History in Sicily - The Baroque Experienceby Bike tour guru
The great thing about traveling in Europe, and Italy in particular, is the fact that the paths you take will always bring you close to key areas of historical importance.
One of our newest bike tours in Italy, is the Sicily bike tour, which achieves just this, taking our guests into the Valley of Noto and the Ragusano. Considered one of the most outstanding representations of the Sicilian Baroque - a dramatic style which flourished around Europe in the XII Century, this unique part of Sicily is also home to several sites marked as World Heritage by UNESCO.
The Sicilian Baroque period only lasted about fifty years, from about 1665 until 1730, perfectly reflecting the extravagant and wealthy way of life of the Spanish Aristocracy, who were ruling the island at the time. Guarino Guarini, the foremost proponent of the Italian Baroque Architecture, first introduced the style from continental Italy to Sicily around 1660. At first, the unconventional, curvy, flamboyant lines - definitions of the Baroque style, clashed against the rigorous and orderly neoclassicism, therefore being heavily criticized.
Once you reach the city of Noto, you will be surrounded by the quintessential representation of the stunning beauty and harmony of the Baroque. Noto is a sparkling gem located on a hill overlooking olive fields, shining in a sun-filled palette of orange and yellow, its view will take your breath away.
As a phoenix rising from its ashes, Noto was completely destroyed by the 1693 earthquake and rebuilt approximately 10 km from its original site, on three levels: the lower was occupied by the common people, the middle by the clergy and the highest was designated to the nobles.
The historic crossroads of Noto are the charming Corso Vittorio Emanuele, Via Cavour, and Via Nicolaci, where most of the religious buildings and aristocratic palaces can be found: the majestic Cathedral, Palazzo Ducezio, Porta Reale, Basilica del SS. Salvatore are among the numerous breathtaking sites. But Noto is not only a delight for your eyes: you will indulge yourself with a 'sweet break' with creamy cannoli siciliani, cassate and, to sooth your thirst, what's more ideal than a glass of fresh almond milk or a jasmine granita in one of the numerous authentic cafés?
We believe that the best way to experience and become a true protagonist of the Baroque period is by getting "lost" in the maze of stone paved alleys in the old town - andar per vicoli. Wherever the eye may fall, it will be a triumph of grinning grotesque masks, spiral columns, wrought iron balustrades, sinuous façades - exuberant elements of painting, sculpture and stucco blend together to create amazement and wonder!
This generous, evocative region is waiting for you, so join us on our bike tour, and you will experience a luxury vacation framed by natural beauty, arts, exquisite cuisine and the genuine sense of hospitality of the Sicilian people.