The present town, rebuilt after the earthquake of 1693, has some fine buildings of the early 18th century. The older town lies 5 miles direct to the north (1378 feet). It was the ancient Netum, a city of Sicel origin, left to Hiero II by the Romans by the treaty of 263 BC and mentioned by Cicero as a foederala citilas (Verr. v. 51, 133), and by Pliny as Latinae conditionis (Hist. Nat. iii. 8. 14).
The remains of this city are almost entirely hidden beneath the ruins of the medieval town, except three chambers cut in the rock, one of which is shown, by an inscription in the library at Noto, to have belonged to the gymnasium, while the other two were heroa, or shrines of heroes. But explorations have brought to light four cemeteries of the third Sicel period, and one of the Greek period, of the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC. There are also catacombs of the Christian period and some Byzantine tombs.
Four miles to the south of Noto, on the left bank of the Tellaro (Helorus) (E Pais, Atakia, Pisa, 1891, p. 75 seq.) stands a stone column about 35 feet in height, which is believed to be a memorial of the surrender of Nicias. This is uncertain; but, in any case, in the 3rd century BC a tomb was excavated in the rectangular area which surrounds it, destroying apparently a pre-existing tomb. The later burial belongs to the necropolis of the small town of Heloron, 750 yards to the southeast, some remains of which have been discovered. It was a small advanced post of Syracuse, belonging probably to the 6th century BC.
This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.