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The Baroque town of Modica near Ragusa in Sicily is UNESCO- listed 

Monday, 11 April 2022 08:00

Although Modica, a small late-Baroque paradise in the province of Ragusa, was reborn from the ashes of a devastating earthquake in 1693, it still has fascinating signs of its most ancient past. It was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2002 for its historic centre which is a treasure trove of Baroque architecture.

modica


The oldest part of Modica is on the ruins of an old castle

The city is situated on a large plateau that was once crisscrossed by two rivers. Between 1700 and 1800, Modica had 17 bridges making it look like another Venice. It also had many mills along the riverbanks, but these were gradually replaced by industrial mills as the waters were channelled to supply the city's water system. The oldest part of Modica is centred on the ruins of an ancient castle with a maze of alleyways leading to the city's highest point.

The Church of San Giorgio has a 19th-century organ

Modica is entirely built in the Baroque style; in fact, little of the previous architecture survives with the exception of the mediaeval old centre. The Mother Church of San Giorgio, which was built after the earthquake, is one of the most notable examples of this architectural style. The interior is divided into five naves and features twenty-two Corinthian columns, as well as priceless works of art and a large19th-century organ that is still in perfect working order. 

The Baroque style is omnipresent in Modica

Palazzo Polara, which is near the church of San Giorgio, is an example of  Modena’s civil architecture and there are interesting similarities between the facades of the two buildings, as  both the palace and the church are in Baroque style with elegant staircases.

Chocolate was introduced by the Spanish in the 16th century

The city is also known for its chocolate, which is made using a unique cold processing method which, according to some sources, was introduced during the Spanish dominance of Sicily in the 16th century. At that time the county of Modica was the most important feudal state in southern Italy and enjoyed  administrative autonomy.

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