Officially known as the Church of Santa Maria Assunta, the Chiesa Santa Chiara is one of several examples of Sicilian Baroque style architecture in the town of Noto on the Italian island of Sicily. Designed by architect Rosario Gagliardi around 1730, the church was modeled after elliptical shaped churches built by the Romans in the 16th and 17th centuries. The interior is considered one of the most beautiful in Sicily, with decorative stucco, gold gilding, a wooden choir with decorative inlays, 12 columns featuring the figures of the apostles and a main altar made of marble from ancient Noto. Also on display inside the church are important works of art such as a picture of St. Benedict and St. Scholastica painted by Salvatore Lo Forte and a sculpture of the Madonna and Child made of marble.
Visitors are well advised to climb up to the rooftop terrace of the adjoining convent to enjoy panoramic views of Noto.
The Chiesa Santa Chiara sits in the heart of Noto’s Old Town on the Corso Vittorio Emanuele. The only access to the church, however, is from Via Pier Capponi. Noto is about 40 minutes from the city of Siracusa by bus using one of two bus companies: AST, which leaves from Siracusa’s Riva della Posta, and Interbus, which leaves from Via Trieste. The main bus stop in Noto is near the Giardino Pubblico at the top of Viale Principe di Piemonte, about a 15-minute walk from the church.