Modica: what to see, where to eat and what to do in the evening

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Joel Fulleda

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Modica is a town with an ancient history, nicknamed "the city of 100 churches" and, some of its most representative monuments, such as the Cathedral of San Pietro and the Church of San Giorgio, were proclaimed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. But Modica is not just history and culture. Its traditions, naturalistic beauties and gastronomic delicacies make it a destination that is worth visiting at any time of the year. Below, we propose an itinerary to follow for a visit of a couple of days, which is only a small selection, in a sea of ​​choices.


  1. 10 things to see in Modica in a weekend
  2. What to see in Modica in one day: recommended itinerary
  3. Where to eat in Modica: the best restaurants
  4. What to do in the evening: the nightlife areas and the best clubs in Modica
  5. Plan your stay in Modica: info and useful tips
  6. User questions and comments

10 things to see in Modica in a weekend

1 - The historic center and the alleys of Modica

Modica is a city with a very particular conformation, which must certainly be explored 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 rich in ancient palaces and churches, alternating with bars, chocolate artisans' shops and shops, all embellished by a labyrinth of streets, alleys, stairs, ladders, courtyards and arches, which unravel upwards, connecting the four hills from which Modica draws the etymology of its name

  • on foot, along Corso Umberto I. Get directions
  • always accessible
  • Free

2 - Cathedral of San Giorgio

The Cathedral of San Giorgio is inserted 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 rises to 36 meters while a scenographic staircase of 164 steps leads to the five portals of the temple, which in turn serve as a prelude to the five internal naves of the church The front perspective of the whole is enriched by a hanging garden on several levels, said Orto del Piombo, flanked by the monumental staircase

  • arriving at the Duomo can be the right opportunity to explore the alleys of the historic center. For the less daring, the classic course of Corso San Giorgio is recommended. Get directions
  • from 9:00 to 20:00 every day.
  • Free

3 - The church of San Pietro

The church of San Pietro was built around 1350, and was declared the official church of the Counts by Royal Decree of Charles III of Bourbon in 1797. Declared a Unesco heritage, the structure is characterized by a staircase embellished by 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, to then end in a vault, containing the frescoes, depicting scenes by the Old Man and the New Testament, which date from around 1760.

  • the church is located in the historic center, and can be reached by walking along Corso Umberto I
  • from 9:00 to 20:00 every day.
  • Free

4 - Palace of Culture and Civic Museum

The Culture Palace is a former Benedictine Monastery, requisitioned by the royal government in 1860 and renovated for civilian use. At the moment it houses some municipal offices and the Civic Archaeological Museum, whose main piece is the statuette of the Hercules of Cafeo absolutely, enclosed in a case. Furthermore, a collection of paintings that belonged to Salvatore Quasimodo is exhibited inside a hall. On the ground floor there is the Workers' Society of Mutual Aid, which has been the subject of masonry restoration works that have brought to light several finds belonging to the former Monastery, including a stone confessional, embedded in the masonry, complete with walls partitions and metal gratings.

  • the building overlooks Corso Umberto I and, reaching it on foot, is a good opportunity to admire the beauties of the surrounding area. Get directions
  • open every day 09.00-13.00 and 17.00-21.00
  • full € 2,00 reduced € 1,00

5 - Castle of the Counts of Modica

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

  • from the historic center it is possible to reach the castle in about 8 minutes on foot but, know that there is a steep climb to face. By car, however, the travel time drops to about 5 minutes, passing through Corso San Giorgio. Get directions
  • every day from 10:00 to 19:00, except Tuesdays, which are closed on a weekly basis.
  • Free.

6 - Church of Santa Maria del Gesù

The church of Santa Maria del Gesù and the nearby convent have withstood the various earthquakes that have afflicted the city over the centuries, and retains a splendid two-tiered cloister in late Gothic style, with many variously decorated columns and each different from the other. The church is the result of the restoration of a Franciscan building, which dates 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.

  • the historic center of Modica is about a kilometer from the church, which can be covered in 23 minutes on foot. If you do not have particular needs or problems, it is recommended to reach it on foot, since the route to be taken cuts the city in two parts, and it could be a good opportunity to visit it at its best. Get directions
  • from 10:00 to 18:00, closed on Sundays
  • Free admission to both the church and the monastery

7 - Salvatore Quasimodo's birthplace

Salvatore Quasimodo's birthplace is literally the house in which he saw the light, and lived for the first 5 days of his life. The structure contains: a wrought iron bed, a prie-dieu, a bedside and other furniture and furnishings from the early twentieth century, an old typewriter, a desk, a collection of records, a bookcase with attached books and other things, coming from one of his studies in Milan. Furthermore, to visitors, the recording is played present on an old tape, where the Poet who recites some of his poems, and always from his own voice, the speech entitled "The Politician and the Poet" by Quasimodo read in Stockholm on the occasion of the Nobel Prize.

  • located five minutes from the historic center, the museum can be reached on foot, crossing one of the alleys of Corso Umberto I. Get directions
  • from 10:00 to 13:00. In the afternoon the opening takes place by reservation only.
  • for information on the cost of the ticket, contact the association that manages the museum, using the contact details shown here.

8 - Rock Church of San Nicolò Inferiore

Artificial cave, located in the middle of the city, the rock church of San Nicolò Inferiore it 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 an 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 an oriental rite. Some more recent excavations have brought to light a series of crypts and earthly tombs.

  • the rock church can also be reached on foot, crossing one of the alleys of Corso Umberto I, on the side of the Palazzo della Cultura. Get directions
  • 10:00 - 13: 00 / 16:00 - 19:00.
  • € 2,00 - reduced € 1,50

9 - Cava Lazzaro

The Cava Lazzaro valley is one among the most interesting archaeological sites of Sicily, and includes: oven caves and anticella caves, Templar caves for religious use, with hand excavations of pillars and columns. Of considerable value and historical value is the Bears Tomb, reserved for an important local character, on which geometric symbols are carved. In addition, amygdala tools, pottery from the Castelluccian civilization, various artifacts from the presbytery civilization and a skull, assigned to the type of Neanderthal, and preserved in Rome were found.
The site is not very popular and therefore can be visited with some difficulty. The visit inside the quarry takes several hours, the terrain is rough and therefore requires appropriate clothing. The itinerary crosses some private land. It will therefore be necessary to ask the owners for permission to pass. The best time to visit is spring or autumn. In summer, the temperature is prohibitive. Those wishing to organize a visit with an expert guide in archeology can send an email to

  • it is 14 km from the center of Modica, 20 minutes by car. To reach it you need your own car as no public transport passes through that area. Get directions
  • always accessible
  • Free.

10 - The Chocolate Museum

The chocolate museum was created with the aim of protecting knowledge linked to centuries-old tradition of Modica chocolate production. The museum managers have focused the heart of the structure on the services of use, on the sensorial 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. In addition, the rooms display a series of tools, photographs and historical testimony, which tell of the city's ties with chocolate.
It starts with an interesting bibliographic exhibition that collects a vast amount of sheets and manuscripts, displayed on thirty panels, which describe, from the pre-Columbian era onwards, the history of chocolate and its evolution, from the bean to processing to the finished product . In two other rooms Twenty-two chocolate sculptures and the miniature of Italy in chocolate are exhibited: a large bas-relief of about nine meters, placed in the largest hall, entirely made of chocolate, with the regional capitals highlighted by sculptures. The gold medals and honors won by the Modica chocolate factories in international exhibitions are displayed in an illuminated display case.

  • on foot, as the structure overlooks Corso Umberto I, or by bus n ° 3 - Get directions
  • every day 10: 00-14: 00, 16: 00-20: 00. Closed on Monday
  • € 2,50

What to see in Modica in one day: recommended itinerary

The visit to Modica starts from the historic center and from Corso Umberto I, the road that cuts the city in two. Here, after having a good breakfast based on typical products at the Sicula coffee, visit the Cathedral of San Pietro with the statues of the apostles. Furthermore, on the street there are two small but interesting museums: the Palace of Culture Civic Museum, which exhibits a collection of Neolithic finds and the unmissable statuette of Hercules of Cafeo, and the Chocolate Museum of Modica, which tells the ancient bond that binds the city and chocolate. Stopping for lunch at the Accursio Restaurant is a good way to taste typical products, in an intimate and pleasant environment.

After lunch it is time to set out for the upper Modica. From the restaurant, head north along the "Sbalzo" district, where you can admire the characteristic houses carved directly into the rock. Continuing northwards you will arrive at Cathedral of St. George : Unesco heritage since 2015. After the visit, there is nothing left to do but continue climbing, until you reach the ruins of the Castle of the Counts, and then stop for dinner at the Umami restaurant: a characteristic little place carved into the rock.

One day itinerary at a glance

  1. Breakfast at Sicula Caffè, via Marchesa Tedeschi, 47
  2. Church of St. Peter - opening hours: every day from 9:00 to 20:00 - ticket price: free
  3. Chocolate Museum - opening hours: from Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 14:00 - ticket price: full € 2,50 reduced € xx, xx (in case of times or reductions too complex, insert the link of the official website)
  4. civic Museum - opening hours: from Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 13:00 and from 17:00 to 21:00 - ticket price: full € 2,00 reduced € 1,00
  5. Lunch at the Accursio Restaurant, Via Clemente Grimaldi, 41
  6. Cantilever neighborhood, houses carved into the rock and Salvatore Quasimodo's birthplace
  7. Cathedral of St. George - opening hours: every day from 9:00 to 20:00 - ticket price: free
  8. Ruins of the Castle - opening hours: from 10:00 to 19:00, closed on Tuesdays - ticket price: free
  9. Dinner at Umami Restaurant, Via Marchesa Tedeschi, 15

Where to eat in Modica: the best restaurants

  1. Osteria of Lost Flavors: restaurant with a home-made connotation, specializing in local cuisine
    Average price per person: € 18,00 to € 27,00
    Address and contacts: Corso Umberto I, 228 (Get directions) / tel: 0932 944247
  2. Umami restaurant: restaurant specializing in international cuisine, mainly based on fish. The location is carved into the rock
    Average price per person: € 30,00
    Address and contacts: via Marchesa Tedeschi, 15 (Get directions) / tel: 0932 734287
  3. Accursio restaurant: offers typical specialties in an intimate and pleasant environment
    Average price per person: € 25,00
    Address and contacts: Via Clemente Grimaldi, 41 (Get directions) / tel: 0932 941689
  4. Fire of the Moors restaurant: restaurant specializing in meat dishes cooked on the barbecue
    Average price per person: € 15,00 to € 40,00
    Address and contacts: Piazza Corrado Rizzone, 41 (Get directions) / tel: 3333333334

What to do in the evening: the nightlife areas and the best clubs in Modica

The nightlife of Modica takes place mainly on Corso Umberto I and Piazza Matteotti, where it is possible to find pubs, bars but also pastry shops, open until late.

The best pubs, clubs and discos

  • Ottonero pub: venue specializing in events, special drinks, disco music and aperitifs, open until late at night.
    Address: via Corso Umberto I, 25 (Get directions) / Facebook page
  • Shanty town: "classic" pub, with outdoor tables and a wide selection of craft beers
    Address: via Silvio Pellico, 1 (Get directions) / Facebook page
  • Bronze - Cocktails & drinks: specialized in aperitifs, cocktails, driks, beers and spirits
    Address: Piazza Giacomo Matteotti, 31 (Get directions) / Facebook page

Plan your stay in Modica: info and useful tips

  • the nearest airport is Catania-Fontanarossa, which is about 115 kilometers from Modica (about 1 hour and 32 minutes). The city is served by the AST (Azienda Siciliana Trasporti) which runs from the main Sicilian towns, including the airport: several buses depart from the side of the arrivals terminal, recognizable by the signs "Catania-Modica" or "Catania-Donnalucata" . The ticket costs € 9,00, and can be purchased both on the bus and in the authorized centers located inside the airport. Palermo is 391 km away (about 3 hours and 32 minutes by car), and is connected via the A19 motorway (towards Catania), and then from Catania via the A18 motorway (towards Gela).
  • Getting around: to better grasp the beauties of Modica you have to visit it on foot, especially the historic center. In the summer months the tourist train is available that connects the lower part of the city with the upper one. Finally, the Sicilian Transport Company offers urban connections between the various districts of Modica, and suburban ones with other large Sicilian cities such as Catania and Messina.
  • Where to park: outside the historic center, on via Vittorio Veneto, there are some free car parks from which you can then reach the historic center in 13 minutes on foot.
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 29,00 per room -
  • What to see in the surroundings: Modica is one of the stages of the Val di Noto itinerary. Among the closest Baroque pearls we recommend Ragusa and Ragusa Ibla (28 minutes by car), Scicli (18 minutes by car), Noto (47 minutes by car). Other places of interest are Marina di Ragusa, Sampieri, Pozzallo and Scoglitti, all located along the coast and linked to the events of the well-known "Inspector Montalbano", a literary character created by Andrea Camilleri.

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