a carpet of flowers. But the wonders of Noto don’t end in the town. Nearby Noto Antica, the ancient town destroyed by the earthquake in 1693, and the monumental Maria Santissima della Scala sanctuary, just a few kilometres away, are certainly worth a visit. Just a little further away are the golden beaches of Marina di Noto and the little fishing village of Calabernardo. To the south are the unspoilt beaches in the Vendicari nature reserve and those in popular San Lorenzo, considered among the most beautiful in Sicily. The characteristic fishing villages of Portopalo and Marzamemi, the mosaics in the Roman Villa of Tellaro, the ancient Greek ruins of Eloro and the Cavagrande del Cassibile reserve with its deep canyon and natural bathing pools are just some of the splendours the area has to offer.