Palaces and Roofs

9 Apr

There are palaces in Noto as there are all over Sicily. But only one in Noto can be seen inside and out and that is the Palacio Nicolaci de Villadorata. The Nicolaci family rose to power in the XVIII and IX centuries. They made their fortune on the tuna industry and as many still do, they bought their title and built a palace.

And that grand Palace is on a street that is one of the more beautiful in Sicily, Via Nicolaci.

Via Nicolaci is close to the heart of the people of Noto as this is the site of the “Infiorata” every May. The Infiorata (Flower Festival of Noto) is a floral carpet of complex design, different every year, that extends from one end of Via Nicolaci to the other, up the hill past the Palace door to the door of the Church of Montevergini.

Halfway up the hill is the Nicolacis’ Palace. The Palace is famous for the ornate decorations on the supports of the four balconies facing the street. These balconies show four different types of figures, cherubs, mermaids, horses and gargoyles. The detail in these console corbels previews the complex patterns used in the interior of the Baroque palace they decorate.

The interior of the Palace is a riot of razzle-dazzle typical of Baroque interiors. First are the ceramic floors. Every room has its own repeating pattern of different colors.

Add to this the complexity of designs, textures and colors in the ornate furniture and the clash of patterns can make you “winky” as my sister would say.

The craftsmanship of each element in the floors, the wall coverings and the furniture detail is impressive.

The ballroom is the centerpiece of the Palace. The trompe l’oeil paintings on the walls and ceiling trick the eye as intended.

Finally, there is an open balcony in the Palace. We step out into the sunshine and there is the true glory of Noto, its roofs. The symmetry and harmony of their interconnection is soothing after all of the complicated interior detail and color. And the open sky is calming


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