Visit Palazzo Ducezio
The Palazzo Ducezzio is an imposing palazzo in the heart of Noto in south-east Sicily, opposite the cathedral on the Piazza Municipio (halfway along the Corso Vittorio Emmanuelle). It is now used as Noto town hall.
Explore the Palazzo Ducezio
Italy This Way comment: every visitor to Noto will see the Palazzo Ducezio because it is from the front of the building that you get the best view of the cathedral - but turn around and you will notice that the palazzo itself is also an impressive building! The outside of the palazzo is at its most attractive at sunset.
I was told that the Palazzo Ducezio was inspired by some of the grand chateau built in France in the 17th century. I can't see the similarity myself but it is a majestic building: it was designed by a highly regarded architect called Vincenzo Sinatra, who desgned many of the most imposing buildings in south-east Sicily following the earthquake of 1693.
You should be aware that the ground floor of Palazzo Ducezio was built in the 18th century, but the upper level was not added until the 20th century. You would perhaps not notice, because the upper level is in the same style and materials as the lower level.
The ground floor has a series of arcades separated by corinthian columns, and the upper lavel has a series of renaissance style windows. Both levels also have stone balustrades, which helps reinforce the impression that they were built at the same time.
For a small entrance fee you can visit the two main attractions inside the Palazzo Ducezio:
1) The Sala degli Specchi - the hall of mirrors - is a room that is furnished in the Louis XV style and was originally designed to be a small theatre. As well as the mirrors, the paintings on the ceiling are also of interest.
Admission to the hall of mirrors only costs two euros but a visit only takes two minutes, some visitors think it is good value and others disagree, it perhaps depends if you like to see Louis XV decorations...
2) the terrace of the upper level, with views straight across to the cathedral
The Palazzo Ducezio is also used during the annual festival in Noto, with the arcades used as a stage and the steps that lead up to the cathedral used as by the spectators. This takes place in May and is a lovely time to visit the town.
You can find more local travel ideas in the Sicily guide.