10 Best Things to Do in Modica (Sicily-Italy)

If you are planning a trip to Sicily, you have to visit Modica. Modica is one of our favorite Sicilian towns because of its beautiful baroque architecture. In this article we have listed the 10 best things to do in Modica Sicily. If you are wondering what to do in Modica, you must know that one day will be enough to discover its beautiful historic center and many other things. The city is divided into Modica Alta and Modica Bassa and the buildings are in gray rock perched on a hill. Its UNESCO World Heritage treasures are scattered in different areas of the city, but what will most likely take your breath away are the unique panoramic views of this area, both day and night.

Things to Do in Modica (Sicily-Italy)
Image by Peter H from Pixabay

The two districts “Alto” and “Basso” are connected by a series of stairs that allow visitors to explore the heart of the city in a maze of characteristic streets and alleys, with suggestive paths and itineraries. Inhabited since Neolithic times, destroyed by the earthquake in 1639 and rebuilt, its historical center, rich in monuments, clearly shows the late Baroque influence. Devote yourself to reading the next paragraphs to find out what are the places to visit in Modica (Sicily – Italy).


10 Best Things to Do in Modica (Sicily-Italy)

  • The Chocolate Museum
  • The historical center and the alleys of Modica
  • Lazarus quarry
  • Cathedral of San Giorgio
  • Rock Church of San Nicolò Inferiore
  • The church of San Pietro
  • Birthplace of Salvatore Quasimodo
  • Palace of Culture and Civic Museum
  • Church of Santa Maria del Gesu
  • Castle of the Counts of Modica


1. The Chocolate Museum

10 Best Things to Do in Modica (Sicily-Italy)
Photo by siciligram, by Instagram

The chocolate museum was created with the aim of protecting knowledge linked to the centuries-old tradition of chocolate production in Modica. The managers of the museum have focused the heart of the structure on the fruition services, on the sensory laboratories, and on the historical gestures of manipulation, re-proposed in the section of the “dammusurociucculattaru”, which evokes the original posture of the Modica chocolatier. Furthermore, the rooms exhibit a series of tools, photographs, and historical testimony, which tell the city’s links with chocolate.


2. The historical center and the alleys of Modica

The historical center and the alleys of Modica
Photo from turigaltravels, by Instagram

Modica is a city with a very particular conformation, which must certainly be visited on foot. Its historic center, rebuilt following the devastating earthquake of 1693, is one of the most significant examples of late Baroque architecture. Developed along Corso Umberto I, the famous “good area” of the city, the historic center is full of ancient palaces and churches, which alternate bars, chocolate artisan shops, and shops, all embellished by a labyrinth of streets, alleys, stairs, ladders, courtyards, and arches, which unfold upwards, connecting the four hills from which Modica draws the etymology of its name. This place is one of the most beautiful places to see in Modica Sicily – Italia.


3. Cava Lazzaro

Cava Lazzaro
Davide Mauro, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The valley of Cava Lazzaro is one of the most interesting archaeological sites in Sicily and includes oven and antechamber caves, and temple caves for religious use, with hand-excavated pillars and columns. Of considerable value and historical value is the Orsi Tomb, reserved for an important character of the place, on which geometric symbols are sculpted. In addition, amygdala tools, pottery from the Castelluccian civilization, various artifacts from the pre-Sculean civilization, and a skull, assigned to the Neanderthal type and kept in Rome, were found.


4. Cathedral of San Giorgio

Cathedral of San Giorgio
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The Cathedral of San Giorgio is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The tower facade, which rises to a total height of 62 meters, was built starting in 1702 and completed in 1842. The dome s rises to 36 meters while a spectacular staircase of 164 steps leads to the five portals of the temple, which in turn are the prelude to the five internal naves of the church. The frontal perspective of the whole is enriched by a hanging garden on several levels, called Orto del Piombo, bordered by the monumental staircase.


5. Rock Church of San Nicolo Inferiore

Rock Church of San Nicolo Inferiore
Photo from zuduig, by Instagram

Artificial cave, located in the middle of the city, the rock church of San Nicolò Inferiore houses several cycles of frescoes among which, the main and most beautiful is the Christ Pantocrator placed in the center of the apse, where a blessing Christ is depicted enclosed in a almond seated on a throne between two pairs of angels. On the right side, however, we have a baptismal basin, carved into the rock, for baptism with the Eastern rite. Some more recent excavation works have brought to light a series of crypts and earthen tombs. This is one of the places to visit in Modica Sicili – Italia which is listed by us.


6. The church of San Pietro in Modica

The church of San Pietro in Modica
Photo from federicabonifacio_, by Instagram

The church of San Pietro was built around 1350 and was declared the official church of the Counts by the Royal Decree of Charles III of Bourbon in 1797. Declared a UNESCO heritage site, the structure is characterized by a staircase embellished by the statues of the twelve apostles, which leads to the facade divided into two orders, all surmounted by the sculpture of a triumphant Jesus Christ. The interior of the church, with three naves and fourteen columns, is decorated, starting from the floor with inlays of white marble, polychrome marble, and black pitch, and then ending in a vault containing frescoes depicting scenes from the Old and the New Testament, which date from about 1760.


7. Birthplace of Salvatore Quasimodo

10 Best Things to Do in Modica (Sicily-Italy)

Salvatore Quasimodo’s birthplace is literally the house where he was born, and where he lived for the first 5 days of his life. The structure contains a wrought iron bed, a kneeler, a bedside and other furniture and furnishings from the early twentieth century, an old typewriter, a writing desk, a collection of records, a bookcase with attached books, and other things, from one of his studies in Milan. Furthermore, visitors are made to listen to the recording on an old tape, where the Poet recites some of his poems, and always from his speakerphone, the speech entitled “The Politician and the Poet” by Quasimodo read in Stockholm on the occasion of the Nobel award.


8. Palace of Culture and Civic Museum

10 Best Things to Do in Modica (Sicily-Italy)

The Palace of Culture is a former Benedictine monastery, requisitioned by the royal government in 1860 and restructured for civil use. At the moment it houses in its rooms some municipal offices and the Civic Archaeological Museum, whose flagship piece is the Hercules statuette of Cafeo absolutely, enclosed in a case. Furthermore, a collection of paintings that belonged to Salvatore Quasimodo is on display in a hall. On the ground floor is the Workers’ Society of Mutual Aid, which was the subject of masonry restoration work that brought to light various artifacts belonging to the former Monastery, including a stone confessional, embedded in the masonry, complete with walls metal partitions, and grates.


9. Church of Santa Maria del Gesu

Things to Do in Modica (Sicily-Italy)

The church of Santa Maria del Gesù and the nearby convent have withstood the various earthquakes which have afflicted the city over the centuries, and preserve a splendid cloister with two orders in the late Gothic style, with many variously decorated columns and each one different from the other. The church is the result of the restoration of a Franciscan building, which dated back to 1343, by the will of Countess Giovanna Ximenes de Cabrera, in order to celebrate the wedding of her daughter with Fadrique Enrìquez, cousin of the King of Spain Ferdinand the Catholic.


10. Castle of the Counts of Modica

Things to Do in Modica (Sicily-Italy)
Photo from ericecolors, by Instagram

What is visible today of the Castle of the Counts of Modica is what remains of the ancient seat of political power. Built on top of an eagle’s beak cliff, the Castle was born as a rock fortification, almost impossible to attack, with two of the three sides made up of overhanging walls. The polygonal tower is still visible while, inside the courtyard, the civil and military prisons can be visited – a series of rooms carved into the rock – each reserved for a specific category of prisoners. Instead, only one example of a prison for dangerous brigands remains, consisting of a seven-meter pit, closed at the top by a grate.