Duomo di San Giorgio


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 churches. Considered Rosario Gagliardi's great masterpiece, it stands in isolated splendour at the top of a majestic 250-step, 19th-century staircase, its sumptuous three-tiered facade towering above the medieval alleyways of the historic centre.

The lavish interior, a sunlit kaleidoscope of silver, gold and egg-shell blue, encapsulates all the hallmarks of early-18th-century Sicilian baroque. One of the two chapels flanking the central apse houses the equestrian statue of San Giorgio, which is carried through the town during the saint's annual festival in April. The saint's earthly remains are stored in the so-called Santa Arca (Holy Ark), located in the right nave. Interestingly, the Duomo was also dedicated to Sant’Ippolito, whose death is depicted in Cicalesius's 17th-century canvas Martirio di Sant'Ippolito (Martyrdom of St Hippolytus). Also noteworthy is an early 16th-century marble statue of the Madonna della Neve (Our Lady of the Snows), attributed to Giuliano Mancino and Bartolomeo Berrettaro.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Modica attractions

1. Duomo di San Pietro

0.25 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…

3. Chiesa di San Giovanni Evangelista

0.29 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…

4. Museo Civico


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…

5. Museo del Cioccolato di Modica


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…

6. Chiesa Santa Maria del Carmine

0.46 MILES

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…

7. Millo Mural

4.04 MILES

Via Vittorio Alfieri is home to a giant street-art mural by Italian artist Francesco Camillo Giorgino (aka Millo). Using his trademark black-and-white…

8. Fintan Magee Mural

4.06 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…