Modica, a Sicilian city best known for its chocolate and churches, has much more to it than just that. This city, bustling with history and rich in its culture, is a definite bucket list destination for all types of adventure-seeking tourists. Read on for a list of the best sights to see and things to do in and around this city, full of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
1. Chiesa di San Pietro
Since Modica is well known all over the world for its Baroque style churches, it’s a no brainer to pay them a visit, when you’re in the city. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Chiesa di San Pietro will leave you breathless. After the devastating earthquake of 1693, which left the entire region in shambles, the exterior of this church was restored to almost exactly the state in which it is in, today. This is evident when you see the sculptures leading up to, and on, the stairway. The interior, however, tells even more stories. Take a look at the flooring and paintings, and try to guess which century they’re from!
If you’re visiting in June, wait until the 29th, for the festival of St. Peter, which consists of a long procession, lit by countless torches through the historic center of the city and to the church. It’ll definitely be a sight to remember!
Chiesa di San Pietro
Address: Corso Umberto, 120, 97015, Modica, Italy
Website: Chiesa di San Pietro
2. Cathedral di San Giorgio
As if one grand Baroque church in Modica wasn’t enough, here’s another. Equally renowned and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Cathedral of St. George has a similar history to the Church of St. Peter. Built in the 16th century, this cathedral had to undergo many restorations following numerous earthquakes in 1542, 1612, and 1693, to reach the appearance it has today. But again, like the Church of St. Peter, just because the architecture is from one time period, it doesn’t mean everything else is. You can find paintings from multiple centuries here, as well as other artistic works, including a fully functioning organ and a working sundial.
If you’re visiting in April, be sure to check out the celebrations for St. George’s Day, on the weekend after April 23rd. The procession will take you from Modica Bassa up to Modica Alta, whilst also allowing you to experience the rich folklore and culture surrounding the city’s patron.
Cathedral di San Giorgio
Address: Corso S. Giorgio, 97015 Modica RG, Italy
Website: Cathedral di San Giorgio
3. Chiesa di San Giovanni Evangelista
Sitting high atop the upper part of the city, Modica Alta, you’ll notice a drastic difference between the first two churches and this one, as soon as you see it. Although this church is said to be the first one built in Modica, (1150 AD) its design is the most modern of the three churches mentioned. This is because after the earthquakes, instead of being rebuilt in the Baroque style, this church was restored in the Neoclassical Gothic style, in the early 20th century.
Contrasting further with the first two churches, whose interior art are more modern than their exteriors, this church contains a well-preserved group of statues from 500 AD. If it’s open, you can even slip onto the balcony, for a grand view of the entire city.
Chiesa di San Giovanni Evangelista
Address: Piazza S. Giovanni, 97015 Modica, Italy
Website: Chiesa di San Giovanni Evangelista
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4. Antica Dolceria Bonajuto
Tired of walking around and admiring the city’s architecture and want to just kick back and relax? Give your taste buds as well as your curiosity a treat, by visiting this traditional yet modern chocolate factory and meet the family who’ve been producing the sweet desserts for over two centuries.
When you visit this factory, you’ll get to see first hand how and why Modican chocolate is so well known, globally. Take a look at the production process of this uniquely textured and flavored chocolate, as well as the multiple desserts it is used in. Learn about how this technique was brought to Italy, and why it is now used only in this area. And best of all, get a chance to taste this wonderful treat, fresh out of the kitchen.
Antica Dolceria Bonajuto
Address: Corso Umberto I, 159, 97015 Modica, Italy
Website: Antica Dolceria Bonajuto
5. Archeologica Cava d'Ispica
A 13 km (8.1 mile) long valley, stretching between Modica and Ispica, this archeological site has excavations from numerous eras. Now a national park, the geological location of the valley proved to be a perfect method of defense for all the cultures who have resided in it, since many millennia. Take a look at the digs from the Bronze Age (between 1000 and 3000 years BC), as well as the Middle Ages (up to 15th century AD).
Explore the rich Byzantine and Christian cultures, as well as rocky clan settlements which have taken place in this area, over the ages. Also. experience the unique Sicilian wildlife found here, including many bird species and wildflowers. It’s easy to get lost in the variety of sites here and some are private property, open only to those with a tour guide, so find one here.
Archeologica Cava d'Ispica
Address: S.P., Via Crocevia Cava Ispica, 97015, Modica, Italy
Website: Archeologica Cava d'Ispica
6. Marina di Modica
After exploring the great culture and history of this Sicilian city, enjoy its modernity, by visiting this coastal town, which neighbors Modica. A short drive from the main urban center of Modica, this town and its beaches are the ideal spots for recreation and entertainment, especially in the vacation months of July and August.
Restaurants, bars, supermarkets, and other stores can be found along, or directly on, the seaside. There are many sports activities and live performances to enjoy in the piazza. Unlike Modica and most of Sicily, this town isn’t crowded with tourists, so you can rest assured you’re getting a true Sicilian experience!
Spiaggia di Marina di Modica
Address: Via del Laghetto, 97010 Marina di Modica, Italy
Website: Spiaggia di Marina di Modica
Much more still!
Even though this article listed more than enough activities for most people to enjoy, there’s much more to do if you haven’t had enough. Visit restaurants and bars, check out the shopping centers and enjoy some nightlife. If you go on even a few of the activities listed here, simply asking around can make you want to expand your itinerary and lengthen your stay for far more than you previously planned!
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