The Church of San Pietro (Duomo di San Pietro) is a beautiful Baroque church in Modica, dedicated to Saint Peter.
A first church was built on this place between 1301 and 1350, but the exact date remains unknown. A document from 1396 signed by the bishop of Syracuse attests its existence.
The church was rebuilt starting with 1597 by the will of Pope Clement VIII, and two centuries later, in 1797, by the will of Charles III of Spain, King of Naples and Sicily. Around that time, despite the fact that the city already had a cathedral – the Duomo di San Giorgio, the Church of Saint Peter was declared also a cathedral, becoming the official church of the Counts of Modica.
Damaged by the passing of the centuries and the frequent earthquakes in the area, the church was rebuilt several times. However, some parts of it resisted over time, surviving even the earthquake of 1693. One example is the Chapel of Immaculate Conception, which was built in 1620.
ART AND ARCHITECTURE
A monumental staircase with the statues of the twelve apostles leads to the church. The facade is divided into two orders, and embellished by four statues, depicting Saint Cataldo, Saint Rosalia, Saint Peter and the Madonna. The second order is surmounted by the sculpture, in high relief, of a Jesus Christ in triumph.
The interior of the church, with three naves and fourteen columns with Corinthian capitals, has a beautiful floor with inlays of white, black and polychrome marble. The vault is decorated with frescoes depicting scenes from the Old and New Testament, painted between 1760 and 1780 by the local painter Gian Battista Ragazzi, helped by his son, Stefano.
Inside, we can find the Madonna of Trapani, sculpted around 1470 by Francesco Laurana, and a statuary group depicting Saint Peter and the paralytic, from 1893, by Benedetto Civiletti from Palermo.
The central chandelier placed over the main altar, a notable work of glassware from Murano, is now waiting to be replaced after being destroyed by falling to the ground in March 2011. The monumental organ, inaugurated in 1924, it is composed of 3200 reeds, 32 registers and two keyboards.
HOW TO GET THERE
Duomo di San Pietro is located about 1.2 kilometers away from the Modica train station. To find the church on foot, use the map below.