Church of San Francesco all'Immacolata

Rosario Gagliardi and Vincenzo Sinatra

San Francesco is one of many new churches built after the city of Noto was virtually destroyed by the earthquake of 1693. Like the other new churches and palaces in the somewhat relocated city, San Francesco is designed in the reigning taste of the age--the Baroque style, and contributes to the unusual harmony and beauty of this reconstructed town, one of several in the Val di Noto, a geographical area now designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Like this church, most of the Baroque buildings are constructed of a soft tufa stone native to the area, which in the sun is a beautiful golden color.

The church, with its imposing staircase, is situated next to the Monastery of Santissimo Salvatore.

A conservative facade

The facade is flat, without the curves often associated with Baroque architecture. There are no two-story pilasters and ornament is kept to a minimum.

Characteristic of Baroque architecture are the broken pediments and the aedicules with niches for sculpture.

One of the aediculas flanking main entrance

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.