Nicolaci (Villadorata) Palace--page 1 (of two pages)


Although there are a number of palaces in Noto (see Landolina Palace), this palatial residence of Baron Giacomo Nicolaci is the largest. "The Baron and three other people lived in a building which consisted of 48 rooms, three cisterns and a number of outbuildings" (Tobriner 117). Although the date 1737 is inscribed above the door, the palace was finally the product of three different architects working at different times, with the earliest development being the facade seen here. According to Grady, the City Library is now housed in this palace, which is appropriate since Nicolaci had been an important member of Noto's aristocratic intellectuals; he collected not only optical equipment but possessed a huge library as well.

Views looking down (left) and up the street, Via Nicolaci (center)

The palace is flush with the street without setbacks.

The ceremonial entrance

Large enough for a carriage, this portal led to a hallway and stairs. The piano nobile, on the next floor, was the main public area of the palace.

Frieze with relief pattern of winged lions; elaborate Ionic capital


First floor windows

The interior of the first floor was apparently a basement with storage areas for food. On the exterior, beautifully framed windows punctuate the lower facade. These windows are similar to the so-called "kneeling window" invented by Michelangelo (See the Palazzo Medici-Ricardi in Florence and the Farnese Palace in Rome). Here the consoles supporting the sill are foliate as is much of the enframing molding of the window--with tiny grotesque heads on the molding flanking the top part of the window.


A relatively plain balcony.

See the next page for examples of the elaborately carved balconies.

Continue to page 2--balconies.

Works Consulted or Quoted:
The Baroque Art in Val di Noto [official guidebook] Palermo, n.d.
Grady, Ellen. Sicily [Blue Guide]. New York: Norton, 2006.
Tobriner, Stephen. The Genesis of Noto. London: Zwemmer, 1982.

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© 2012 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.