Massed along the sides of the four hills that surround conveys the excitement of the first great city-
The Church of San Giorgio
The Cathedral of Modica Alta is a masterpiece of the Hyblean baroque. The scenic effect of the church is made more impressive by the long flight of steps and the central part of the façade, which rises up to the bell tower. Its imposing structure recalls the “Trinità dei Monti” in Rome. Built at the end of the 11th century, on the ruins of a previous church, it was destroyed by the earthquake of 1613. Building began again in 1643, but it was seriously damaged by the earthquake of 1693 and reconstructed later, in the present baroque style, in the 18th century. The interior, divided into five naves by columns with Corinthian capitals, is rich of stuccoes, statues and paintings of value. Over the second altar of the right aisle you can observe Filippo Palladino’s masterpiece: “La Vergine Assunta” (1610), in which he portrays himself in the last character on the right, as one of the twelve Apostles. In the chapel at the end of the left hand aisle there is the marble group of the “Madonna della Neve” (1511) by Mancino and Berrettaro, pupil of Gagini. In the apse can be admired the great Polyptych by Bernardo Niger (1573) which depicts the story of Christ, S. Giorgio and S. Martino. The nine panels and the central lunette at the top which represents the Saviour, are inserted in an inland frame in gilded wood. The main altar is covered in richly engraved silver panels, as is also the Arca Santa (on the last altar of the right aisle) made by Venetian silversmiths in the 14th century. On the floor of the transept is traced out a sundial (1895) by the mathematician Armando Perini. The ray of light which penetrates trough the gnomon at midday (on the top right side) marks the astronomic coordinates on the polychromatic mosaic flooring.
The Church of San Pietro
The Church dates back to the years 1350-
The Church of S. Maria di Betlem
It was built on the ruins of four churches (S. Maria of Berlon, S. Bartolomeo, S. Antonio, S. Mauro) in the 15th century. The interior, with a nave and two aisles, has a beautiful wooden panelled ceiling. The right aisle ends with the late 15th century chapel of the Sacramento, otherwise called the Cabrera Chapel. It survived the earthquake of the 1693 and provides magnificent evidence of what was once the original building, having a late Gothic portal with Arab, Norman and Catalan elements. Another remarkable thing to see in the middle of the left aisle is the fine Christmas Crib (1882) by the Capuchin friar Benedetto Papale. The small terracotta statues, made by the Vaccaro brothers from Caltagirone, wear the old costumes of the poor people and are set against a background which reproduces the valleys and the caves of Modica. Outside the church, on the left side, you can admire the “Lunetta di Berlon” (15th-
Castlello dei Conti
Its remnants consist of a 18th century tower and a more recent clock, both symbolically representing it. The Castle boasts an ancient and glorious history. The city, especially under the Norman, flourished to become the heart of a noted County governing a vast territory in the South-
Location: Corso F. Crispi
Opening hours: Monday closed; Tuesday – Sunday from 9:00 to 13:00 & from 15:30 to 20:00
Modica is the birthplace of the poet Salvatore Quasimodo who won Nobel Prize for Literature in 1959. The house-
Location: Via Posterla 84
Info: 0932 753864
Opening hours: Monday closed; Tuesday – Sunday from 10:00 to 13:00 & 16:00 to 19:00
Special Thank you for the text to the Modica Tourism Office
Modica: town of the 100 churches
Area: 290 km²
Population: 54 721
Population name: Modicani
Dialling code: 0932
Zip Code: 97015
Geographic Location: South-
Saint Patron: San Pietro, San Giorgio
FEAST AND EVENTS DAYS
The statue of Resurrected Christ goes around the town, while the Madonna, wearing morning, looks for her son in the streets of the different parts of the town. They meet in Piazza Principe di Napoli (the heart of the town) at midday: the bells ring a joyous peel, the doves fly out from under the Madonna’s mantle and a jubilant crowd applauds the embrace of the Mother and Her son.
San Giorgio Day is celebrated on April 23rd, but the traditional feast takes place on the following Sunday. The statue of the saint is carried through the alleys of Upper Modica and the feast culminates when the statue is brought back to his cathedral where the congregation let him turn around until the porters exhaust their strength The celebration culminates with a fantastic fireworks display.
During three days which precede the feast, stalls fill the streets in the centre of the town.
Modica chocolate festival takes place in the town centre of this beautiful town. During the five-
FLAVOURS AND AROMAS
Modican chocolate is still using traditional Aztec method handed down by the Spanish. Strictly controlled and made according to a centuries-
HOW TO REACH
By car: from Catania take the motorway A18 Catania-
By train: there direct trains to Catania and Syracuse from Bologna, Firenze, Genova, Roma, Torino, Venezia e Milano. From Catania and Syracuse there are regional train to Modica.
By bus: AST bus lines to Modica from all cities of Sicily
By plane: the nearest airport is “Fontanarossa” in Catania (120km)
Location: Corso Umberto I 149
Info: 0932 753324
Opening hours: Monday – Saturday from 9:00 to 13:00 & 15:30 to 19:00; Sunday from 10:00 to 13:00