|There is something quite perfect about a light strung across the main street...|
For me discovering Modica was like that very first minute of discovering San Gimignano a lifetime ago.
That completely breath-taking, wonderous, can't-quite-believe-what-you're-seeing, God-is-this-even-real moment that on some level inexplicably changes your life.
Modica is in the Ragusa province of south eastern Sicily, flanked by the towns of Ragusa and Noto. All three towns were destroyed by the devastating earthquake of 1693, and as Sicily was ruled at the time by Spain, all three towns were rebuilt in the exuberant and flowering Baroque style that the Spanish were famous for.
Modica along with Noto and Ragusa are all UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
5 Things You MUST Do In Modica
1. Walk.Get up early, knock back an espresso, and hit the streets before the world wakes up.
|Early morning in Modica|
Wander aimlessly through the streets downtown, take in the architecture, photograph the gargoyles while no one is around to get in the way.
Breathe in the air and try to wrap your head around what you are seeing. This town absolutely must be walked to be truly experienced.
2. Experience Bonajuto
Antico Dolceria Bonajuto is the oldest chocolate factory in Sicily. Its has always been family run, their chocolate has always been handmade, in the kitchen at the back of the store.
|The factory of Bonajuto|
But this is not any ordinary chocolate. Bonajuto chocolate is made in the Aztec style. Cocoa, sugar and spices are the only ingredients. The cocoa still contains it's cocoa butter and is heated just enough to make it fluid. The sugar is added but not allowed to melt, giving the chocolate a gritty texture.
Originally the Bonajuto chocolate was an energy food, not a dessert or treat, It came in little blocks, and is still made and served in the same fashion today.
When you visit Antica Dolceria Bonajuto there are an array of flavors for you to sample, and once you've made your choices they will box them for you to take away or will ship them home for you.
3. Visit the Cathedral of San Giorgio
The walk up to the cathedral is just gorgeous. Art historian Andrew Graham Dixon has likened the cathedral to the Madonna standing watch over the town, sweeping open her cloak to encompass the people of Modica.
I had this description rolling around in my mind as I approached the cathedral, and the image seared into my brain. It was perfect.
Looking up at the cathedral will take your breath away. Turning around and looking down at the town of Modica will take your breath away. It is majestic.
4. Eat at Terrazze Campaille
This is easily one of the greatest dining experience of my life, anywhere in the world.
If you are anywhere near Modica, a meal at Terrazze Campaille is essential. To start with you will just die over the location. The restaurant in is an old palazzo, with multiple rooms and terraces to dine in and on. They can beautifully accommodate large parties, small parties, couples' romantic evenings, groups of friends, and can separate everyone into different areas, so that your experience remains unique.
We were seated on a terrace with a gorgeous view, surrounded by flowers and foliage in an environment that could not have been more romantic, and were completely unaware that there was a large party on the other side of the palazzo.
You can read my TripAdvisor review here
The food at Terrazze Campaille is spectacular. The service is wonderful. After dinner our waiter took us on a tour of the palazzo, told us the stories of the palazzo, told us about growing up in Modica, pointed out his home and his family's home across the hill. The entire experience was just magnificent.
But don't take my word for it - go there yourself!
5. Enjoy Modica by night.
Evenings in Modica are lovely. Everyone is out strolling and socializing. Saturday night in Modica is wonderful. The cafes and restaurants downtown are spilling onto the streets. Children and grandparents, teens and parents - the entire town is out having fun and you get absorbed into it. There is a very strong sense of community and you feel incredibly safe.
Modica is a super artsy little place. On the Saturday night that we were there street musicians were playing sensational jazz, art galleries were hosting events, an orchestra was playing at another event - it was just magic.
The palazzi and churches are all lit up at night. It is just beautiful.
Terazze Campaille is up these steps behind the church of San Pietro.
There are statues of saints lining the steps. St Peter's halo glowing in the evening light.
If you are planning a trip to Sicily, Modica is not far from Siracusa. Your closest airport is Catania, and you are in close driving distance to Noto, Ragusa and Marzamemi, 3 hours drive from Taormina. There are also plenty of beaches within a 20 minute (ish) drive, as well as ferries to Malta if you are in the mood for a day trip.