The Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto is comprised of components of eight towns located in south-eastern Sicily (Caltagirone, Militello Val di Catania, Catania, Modica, Noto, Palazzolo Acreide, Ragusa andScicli). These historic centres and urban environments reflect the great, post-seismic rebuilding achievement of the decades following the catastrophic earthquake of 1693, which ravaged towns across south-eastern Sicily. The rebuilding, restoration and reconstruction of these communities resulted in the creation of an exceptional group of towns, all reflecting the late Baroque architecture of the 17th century in all its forms and applications.
The eight components of the property differ in size and represent a range of responses to the rebuilding needs. They include the entire old town of Caltagirone, Noto and Ragusa; specific urban areas of Catania and Scicli; and isolated monuments in the historic town centres of Modica, Palazzolo Acreide and Militello Val di Catania. Catania was rebuilt on the site of the original town while others, such as Noto, were rebuilt on new sites. At Ragusa and Palazzolo Acreide, new urban centres were created next to the ancient ones. The centres of Scicli and Modica were moved and rebuilt in adjoining areas already partially urbanized, and Caltagirone was simply repaired.
The towns exhibit a plethora of late Baroque art and architecture of high quality and of a remarkable homogeneity as a result of the circumstances of time, place, and social context in which they were created. However, they also display distinctive innovations in the town planning and urban rebuilding. The property also represents a considerable collective undertaking in response to a catastrophic seismic event.