The current appearance of Modica is very much a result of the earthquake that destroyed much of the city in 1693. Although some older buildings are still intact, the city needed to be almost entirely rebuilt, which was done in the Baroque architectural style then in vogue. The town is divided into a lower (Modica Bassa) and an upper part (Modica Alta).
Top 10 tourist attractions Modica
10. Cathedral of San Giorgio
Modica’s most famous church is in the higher (Modica Alta) part of the city. The Cattedrale di San Giorgio took its current form between 1720 and 1738 and, like the San Giorgio Church in Ragusa, was designed by Rosario Gagliardi. This 62 meter tall, baroque style church is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
02. Church of San Giovanni Evangelista
The San Giovanni Evangelista Church is located at the highest point of the city.
03. Palazzo de Leva
The Palazzo de Leva is on Via Leva 14 and has a beautiful door (15th century) graced with plant motifs.
04. Church of Santa Maria di Betlem
Santa Maria di Betlem church is best known for the Cappella del Sacramento (also called Cappella Cabrera), a rectangular room with niches in the corners and an octagonal ceiling.
05. Railway station
Inside the train station is a marble plaque with poems by Salvatore Quasimodo, who won the Nobel prize for literature in 1959 and was the son of the then stationmaster. (The birth house of the poet, still containing the original furniture, can also be visited in Modica.)
06. Monastery of the Padri Mercedari
The Monastery of the Padri Mercedari houses both Modica’s library and the Municipal Museum, which houses archaeological finds, an ethnological collection and 18th- and 19th-century paintings.
07. Church of San Pietro
The Baroque San Pietro Church dates from 1720 and has a Baroque façade.
08. Chiesa del Carmine
The Chiesa del Carmine dates from the 15th century. It is characterised by a Gothic rose window and portal. Antonello Gagini created the marble “Annunciation” sculpture group.
09. Castle of the Counts of Modica
The Castello dei Conti di Modica is located on a hill. In 1725, a mechanical clock was constructed, which still functions perfectly and can also be visited.
10. Ponte Guerrieri
To get a good overview of Modica, you can start on the Ponte Guerrieri. From this 150-metre-high bridge over the Irminio River, one has a magnificent view of the entire city.
More Modica points of interest
Another excellent site for a panoramic view over both Modica Alta and Modica Bassa is from the Pizzo Belvedere. This terrace can be reached by climbing the steps flanking the Cathedral.
If you walk past the San Giovanni Evangelista church on the left, through a network of narrow alleys you will reach the Pizzo, a viewpoint in the middle of Modica.
The San Domenico Church, also known as the Chiesa del Rosario, dates back to 1678. The adjacent Domenican Monastery is even older (1461). Highlights: Magnificent wall hangings from the 15th century and a chapel, which used to be accessible only to the monks and is decorated with murals and plaster statues.
Corso Umberto is Modica’s main street. Here you will find, among others, the Palazzo Grimaldi with an art gallery.
The Museo del Cioccolato is dedicated to the city’s own, unique kind of chocolate, which is made cold. The result does not so much as melt in your mouth, but crumbles. Highlight of the exhibition is a 9 meter tall statue, made entirely of chocolate.