Chiesa Rupestre di San Nicolò Inferiore


Carved into the rock and discovered by accident in 1987, this 12th-century church is Modica's oldest. It's worth a visit for its Byzantine frescoes, whose central figure depicts Cristo Pantocratore (Christ All Powerful), dressed in a red tunic and blue mantle, and holding open the Gospel with the words Ego Sum Lux Mundi (I am the light of the world).

That the residence to the left of the entrance resembles a church is no coincidence; this was once the Chiesetta di Santo Nicolella, built over the ruins of the cave church after the earthquake of 1693.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Modica attractions

1. Duomo di San Pietro

0.03 MILES

In Modica, the Duomo di San Pietro plays second fiddle only to the Cattedrale di San Giorgio. The original 14th-century church was damaged in the…

2. Museo Civico

0.05 MILES

The Museo Civico houses a modest collection of archaeological finds from Modica and Cava d'Ispica, dating back to the neolithic period. The most prized of…

3. Museo del Cioccolato di Modica

0.05 MILES

Sharing the same building as the Museo Civico, this humble museum sheds light on the town's unique chocolate, from its history to its production method…

4. Chiesa Santa Maria del Carmine


Also known as Santa Maria dell'Annunziata, this 15th-century church is a rare example of Gothic architecture in Modica, most of it destroyed in the…

5. Duomo di San Giorgio

0.27 MILES

The high point of a trip to Modica – quite literally as it's up in Modica Alta – is the Duomo di San Giorgio, one of Sicily's most extraordinary baroque…

6. Chiesa di San Giovanni Evangelista

0.55 MILES

Attributed to Rosario Gagliardi and marking the top of Modica Alta is this grand baroque church. Prefaced by a sweeping staircase, the church underwent…

7. Cava d'Ispica

4.21 MILES

The town of Ispica, about 12km southeast of Modica, is located at the head of the 13km-long gorge known as Cava d'Ispica. Long used as a neolithic burial…

8. Fintan Magee Mural

4.24 MILES

Titled 'The Farmer' and spanning the side of a seven-storey apartment building, this epic mural is the work of prolific Australian street artist Fintan…