The Church of San Domenico, known also as the Church of Santa Maria del Rosario, is a beautiful church in Modica, located near the Town Hall of the city, in Piazza Principe di Napoli. The church is one of the few buildings that remained intact after the earthquake of 1693, which caused over 60,000 deaths and destroyed almost completely nearby cities like Catania, Ragusa, Noto and Syracuse. SHORT HISTORY A first church, with the adjacent Dominican convent, was built on this place in 1461, the year in which the Dominicans settled in Modica. The original church was destroyed by the earthquake of 1613 and was rebuilt in 1678, to survive a few years later the great earthquake of 1693. During the Inquisition, the convent was used as a court in which were judged the ones accused of heresy. Beginning with 1869, the convent became the seat of the Town Hall of Modica. ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church has two orders. On the first order, we can find the portal surmounted by a large Dominican coat of arms, and two niches with as many statues. On the second order, there are also two niches housing two statues and Read more [...]
The most important tourist attractions in Modica are the beautiful Baroque Cathedral of Saint George (Duomo di San Giorgio), the Church of Saint Peter (Duomo di San Pietro), Church of Saint John the Evangelist (Chiesa di San Giovanni Evangelista), the Garibaldi Theater and the Castle of the Counts (Castello dei Conti) – the political and administrative seat of the County of Modica.
The best place to admire Modica from above is Pizzo Belvedere, a vantage point near the Church of Saint John the Evangelist. To get there, you have to climb a little, but your effort will be rewarded in full.
Teatro Garibaldi is a theater in Modica, located on Corso Umberto I, about 200 meters away from the Duomo di San Pietro. SHORT HISTORY The theater was born in the second decade of the 19th century, from the merging of a warehouse and a palace, receiving the name of Real Teatro Ferdinandeo. The building was enlarged between 1852 and 1857, reaching its current size. The facade of the building was built in Neoclassical style, with two orders, surmounted by a balustrade which presents, in the center, a bas-relief with musical instruments. Above the bas-relief, supported by two male figures, is a clock with an eagle on top, the symbol of the County of Modica. After the Unification of Italy, the theater was named after Giuseppe Garibaldi. In 1870, the building became municipal property. In 1943, the theater was adapted into a movie theater. At the end of the Second World War, the building was unsafe, the floors and decorations were deteriorated, and renovation works became necessary. When the works were completed, the theater had an enlarged stage, a greater number of seats in the stalls and a tribune, above which was the projection room. In 1984, the theater was Read more [...]
Castello dei Conti (Castle of the Counts) is a fortress in Modica, located on a rocky spur in the historical center of the city. For centuries, the castle was the seat of political and administrative power of the County of Modica. SHORT HISTORY The Castle of the Counts is mentioned for the first time in a papal bull dated August 21, 1255. Then, in 1272, the castle appears on the list of the Sicilian state castles (Statutum Castrorum Siciliae) made for Charles I of Anjou, King of Sicily between 1266 and 1285. In 1366, Count Matteo Chiaramonte received here the visit of King Frederick IV of Aragon and, in 1401, Count Bernardo Cabrera welcomed the King of Sicily, Martin I. Starting with 1361, the castle became the seat of the Grand Court of Justice. With the city becoming the Capital of the District of the Intendancy of Syracuse, the seat of all the offices remained in the castle until 1865. With the Unification of Italy in 1861, the religious orders were expelled from their convents and monasteries, and Castello dei Conti was definitively abandoned, transfering the Prison, the Court and the District Offices to the nearby convents that became Read more [...]
The Church of San Giovanni Evangelista is a church dedicated to Saint John the Evangelist, located in the upper part of Modica, at the top of the Pizzo Hill, in the highest point of the city. SHORT HISTORY A first church was built on this place prior to the 7th century, and dedicated to Saint Peter. Some historical sources claim that the church was the first religious building in Modica. The decision to expand the church appears in a papal bull of Pope Eugene III, from 1150. The church and the adjacent Benedictine convent are also mentioned in a document dated March 1217. In 1454, the convent was demolished, leaving room for a larger church. Around the same time, due to the fact that another church dedicated to Saint Peter was built in the lower part of Modica – the current Duomo di San Pietro, the church on the Pizzo Hill was dedicated to Saint John the Evangelist. After the earthquake of 1542, the church was rebuilt to its current size. Then, after the earthquake of 1693, which seriously damaged the building, the church was rebuilt again, in Baroque style. The works lasted from the first decades of the Read more [...]
The Church of San Pietro (Duomo di San Pietro) is a beautiful Baroque church in Modica, dedicated to Saint Peter. SHORT HISTORY 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 Read more [...]
The Cathedral of San Giorgio (Duomo di San Giorgio) is the cathedral of Modica, dedicated to Saint George. The church is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and is one of the most prominent examples of the Sicilian Baroque. SHORT HISTORY A first church in Modica dedicated to Saint George was probably built by Roger I of Sicily after the Norman conquest of Sicily, which took place in 1090. The first official document that certifies the presence of the church is a papal bull from 1150, issued by Pope Eugene III. However, the current church is the result of the reconstruction from the 17th century, which took place after the disastrous earthquakes that struck Modica in 1542, in 1613 and, probably the most destructive, in 1693. The structure was designed by the architect Marcello from Palermo, with the laying of the first stone in 1643. The master builder of the church was Carlo D’Amico, also a native of Palermo. The works for the reconstruction of the first order of the facade, which withstood the tremors of the 1693 earthquake, began in 1702 and were completed in 1738. In 1760, the architect Francesco Paolo Labisi from Noto designed the Read more [...]