The term Baroque originated from the Portuguese ‘’Barroco’’, which indicates a ‘’pearl of irregular shape’’.  The Baroque is a well-defined and easily recognizable artistic style linked to the Catholic Counter-Reformation of the ethical and aesthetic values. Baroque architecture is dramatic, richly adorned with sculptures and other decorations, characterized by light and shade effects created by masses and shadows. 

Sicilian Baroque developed between the 17th and 18th centuries. It was precisely after the ‘Noto Valley’s earthquake in 1693 that the reconstruction of eastern Sicily started, and so, boosted this artistic style, thanks to the huge amount of money invested by the Church and the nobles. In Sicily, the decorative and theatrical baroque’s exuberance, blended with the local traditions. 

Sicilian Baroque architecture, concave and convex facades of churches and palaces, fountains, balconies, provide a very unique and recognizable expression of late European Baroque. At least eight towns in south-eastern Sicily (among them Caltagirone, Modica, Noto, Scicli) we can see the living and astounding proof of this renewed and accurate architectural structure and design. Everything was rebuilt after 1693 kept within the late Baroque style and is the distinctive example of innovations in town planning and urban building. Monuments, building, sculptures, decorations have been recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.

Moreover, a world-famous TV series, ‘’Il commissario Montalbano’’, is contributing to advertise those beautiful places, rising the touristic interest. As Sicilians, we should be proud to have such a beautiful heritage and make an effort to uphold the honour of having it. 

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Gioele Parisi


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