A town square is an open public space found in the heart of a traditional town used for community gatherings. Other names for town square are civic center, city square, urban square, market square, public square, piazza and town green. Most town squares are hardscapes suitable for open markets, political rallies, other events that require firm ground. Being centrally located, town squares are surrounded by small shops such as bakeries, meat markets, cheese stores, clothing stores. At their center is a fountain, monument, or statue. Many of those with fountains are called fountain square. In urban planning, a city square or urban square is a planned open area in a city. In Mainland China, People's Square is a common designation for the central town square of modern Chinese cities, established as part of urban modernization within the last few decades; these squares are the site of government buildings and other public buildings. The best-known and largest such square in China is Tienanmen Square.
The German word for square is Platz, which means "Place", is a common term for central squares in German-speaking countries. These have been focal points of public life in cities from the Middle Ages to today. Squares located opposite a Palace or Castle are named Schlossplatz. Prominent Plätze include the Alexanderplatz, Pariser Platz and Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, Heldenplatz in Vienna, the Königsplatz in Munich. A piazza is a city square in Italy, along the Dalmatian coast and in surrounding regions. San Marco in Venice may be the worlds best known; the term is equivalent to the Spanish plaza. In Ethiopia, it is used to refer to a part of a city; when the Earl of Bedford developed Covent Garden – the first private-venture public square built in London – his architect Inigo Jones surrounded it with arcades, in the Italian fashion. Talk about the piazza was connected in Londoners' minds not with the square as a whole, but with the arcades. A piazza is found at the meeting of two or more streets.
Most Italian cities have several piazzas with streets radiating from the center. Shops and other small businesses are found on piazzas. Many metro stations and bus stops are found on piazzas. In Britain, piazza now refers to a paved open pedestrian space, without grass or planting in front of a significant building or shops. King's Cross station in London is to have a piazza as part of its redevelopment; the piazza will replace the existing 1970s concourse and allow the original 1850s façade to be seen again. There is a good example of a piazza in Scotswood at Newcastle College. In the United States, in the early 19th century, a piazza by further extension became a fanciful name for a colonnaded porch. Piazza was used by some in the Boston area, to refer to a verandah or front porch of a house or apartment. A central square just off Gibraltar's Main Street, between the Parliament Building and the City Hall named John Mackintosh Square is colloquially referred to as The Piazza. A large open square common in villages and cities of Indonesia is known as alun-alun.
It is a Javanese term which in modern-day Indonesia refers to the two large open squares of kraton compounds. It is located adjacent a mosque or a palace, it is a place for court celebrations and general non-court entertainments. In traditional Persian architecture, town squares are known as meydan. A maydan is considered as one of the essential features in urban planning and they are adjacent to bazaars, large mosques and other public buildings. Naqsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan and Azadi Square in Tehran are examples of classic and modern squares. Squares are called "markt" because of the usage of the square as a market place; every town in Belgium and the southern part of the Netherlands has a "Grote Markt" or "Grand Place" in French. The "Grote Markt" is the place where the town hall is situated and therefore the centre of the town; the same naming can be found in surrounding regions as for example Cologne has several central squares named "-markt" or "Markt". In Russia, central square is a common term for an open area in the heart of the town.
In a number of cities this square does not have an individual name, i.e. named so: Tsentráĺnaya Plóshchad́, e.g. Central Square. Throughout Spain, Spanish America, the Spanish East Indies, the plaza mayor of each center of administration held three related institutions: the cathedral, the cabildo or administrative center, which might be incorporated in a wing of a governor's palace, the audiencia or law court; the plaza remains a center of community life, only equaled by the market-place. This open space at the center of the cities is from the Mediterranean where public spaces always had important role for public life; the origin of the word Plaza is, via Latin platea, from Greek πλατεῖα plateia, meaning "broad". The Plaza is the heir to the Roman "Forum", this is the heir of the Greek. Most viceregal cities in Spanish America and the Philippines were planned around a square "plaza de armas", where troops could be mustered, as the name implies, surrounded by the governor's palace and the main church.
In the United Kingdom, in London and Edinburgh, a "square" has a wider meaning. There are public squares of the type desc
The grid plan, grid street plan, or gridiron plan is a type of city plan in which streets run at right angles to each other, forming a grid. The infrastructure cost for regular grid patterns is higher than for patterns with discontinuous streets. Costs for streets depend on four variables: street width, street length, block width and pavement width. Two inherent characteristics of the grid plan, frequent intersections and orthogonal geometry, facilitate pedestrian movement; the geometry helps with orientation and wayfinding and its frequent intersections with the choice and directness of route to desired destinations. In ancient Rome, the grid plan method of land measurement was called centuriation; the grid plan originated in multiple cultures. By 2600 BC, Mohenjo-daro and Harappa, major cities of the Indus Valley Civilization, were built with blocks divided by a grid of straight streets, running north–south and east–west; each block was subdivided by small lanes. The cities and monasteries of Gandhara, dating from the 1st millennium BC to the 11th century AD had grid-based designs.
Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan since 1959, was founded on the grid-plan of the nearby ruined city of Sirkap. A workers' village at Giza, housed a rotating labor force and was laid out in blocks of long galleries separated by streets in a formal grid. Many pyramid-cult cities used a common orientation: a north–south axis from the royal palace and an east–west axis from the temple, meeting at a central plaza where King and God merged and crossed. Hammurabi king of the Babylonian Empire in the 17th century BC, ordered the rebuilding of Babylon: constructing and restoring temples, city walls, public buildings, irrigation canals; the streets of Babylon were wide and straight, intersected at right angles, were paved with bricks and bitumen. The tradition of grid plans is continuous in China from the 15th century BC onward in the traditional urban planning of various ancient Chinese states. Guidelines put into written form in the Kaogongji during the Spring and Autumn period stated: "a capital city should be square on plan.
Three gates on each side of the perimeter lead into the nine main streets that crisscross the city and define its grid-pattern. And for its layout the city should have the Royal Court situated in the south, the Marketplace in the north, the Imperial Ancestral Temple in the east and the Altar to the Gods of Land and Grain in the west." Teotihuacan, near modern-day Mexico City, is the largest ancient grid-plan site in the Americas. The city's grid covered 21 square kilometres; the most well-known grid system is that spread through the colonies of the Roman Empire. The archetypal Roman Grid was introduced to Italy first by the Greeks, with such information transferred by way of trade and conquest. Although the idea of the grid was present in Hellenic societal and city planning, it was not pervasive prior to the 5th century BC. However, it gained primacy through the work of Hippodamus of Miletus, who planned and replanned many Greek cities in accordance with this form; the concept of a grid as the ideal method of town planning had become accepted by the time of Alexander the Great.
His conquests were a step in the propagation of the grid plan throughout colonies, some as far-flung as Taxila in Pakistan, that would be mirrored by the expansion of the Roman Empire. The Greek grid had its streets aligned in relation to the cardinal points and looked to take advantage of visual cues based on the hilly landscape typical of Greece and Asia Minor; this was best exemplified in Priene, in present-day western Turkey, where the orthogonal city grid was based on the cardinal points, on sloping terrain that struck views out towards a river and the city of Miletus. The Etruscan people, whose territories in Italy encompassed what would become Rome, founded what is now the city of Marzabotto at the end of the 6th century BC, its layout was based on Greek Ionic ideas, it was here that the main east–west and north–south axes of a town could first be seen in Italy. According to Stanislawski, the Romans did use grids until the time of the late Republic or early Empire, when they introduced centuriation, a system which they spread around the Mediterranean and into northern Europe on.
The military expansion of this period facilitated the adoption of the grid form as standard: the Romans established castra first as military centres. The Roman grid was similar in form to the Greek version of a grid, but allowed for practical considerations. For example, Roman castra were sited on flat land close to or on important nodes like river crossings or intersections of trade routes; the dimensions of the castra were standard, with each of its four walls having a length of 660 metres. Familiarity was the aim of such standardisation: soldiers could be stationed anywhere around the Empire, orientation would be easy within established towns if they had a standard layout; each would have the aforementioned decumanus maximus and cardo maximus at its heart, their intersection would form the forum, around which would be sited important public buildings. Indeed, such was the degree of similarity between towns that Higgins states that soldiers "would be housed at the same address as they moved from castra to castra".
Pompeii has been cited by both Laurence as the best preserved example of the Roman grid. Outside of the castra, large tra
Spain the Kingdom of Spain, is a country located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula, its territory includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country. Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are part of Spanish territory; the country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar. With an area of 505,990 km2, Spain is the largest country in Southern Europe, the second largest country in Western Europe and the European Union, the fourth largest country in the European continent. By population, Spain is the fifth in the European Union. Spain's capital and largest city is Madrid. Modern humans first arrived in the Iberian Peninsula around 35,000 years ago. Iberian cultures along with ancient Phoenician, Greek and Carthaginian settlements developed on the peninsula until it came under Roman rule around 200 BCE, after which the region was named Hispania, based on the earlier Phoenician name Spn or Spania.
At the end of the Western Roman Empire the Germanic tribal confederations migrated from Central Europe, invaded the Iberian peninsula and established independent realms in its western provinces, including the Suebi and Vandals. The Visigoths would forcibly integrate all remaining independent territories in the peninsula, including Byzantine provinces, into the Kingdom of Toledo, which more or less unified politically and all the former Roman provinces or successor kingdoms of what was documented as Hispania. In the early eighth century the Visigothic Kingdom fell to the Moors of the Umayyad Islamic Caliphate, who arrived to rule most of the peninsula in the year 726, leaving only a handful of small Christian realms in the north and lasting up to seven centuries in the Kingdom of Granada; this led to many wars during a long reconquering period across the Iberian Peninsula, which led to the creation of the Kingdom of Leon, Kingdom of Castile, Kingdom of Aragon and Kingdom of Navarre as the main Christian kingdoms to face the invasion.
Following the Moorish conquest, Europeans began a gradual process of retaking the region known as the Reconquista, which by the late 15th century culminated in the emergence of Spain as a unified country under the Catholic Monarchs. Until Aragon had been an independent kingdom, which had expanded toward the eastern Mediterranean, incorporating Sicily and Naples, had competed with Genoa and Venice. In the early modern period, Spain became the world's first global empire and the most powerful country in the world, leaving a large cultural and linguistic legacy that includes more than 570 million Hispanophones, making Spanish the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese. During the Golden Age there were many advancements in the arts, with world-famous painters such as Diego Velázquez; the most famous Spanish literary work, Don Quixote, was published during the Golden Age. Spain hosts the world's third-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Spain is a secular parliamentary democracy and a parliamentary monarchy, with King Felipe VI as head of state.
It is a major developed country and a high income country, with the world's fourteenth largest economy by nominal GDP and sixteenth largest by purchasing power parity. It is a member of the United Nations, the European Union, the Eurozone, the Council of Europe, the Organization of Ibero-American States, the Union for the Mediterranean, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Schengen Area, the World Trade Organization and many other international organisations. While not an official member, Spain has a "Permanent Invitation" to the G20 summits, participating in every summit, which makes Spain a de facto member of the group; the origins of the Roman name Hispania, from which the modern name España was derived, are uncertain due to inadequate evidence, although it is documented that the Phoenicians and Carthaginians referred to the region as Spania, therefore the most accepted etymology is a Semitic-Phoenician one.
Down the centuries there have been a number of accounts and hypotheses: The Renaissance scholar Antonio de Nebrija proposed that the word Hispania evolved from the Iberian word Hispalis, meaning "city of the western world". Jesús Luis Cunchillos argues that the root of the term span is the Phoenician word spy, meaning "to forge metals". Therefore, i-spn-ya would mean "the land where metals are forged", it may be a derivation of the Phoenician I-Shpania, meaning "island of rabbits", "land of rabbits" or "edge", a reference to Spain's location at the end of the Mediterranean. The word in question means "Hyrax" due to Phoenicians confusing the two animals. Hispania may derive from the poetic use of the term Hesperia, reflecting the Greek perception of Italy as a "western land" or "land of the setting sun" (Hesperia
Sicilian Baroque is the distinctive form of Baroque architecture which evolved on the island of Sicily, off the southern coast of Italy, in the 17th and 18th centuries, when it was part of the Spanish Empire. The style is recognizable not only by its typical Baroque curves and flourishes, but by its grinning masks and putti and a particular flamboyance that has given Sicily a unique architectural identity; the Sicilian Baroque style came to fruition during a major surge of rebuilding following the massive earthquake in 1693. The Baroque style had been used on the island in a naïve and parochial manner, having evolved from hybrid native architecture rather than being derived from the great Baroque architects of Rome. After the earthquake, local architects, many of them trained in Rome, were given plentiful opportunities to recreate the more sophisticated Baroque architecture that had become popular in mainland Italy. Around 1730, Sicilian architects had developed a confidence in their use of the Baroque style.
Their particular interpretation led to further evolution to a personalised and localised art form on the island. From the 1780s onwards, the style was replaced by the newly fashionable neoclassicism; the decorative Sicilian Baroque period lasted fifty years, reflected the social order of the island at a time when, nominally ruled by Spain, it was in fact governed by a wealthy and extravagant aristocracy into whose hands ownership of the agricultural economy was concentrated. Its Baroque architecture gives the island an architectural character that has lasted into the 21st century. Baroque architecture is a European phenomenon originating in 17th-century Italy; the Baroque style in Sicily was confined to buildings erected by the church, palazzi, the private residences for the Sicilian aristocracy. The earliest examples of this style in Sicily lacked individuality and were heavy-handed pastiches of buildings seen by Sicilian visitors to Rome and Naples; however at this early stage, provincial architects had begun to incorporate certain vernacular features of Sicily's older architecture.
By the middle of the 18th century, when Sicily's Baroque architecture was noticeably different from that of the mainland, it included at least two or three of the following features, coupled with a unique freedom of design, more difficult to characterise in words. Grotesque masks and putti supporting balconies or decorating various bands of the entablature of a building. Balconies complemented by intricate wrought iron balustrades after 1633, by plainer balustrades before that date. External staircases. Most villas and palazzi were designed for formal entrance by a carriage through an archway in the street façade, leading to a courtyard within. An intricate double staircase would lead from the courtyard to the piano nobile; this would be the palazzo's principal entrance to the first-floor reception rooms. Owing to the topography of their elevated sites it was necessary to approach churches by many steps. Canted, concave, or convex façades. In a villa or palazzo, an external staircase would be fitted into the recess created by the curve.
The Sicilian belfry. Belfrys were not placed beside the church in a campanile tower as is common in Italy, but on the façade itself surmounting the central pediment, with one or more bells displayed beneath its own arch, such as at Catania's Collegiata. In a large church with many bells this resulted in an intricately sculpted and decorated arcade at the highest point of the principal façade; these belfries are among the most enduring and characteristic features of Sicilian Baroque architecture. Inlaid coloured marble set into both floor and walls in church interiors; this particular form of Intarsia developed in Sicily from the 17th century. Columns that are deployed singularly, supporting plain arches and thus displaying the influence of the earlier and much plainer Norman period. Columns are encountered, as elsewhere in Europe, in clustered groups acting as piers in examples of early Sicilian Baroque. Decorated rustication. Sebastiano Serlio had decorated the blocks of ashlar in his rustication.
Sometimes the rustication would be used for pillars rather than walls, a reversal of expectations and an architectural joke. The local volcanic lava stone, used in the construction of many Sicilian Baroque buildings, because this was the most available. Many sculptors and stone-cutters of the period lived at the foot of Mount Etna, making a diversity of objects, including balustrades, fountai
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental questions about existence, values, reason and language. Such questions are posed as problems to be studied or resolved; the term was coined by Pythagoras. Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, systematic presentation. Classic philosophical questions include: Is it possible to know anything and to prove it? What is most real? Philosophers pose more practical and concrete questions such as: Is there a best way to live? Is it better to be just or unjust? Do humans have free will? "philosophy" encompassed any body of knowledge. From the time of Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle to the 19th century, "natural philosophy" encompassed astronomy and physics. For example, Newton's 1687 Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy became classified as a book of physics. In the 19th century, the growth of modern research universities led academic philosophy and other disciplines to professionalize and specialize.
In the modern era, some investigations that were traditionally part of philosophy became separate academic disciplines, including psychology, sociology and economics. Other investigations related to art, politics, or other pursuits remained part of philosophy. For example, is beauty objective or subjective? Are there many scientific methods or just one? Is political utopia a hopeful dream or hopeless fantasy? Major sub-fields of academic philosophy include metaphysics, ethics, political philosophy and philosophy of science. Traditionally, the term "philosophy" referred to any body of knowledge. In this sense, philosophy is related to religion, natural science and politics. Newton's 1687 Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy is classified in the 2000s as a book of physics. In the first part of the first book of his Academics, Cicero introduced the division of philosophy into logic and ethics. Metaphysical philosophy was the study of existence, God, logic and other abstract objects; this division has changed.
Natural philosophy has split into the various natural sciences astronomy, chemistry and cosmology. Moral philosophy still includes value theory. Metaphysical philosophy has birthed formal sciences such as logic and philosophy of science, but still includes epistemology and others. Many philosophical debates that began in ancient times are still debated today. Colin McGinn and others claim. Chalmers and others, by contrast, see progress in philosophy similar to that in science, while Talbot Brewer argued that "progress" is the wrong standard by which to judge philosophical activity. In one general sense, philosophy is associated with wisdom, intellectual culture and a search for knowledge. In that sense, all cultures and literate societies ask philosophical questions such as "how are we to live" and "what is the nature of reality". A broad and impartial conception of philosophy finds a reasoned inquiry into such matters as reality and life in all world civilizations. Western philosophy is the philosophical tradition of the Western world and dates to Pre-Socratic thinkers who were active in Ancient Greece in the 6th century BCE such as Thales and Pythagoras who practiced a "love of wisdom" and were termed physiologoi.
Socrates was a influential philosopher, who insisted that he possessed no wisdom but was a pursuer of wisdom. Western philosophy can be divided into three eras: Ancient, Medieval philosophy, Modern philosophy; the Ancient era was dominated by Greek philosophical schools which arose out of the various pupils of Socrates, such as Plato, who founded the Platonic Academy and his student Aristotle, founding the Peripatetic school, who were both influential in Western tradition. Other traditions include Cynicism, Greek Skepticism and Epicureanism. Important topics covered by the Greeks included metaphysics, the nature of the well-lived life, the possibility of knowledge and the nature of reason. With the rise of the Roman empire, Greek philosophy was increasingly discussed in Latin by Romans such as Cicero and Seneca. Medieval philosophy is the period following the fall of the Western Roman Empire and was dominated by the ris
1693 Sicily earthquake
The 1693 Sicily earthquake struck parts of southern Italy near Sicily and Malta on January 11 at around 21:00 local time. This earthquake was preceded by a damaging foreshock on January 9; the main quake had an estimated magnitude of 7.4 on the moment magnitude scale, the most powerful in Italian recorded history, a maximum intensity of XI on the Mercalli intensity scale, destroying at least 70 towns and cities affecting an area of 5,600 square kilometres and causing the death of about 60,000 people. The earthquake was followed by tsunamis that devastated the coastal villages on the Ionian Sea and in the Straits of Messina. Two-thirds of the entire population of Catania were killed; the epicentre of the disaster was close to the coast offshore, although the exact position remains unknown. The extent and degree of destruction caused by the earthquake resulted in extensive rebuilding of the towns and cities of southeastern Sicily the Val di Noto, in a homogeneous late Baroque style, described as "the culmination and final flowering of Baroque art in Europe".
According to a contemporary account of the earthquake by Vincentius Bonajutus, published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, "It was in this country impossible to keep upon our legs, or in one place on the dancing Earth. Sicily lies on part of the complex convergent boundary where the African Plate is subducting beneath the Eurasian Plate; this subduction zone is responsible for the formation of the stratovolcano Mount Etna and considerable seismic activity. Most damaging earthquakes however, occur on the Siculo-Calabrian rift zone; this zone of extensional faulting runs for about 370 kilometres, forming three main segments through Calabria, along the east coast of Sicily and offshore, forming the southeastern margin of the Hyblaean Plateau. Faults in the Calabrian segment were responsible for the 1783 Calabrian earthquakes sequence. In the southern part of the eastern coast of Sicily, investigations have identified a series of active normal faults, dipping to the east. Most of these lie offshore and some control basins that contain large thicknesses of Quaternary sediments.
The two largest faults, known as the western and eastern master faults, border half-grabens with fills of up to 700 metres and 800 metres respectively. Onshore, two ages of faulting have been recognised, an earlier phase trending NW-SE and a phase trending SSW-NNE that offsets the first group, including the Avola fault and the Rosolini-Ispica fault system. A destructive earthquake occurred two days before the mainshock at 21:00 local time, centered in the Val di Noto, it had an estimated magnitude of 6.2 and a maximum perceived intensity of VIII–XI on the Mercalli intensity scale. Intensities of VIII or higher have been estimated for Augusta, Avola Vecchia, Melilli, Noto Antica, Francofonte, Scicli and Vizzini. Augusta lies well outside the main zone of severe shaking. From the shape and location of the area of maximum damage, this earthquake is thought to have been caused by movement on the Avola fault; the earthquake lasted according to contemporary accounts. The estimated magnitude of 7.4 is taken from the extent and degree of the recorded damage, with a large area that reached X or more on the Mercalli scale.
The maximum shaking reached XI in the towns of Buscemi, Melilli and Sortino. The source of the January 11 earthquake is debated; some catalogues give an onshore epicentre without any direct association with a known structure, while others propose that the source was offshore due to the associated tsunami, involving either rupture along a normal fault, part of the Siculo-Calabrian rift zone, or rupture along the subduction zone beneath the Ionian Sea. An analysis of the distribution of tsunami run-ups along the coast suggests that a submarine landslide triggered by the earthquake is the most source, in which case the tsunami provides no constraint on the epicenter. A landslide origin is supported by the observation of possible landslide bodies along the Hyblean-Malta escarpment. Historic documents in the Archivo General de Simancas mention dozens of aftershocks, some as late as August 1694, some as strong as the initial quake of January 11, 1693. Aftershocks continued until at least 1696, with their effects concentrated in towns along the coast, supporting an epicenter either near the coast or offshore.
The tsunami triggered by the earthquake affected most of the Ionian Sea coast of Sicily, about 230 kilometres in all. The first thing, noted at all localities affected was a withdrawal of the sea; the strongest effects were concentrated around Augusta, where the initial withdrawal left the harbour dry, followed by a wave of at least 2.4 metres height as much as 8 metres, that inundated part of the town. The maximum inundation of about 1.5 kilometres was recorded at Mascali. Tsunami deposits linked to the 1693 tsunami have been found both offshore. At Ognina, just south of Syracuse, at the head of a ria, a sequence containing several coarse clastic layers has been found, inconsistent with its lagoonal setting; the uppermost coarse layer, which has a erosive base, consists of coarse sand with up to granule size clasts. The layer has been dated as 17th to 18th century based on pottery shards and one well-preserved clay pipe, consistent with the 1693 tsunami. Offshore from Augusta, a sequence identified using chirp sonar data w
Noto is a city and comune in the Province of Syracuse, Italy. It is 32 kilometres southwest of the city of Syracuse at the foot of the Iblean Mountains, it lends its name to the surrounding area Val di Noto. In 2002 Noto and its church were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site; the old town, Noto Antica, lies 8 kilometres directly north on Mount Alveria. A city of Sicel origin, it was known as Netum in ancient times. In 263 BCE the city was granted to Hiero II by the Romans. According to legend, Daedalus stayed in the city after his flight over the Ionian Sea, as did Hercules after his seventh task. During the Roman era, it opposed the magistrate Verres. In 866 it was conquered by the Arabs, who elevated the city to become a capital of one of the three districts of the island. In 1091, it became the last Islamic stronghold in Sicily to fall to the Christians, it became a rich Norman city. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the city was home to several notable intellectual figures, including Giovanni Aurispa, jurists Andrea Barbazio and Antonio Corsetto, as well as architect Matteo Carnelivari and composer Mario Capuana.
In 1503 king Ferdinand III granted it the title of civitas ingeniosa. In the following centuries, the city expanded, growing beyond its medieval limits, new buildings and convents were built. These, were all destroyed by the 1693 Sicilian earthquake; the current town, rebuilt after the earthquake on the left bank of River Asinaro, was planned on a grid system by Giovanni Battista Landolina. The new city occupied a position nearer to the Ionian Sea; the hiring of architects like Rosario Gagliardi, Francesco Sortino and others to rebuild the city helped make the new Noto a masterpiece of Sicilian Baroque, dubbed the "Stone Garden" by Cesare Brandi and is listed among UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. Many of the newer structures are built of a soft tufa stone, which assume a honey tonality under sunlight. Parts of the cathedral collapsed in 1996, a great loss to Sicilian Baroque architecture; the city, which had lost its provincial capital status in 1817, rebelled against the House of Bourbon on 16 May 1860, leaving its gates open to Giuseppe Garibaldi and his expedition.
Five months on 21 October, a plebiscite sealed the annexation of Noto to Piedmont. In 1844, Noto was named a Diocese, but in 1866 suffered the abolition of the religious guilds, linked to the city's structures and buildings. Noto was freed from the fascist dictatorship of Benito Mussolini in July 1943; the Notinesi people voted in favour of the monarchy in the referendum of 1946. Noto is famous for its fine buildings of the early 18th century, many of which are considered to be among the finest examples of Sicilian baroque style, it is a place of several palaces. Palazzo Ducezio, the current town hall. Designed by Vincenzo Sinatra, it houses neo-classical style frescos by Antonio Mazza. Palazzo Astuto. Palazzo di Villadorata on via Nicolaci, built by P. Labisi in 1733. Palazzo di Lorenzo del Castelluccio Noto Cathedral. Church of Santa Caterina. Church of San Corrado. Church of the Collegio di San Carlo. Church of the Sacro Nome di Gesu. Monastery of Santa Chiara, designed by Gagliardi, it has an oval plant, the interior divided by twelve columns housing a Madonna with Child from the 16th century.
Church of San Michele Arcangelo. Church of Santa Maria della Scala. Church of Santissimo Salvatore. Town Library. Church of San Nicola di Mira. Church of Santa Chiara, with a precious Madonna. Church of San Francesco d'Assisi. Church of the Spirito Santo. Church of Ecce Homo. Church of Santa Maria dell'Arco. Church of the Anime Sante del Purgatorio. Church of Santa Maria della Rotonda. Church of the Santissima Trinità. Church of San Carlo al Corso. Church of Santa Maria del Carmelo. Church of San Pietro Martire. Church of San Michele Arcangelo. Church of San Domenico. Church of Sant'Antonio Abate. Church of Santa Caterina. Church of the Crociferio di San Camillo. Church of Montevergine. Church of Santissimo Salvatore. Church of San Andrea Apostolo. Church of San Pietro delle Rose. Church of the SS. Crocifisso. Church of Sant'Egidio Vescovo. Church of Santa Maria del Gesù. Church of Annunziata. Church of Santa Agata; the remains of Noto's ancient structures are entirely hidden beneath the ruins of the mediaeval town, except for three chambers cut into the rock.
One is noted by an inscription in the library at Noto to have belonged to a gymnasium, while the other two were heroa. Explorations have discovered four cemeteries dating to the third Sicel period and one from the Greek period. Among other finds are catacombs of the Christian period and several Byzantine tombs. About 6 kilometres south of Noto, on the left bank of the Tellaro river, stands a stone column about 10 metres high, believed to be a memorial to the surrender of Nicias. In the 3rd century BC, a tomb was excavated in the rectangular area which surrounds it, destroying an pre-existing tomb. Remnants of a burial site belonging to the necropolis of the small town of Helorus, 750 metres to the southeast, have been discovered; the Villa Romana del Tellaro is a Roman villa located south of Noto. In the Noto neighbourhood, a 32-m radiotelescope was installed by the Istituto di Radioastronomia di Bologna as part of the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, it works in collaboration with a similar instrument in Bologna.
The city has held an annual