Its baroque appearance, the elegance of its buildings and streets, its location close to a rock have meant that in 2002 Modica was included among the UNESCO World Heritage towns.
At the end of the thirteenth century Modica had a very important role, it was a County that grew in economic and political importance for over three centuries. In 1693 a devastating earthquake marked its decline, losing the political importance it had enjoyed in previous years.
Today it is one of the favorite tourist destinations in the Val di Noto, just 20 km from Ragusa, another UNESCO heritage city, and a few km from the crystal clear waters and golden beaches of Marina di Modica. A mix of culture, architecture and gastronomy that attract tourists from all over. And gastronomy is its strong point: the famous Modica chocolate.
The ancient county of Modica was ruled for some time by the Spaniards who imported chocolate into the city, discovered by the conquistadors, from Latin America. Even today, the processing of chocolate is the original and ancient one, handcrafted and at low temperatures. The cocoa mass is kept intact, without altering the amount of cocoa butter and the only addition is that of sugar, processed at temperatures that do not allow the crystals of the latter to break, thus giving the compactness that distinguishes it.
Today the traditional recipe is combined with different spices or aromas such as cinnamon, chilli or pistachio generating different flavors that are widely appreciated by tourists and not only.
Do you want to know how Modican chocolate is made? In the city an event is organized in honor of this delicacy: the Chocomodica! It takes place in the winter season, usually on the Immaculate Conception. Visiting the city in those days you can enjoy the chocolate in the various stands that warm the atmosphere with the sweet and fragrant smell of cocoa and you will be able to witness the true and original processing of this product.
What to see in Modica
Its characteristic lies in the many houses leaning against each other that are one with the rock, real caves inhabited since prehistoric times and now incorporated into more recent structures. Like most of the cities in this area, the City of Chocolate is in Baroque style, with the exception of the oldest center which has medieval features.
Overlooking the center are the ruins of an ancient castle, the “Castello dei Conti”, with its clock tower, which has become a symbol of the city, from which many narrow streets, narrow streets and characteristic houses branch off. The historic center of Modica starts from Corso Umberto I full of ancient palaces and churches alternating with bars, clubs and restaurants. It is precisely the many churches that have made it to be given the name of “City of a hundred churches”. The most impressive and important is the Cathedral of San Giorgio, with a staircase of about 250 steps, divided into five naves decorated with precious works of art such as paintings, stuccoes and silver pieces.
Another mother church is the Church of San Pietro, at the end of Corso Umberto I, inside which you can visit the splendid statues of the apostles.
The Church of the Carmine, whose structure dates back to 1500, maintains the Gothic portal intact and the interior, with a single nave, has some precious paintings and a splendid wooden altar carved with magnificent stuccoes.
The Church of Santa Maria di Betlemme is a National Monument which is part of the cultural heritage to be safeguarded; this is one of the old collegiate churches of the city and dates back to the 14th century.
But not only churches, among the streets of Modica you can also admire the majestic palaces such as Palazzo Grimaldi, in neo-Renaissance style or the former Benedictine monastery, today Palazzo Cultura, which houses the Civic Archaeological Museum and a collection of paintings that belonged to the poet Salvatore Quasimodo. And if you are a lover of literature and this author, you can pay a visit to his birthplace; this still presents the original arrangement of the furniture left by the writer.
In the City of Chocolate, do not miss the museum dedicated to it, the Chocolate Museum, where you can admire the delicious sculptures made entirely of chocolate that give off their sweet scent.
When you visit a city, you must always look around, to grasp its most hidden peculiarities that make it always unique and different from another. Furthermore, let’s not forget that the city was chosen together with the city of Scicli as the location for the plots of the well-known investigations of Commissario Montalbano, and you will therefore be able to recognize those places that you have seen so much in the homonymous fiction or
Where to eat in Modica
The cuisine of Modica, like much of Sicilian cuisine is of peasant origin, is rich and recalls ancient flavors always linked to the history and tradition of the different cultures that have followed one another. As typical dishes it presents: lolli with broad beans, pasta with macco, cavatelli and ravioli, pasta with broth and meatballs, all to be tasted. The restaurants offer meat or fish dishes respecting the tastes of the customers. In Corso Umberto I we find “The Tavern of Lost Flavors Modica”, a real old tavern that offers dishes from the land of Modica cuisine. In the historic center the “Trattoria A Putia ru Vinu” which offers typical dishes in a rustic and familiar environment. With a more classic and minimal style is “la Contea Modica” restaurant / pizzeria at moderate prices. Or you can opt for the Pizzeria “Al Monaco” or the restaurant “Da Fabio”.
It is a city that offers many possibilities and culinary varieties to spoil the palates of its visitors and cheer up tourist trips.
Where sleeping in Modica
Modica is a milestone in the Sicilian holiday. You cannot reach the Val di Noto and not stop at least one day in this beautiful historic center.
Cento Sicilie offers various villas and holiday homes throughout the Val di Noto. Contact us for more information on where to stay in Modica or discover our holiday homes in South Eastern Sicily.