Modica on Sicily

Wednesday, 17 May 2023 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  4 minutes

© Giuseppe.assenza

© Giuseppe.assenza

Modica (Sicilian: Muòrica) is a city and comune of 54,456 inhabitants in the Province of Ragusa, Sicily, southern Italy. The city is situated in the Hyblaean Mountains. Modica has neolithic origins and it represents the historical capital of the area which today almost corresponds to the Province of Ragusa. Until the 19th century it was the capital of a County that exercised such a wide political, economical and cultural influence to be counted among the most powerful feuds of the Mezzogiorno. Rebuilt following the devastating earthquake of 1693, its architecture has been recognised as providing outstanding testimony to the exuberant genius and final flowering of Baroque art in Europe and, along with other towns in the Val di Noto, is part of UNESCO Heritage Sites in Italy.

Modica consists of two urban centres, “Modica Alta” (Upper Modica) and “Modica Bassa” (Lower Modica). The older upper part is perched on the rocky top of the southern Ibeli hill, the lower part is built on the lower slopes and valley below. The walk down from Modica Alta to Modica Bassa reveals vistas of the lower town and involves many steps; not many attempt the reverse journey on foot. During the last century the city has extended and developed new suburbs which include Sacro Cuore (or “Sorda”), Monserrato, Idria, these are often referred to as Modern Modica; both old and modern quarters of the city are today joined by one of Europe’s highest bridge, the Guerrieri bridge, 300 metres (980 ft) long. Despite being ravaged by earthquakes in 1613 and 1693, and floods in 1833 and 1902, Modica has retained some of the most beautiful architecture in Sicily. Much of the city was rebuilt after the 1693 earthquake with imposing and conspicuous urban monuments in the Sicilian Baroque style. San Giorgio is the cathedral, dedicated to St George. While the cathedral was rebuilt in a Baroque-style following the earthquake of 1693, like many other parts of the city its roots are in the Middle Ages. From the front of the Cathedral a staircase of 300 steps leads down towards Modica Bassa. San Pietro is another church, dedicated to St Peter, in Modica Bassa, featuring a principal façade crowned by a typical Sicilian Baroque belltower, 49 metres (161 ft) high.

© flickr.com - vasse nicolas, antoine/cc-by-2.0 © Giuseppe.assenza © Pasquale Relvini/cc-by-sa-4.0 Cathedral of St. George © Gmelfi © Davide Mauro/cc-by-sa-4.0 Façade of the Baroque church of San Pietro © Clemensfranz/cc-by-2.5
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Façade of the Baroque church of San Pietro © Clemensfranz/cc-by-2.5
The economy of the area once principally agricultural producing olives, carobs, legumes, cereals, and cattle; an extraordinary and unique product is the famous chocolate of Modica, produced with an ancient and original Aztec recipe. The city has now been joined by factories producing textiles, furniture and cars. Tourism is also an important industry to the area, since Modica became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002.

The eighteenth century saw Modica in the role of art and culture town, counting philosophers (Tommaso Campailla), poets (Girolama Grimaldi Lorefice), a school of medicine (Campailla, Gaspare Cannata, Michele Gallo, the Polara family) and literary academies among its inhabitants. In the nineteenth century, feudalism was abolished and Modica became a “bourgeois” town peopled by notables such as the writer and anthropologist Serafino Amabile Guastella, the agronomist Clemente Grimaldi, the musician Pietro Floridia and many painters, historians and other intellectuals. Modica was also the birthplace of writer Salvatore Quasimodo, recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1959.

Read more on Wikivoyage Modica and Wikipedia Modica (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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