The city with two souls
Divided into Alta (upper) and Bassa (lower), Modica has two distinct souls. After an earthquake in 1693, the architectural landscape changed, with churches and palaces rebuilt in the Baroque style. Many stand in Modica Bassa along Corso Umberto, including the Church of San Pietro, with its staircase decorated by statues of the 12 apostles and noble palaces with stunning façades.
Modica Alta is the historical heart of the city, a labyrinth of twisted alleyways and stairways leading to the spectacular Cathedral of San Giorgio and, further up, to the 13th-century Castle of the Counts with its Clock Tower and the Pizzo viewpoint overlooking the city. The evening is the best time to explore as the city lights up. Don’t miss the Church of St John Evangelist.
On the way back to Modica Bassa, we recommend visiting the birthplace of Nobel Prize-winning poet Salvatore Quasimodo and the rock church of San Nicolò Inferiore, with 12th-century frescoes.
Be sure to try Modica chocolate, prepared according to the ancient Aztec method of cold processing, imported to Sicily by the Spanish. You can learn about this process at the Chocolate Museum and stop by one of the historic sweet shops for a taste.