Where in the world are we?
The big earthquake of 1693 gave the townsfolk the chance to rebuild and with most of that done in the early 1700’s, the old part of the Noto is a baroque masterpiece.
When we visited, the city was going through something of a renaissance, with hoardings and scaffolding (overlooked by steel cranes) around a lot of the important buildings – obviously getting a facelift for the enjoyment of visitors in 2002 (or maybe it was preparing for its successful nomination as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. . But there was enough of the town visible to appreciate its beauty and the scaffolding that hid the front of the cathedral was adorned with a huge photograph of the building.
You enter the old part of Noto through an archway and the centre of the old town is a restricted area favouring pedestrians so you can wander fairly freely.
The one building that you can’t take a photo of is the old monastery and I was chased off by the machine gun toting polizia on duty (the building is now the local correctional facility).
There are some 20 plus churches in the space of a few blocks from this place so there shouldn’t be a need for a facility of that nature anyway!
It’s worth just taking a walk around the old centre of Noto to admire the grand palaces and get a taste of the local culture. You might come across the local grocer, or even find my favourite building the local bike shop.
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Serra San Bruno is high up in the mountains of Southern Italy. You get there on a twisting road that snakes up through the highland forests.
Trees hang over the road to create a tunnel that filters the sun and cools the air. Snow signs warn that, in winter, this could be a more tortuous trail.
Halong Bay is a beautiful bay in Northern Vietnam about 100 kms from Ho Chi Min City. There are over 1,600 islands in the bay and almost as many cruise boats offering a wide variety of experiences.
As you cruise through the bay in one of the famous ‘junk boats,’ you’ll pass by countless towering limestone rock formations surrounding the luxury cruise ship. The bay was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 and is today one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Vietnam.