Val di Noto was the name given to the South East corner of Sicily by the Arabs. It is an area of tremendous natural beauty. There are splendid prehistoric canyons, fresh water lakes and running water. There are long stretches of golden sandy beaches, quiet enclaves and crystal waters. The countryside blooms with vineyards, lemon orchards, almond trees and olive groves with a carpet of colourful wild flowers below and divided by characteristic dry stone walls.
There is a timeless, peaceful beauty here which is a rare and precious gem. In cultural terms, Val di Noto refers to eight towns in this area; Caltagirone, Militello Val di Catania, Catania, Modica, Noto, Palazzolo, Ragusa and Scicli. These towns were devastated by the tremendous earthquake of 1693 and were subsequently entirely rebuilt on or nearby their original site. These wonderful towns, offset by the beautiful surrounding countryside, have been recognised by UNESCO and added to its list of World Heritage sites. They represent a triumph of town planning, architectural consistency and artistic beauty.
This area of Sicily has drawn many settlers over the centuries, traces of whom can be still found to this day. Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Spanish, Arab and Norman civilisations all have left their mark in Val di Noto, adding to the intriguing and breath-taking beauty of this area.