Top 5 of things to do in Modica
If you are traveling through the south east of Sicily, surely in your itinerary there is a stop in Modica. All the guides (and your friends who have been there before) tell you that it is wonderful, peaceful and lively at the same time, full of churches with a superb baroque. All true! But what are the really unmissable things to do in Modica? Between “great classics” and more “alternative” choices, here’s our top 5 of things to do in Modica!
1. Belvedere San Benedetto
The Belvedere San Benedetto is one of the most beautiful panoramic spots in the city; it stands on one of the four hills that surround Modica (Pizzo, Gaganta and Monserrato). The city spreads like a carpet under your eyes, with its roofs perched on top of each other, the bell towers of the many churches that stand out here and there, the elegance of the only wider and noble road, Corso Umberto I. Whether you come at sunrise, at sunset or in the middle of the day, this is the right place for photo-lovers. But it is just as exciting to just sit on one of the benches, admire the view and get lost in imagining how Modica used to be once, when instead of Corso Umberto it ran a river.
2. Give a chance to Modica Alta
As you know, Modica is divided into (at least) two areas: Modica bassa and Modica alta. The first is the richest of churches, tourist attractions, baroque buildings, restaurants, bars, night clubs, museums, and is developed around Corso Umberto I, the main street and “best place” of the city. It must certainly be visited and enjoyed in every corner! But do not underestimate Modica Alta: even this area of the city is beautiful and fascinating, more authentic and real, less crowded by tourists and more experienced by the locals. Lose yourself strolling through the streets, alleys and enchanting squares; you will come across beautiful churches and splendid buildings, such as that of Palazzo Napolino Tommasi Rosso with its carved portal, wrought iron balconies and stone masks.
3. Chocolate Bellyful
Antica Dolceria Bonajuto
We talk about “bellyful” for various reasons. First, there are so many varieties that you cannot resist the temptation to taste as much as possible: chili, cinnamon, vanilla, carob, pistachio, mint, ginger, nutmeg, coffee… and we could continue! Second, because it is much “lighter” than common chocolate: there are no additions of butter or milk or creams, but it is made only of cocoa and sugar, so we can afford a larger quantity before considering it a real binge! And it’s fine even for vegan and lactose intolerant. You will find it at every corner of the city, but our favorite, the top one for excellence, is that of the Antica Dolceria Bonajuto, which has made it famous in the world and will welcome you in an old-fashioned and authentic atmosphere, in a small alley of Modica Bassa: here you can taste all the varieties and tastes at will before choosing which buy.
You can also visit the interesting Chocolate Museum, housed inside the Palazzo della Cultura in Corso Umberto I 149: here you will discover the path of production of chocolate and spices from antiquity and you will discover that this delight you cannot only eat but also sculpt! If you are lucky enough to be in Modica at the right time, enjoy the sweetest festival ever: ChocoModica, this year will be held from 6th to 9th December.
4. Choose your Mother Church
Church of St. George
Oh yes, you got it right: Modica has two Mother Churches, two Cathedrals. It is weird, right? They are the Church of St. George and the Church of St. Peter. The controversy has ancient origins, already at the end of 1500 the two churches contended for the title of Mother Church, and not only: who was the Patron Saint of Modica? St. Peter or St. George? The faithful divided for centuries into devotees of the first “Sanpitrari” or of the second “Sangiorgiari”, so as to determine the division of the city into two distinct areas, Modica Alta with St. George and Modica Bassa with St. Peter.
Church of St. Peter
Even today, walking through the alleys of the center, there are tablets in stone with engraved “limit of the two matrices”, confirming the ancient contrast. Contrasting definitively resolved by the Sacred Congregation in 1884: simple, the two churches have equal dignity. With all due respect to the locals, the city today has two mothers’ churches and two patron saints! You have to visit both, discover the story of the famous controversy, then decide which one is your favorite!
5. Have fun all Night Long
Modica is lively and funny! Let yourself be involved in the local “movida”, here evenings are often mild even during the winter, it is pleasant to walk around the historic center and stop for a drink in the outdoor cafes. Start with a good aperitif or a cold beer while admiring the sunset: along the Corso Umberto, and in the neighboring streets that grow behind it, there is no shortage of cafés and places to start the evening. For dinner, treat yourself to a good pizza or a typical dinner in one of the trattorias in the center, where you can taste all the local specialties, from the starters with scacce, olives, arancini, typical cheeses, salami, eggs to the first courses with pasta or ravioli seasoned with pork sauce, not forgetting desserts like ricotta cannoli and Modica chocolate! Afterwards, you will need a nice walk, and above all a digestive or a serious drink: head for a walk along Corso Umberto and lose yourself in the narrow streets around Piazza Matteotti, here there are lots of clubs and the locals mingle with tourists and visitors for all night long, among drinks, concerts, live music and DJ sets you will certainly not get bored!
Where to stay
Casa Talía spreads out over a series of former domestic and agricultural buildings, some partly hewn into the rock. As in a Moroccan riad, a format that inspired the owners, consisting in several independent rooms, most of them facing the simple, very Sicilian garden. They have used traditional local materials during the renovation like lime plaster, reed ceiling slats and decorative cementine floor tiles. The result is so gorgeous because it combines the elegance and rustic vibes in one place. In various sizes and on various levels, the guest rooms of Casa Talía have all individual decoration and an impressive taste which goes from Sicilian to vintage, passing for contemporary. Some of the rooms of Casa Talía provide terraces with a view of secluded garden or across the valley to Modica’s Baroque St. Peter Cathedral.