About seven kilometres from Scicli is Modica, one of the most picturesque cities in Sicily. Like Scicli, it also dates back to the Sicilian period. In the Middle Ages, and until the early nineteenth century, it was the capital of the homonymous County, one of the richest fiefdoms in Sicily. Despite the destruction of 1693, traces of its flourishing past from the Middle Ages and Renaissance are still visible. The fifteenth-century church of Santa Maria del Carmine and Casa De Leva, from the same period, are still visible. The most important monument of this period is La Cappella del Sacramento in Santa Maria di Betlem. In it the Chapel summarizes in a brilliant way all of the architectural forms used in Sicily from the Normans to the seventeenth century, while on a square plan stands an octagonal dome connected to Arabian plumes; the friezes that decorate it being Renaissance.
Most of the buildings and churches visible today, however, were built after the earthquake of 1693 and give the city its predominantly baroque appearance. Along the main street, Corso Umberto, you will encounter beautiful examples of civil construction of the Baroque age and the church of San Pietro, patron of the city. The scenographic effect of the church is accentuated by its location at the top of a staircase enriched by the statues of the Apostles.
Even more spectacular is the church of San Giorgio in Modica Alta. Its facade is among the most famous of those of the tower type and makes San Giorgio the emblem of Sicilian baroque. The main portal is accessed having climbed the two hundred and fifty steps of the high staircase bordered by flowers, jasmine and other ornamental plants. The setting is made more solemn by the height of the central part unique throughout Italy. The interior is decorated with stuccos and contains interesting works of art. Even Modica, like Scicli, is a UNESCO heritage site.
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