Modica Tourist Attractions
TopographyModica, with its picturesque situation on the southern slopes of the Monti Iblei, 15km/9mi southeast of Ragusa, can be traced back to the Sikel settlement of Motyka. In the Middle Ages, under the rule of the noble families of Cabrera and Enriquez, both Spanish by origin, it was the capital of a county of the same name.In the earthquake of 1693 it suffered severe damage; admittedly some of the older buildings were spared and have indeed survived to the present time, but essentially the town had to be rebuilt. This explains the predominantly Baroque townscape, both in the lower town huddled down in the valley, and in the upper town situated on a spur of rock.From the Ponte Guerrieri, the bridge (155m/509ft high) spanning the River Irminio, there is an impressive view of the town.
Palazzo de Leva
Chiesa del Carmine
The Chiesa del Carmine in Modica dates from the 15th century Its facade displays a portal and rose window in the Gothic style (15th century); in the interior there is a marble Annunciation group by Antonello Gagini (1528-30).
Santa Maria di Betlem
The interesting feature of the Chiesa Santa Maria di Betlem is the Cappella del Sacramento (also called the Cappella Cabrera), with its late Gothic and Renaissance forms (about 1500); it is an interesting design: a rectangular room with four corner niches underneath an octagonal dome with a lantern.
The Chiesa di San Pietro (about 1720), with its flight of steps which exploits its sloping situation, is a sumptious Baroque building. The opulent double-storeyed façade displays jutting gables and rusticised pilasters. The interior is a vaulted columned basilica with three aisles.
The railway station, situated at the southern end of the lower town, boasts a marble plaque bearing verses by the Nobel prizewinner for literature of 1959, Salvatore Quasimodo, and is a reminder that this poet was born here on August 28th 1901, the son of the stationmaster.
Convento del Padri Mercedari
In the Via della Mercè in Modica, at the southern end, a former convent houses the library and the municipal museum, which has archeological finds, an ethnological collection and 18th and 19th century paintings.
Church of San Giorgio
The upper town of Modica is dominated by the Church of San Giorgio, which received its present form in 1720-38. It is approached by a flight of 250 steps. The façade with its five doorways is crowned by a high central tower, which emphasizes yet again the elevation of the building. The church is obviously related to the one in nearby Ragusa with the same name and both can be ascribed to Rosario Gagliardi.Gagliardi was able to use material from an earlier building on the site, in so far as it had survived the earthquake of 1693. This is demonstrated in the interior, a vaulted columned basilica with three aisles, especially the chancel with its altar retable (8x6m/26x20ft in size), which is made up of many sections and which was created for the earlier building by the painter Bernardino Niger in 1573, using high Renaissance forms. The pictures are arranged in three sections. The lower one shows the Holy Family between the Saints George and Martin, the middle one the Adoration of the Three Kings between the Offering in the temple and the 12-year-old Jesus in the temple; finally the upper section depicts the Resurrection between the motifs of Pentecost and the Ascension.
Scicli - Carmelite Priory
Also built for a religious order was the Carmelite church and the former priory, now a court building. The front of the church displays features similar to those of the Chiesa Madre, and its slender form with only one door is in line with that of a single-aisled church.
Marina di Modica
Marina di Modica (22km/14mi southeast of Modica) is a resort with a good sandy beach. The fishing village of Sampieri is 4km/2mi to the west.
Map of Modica Attractions