Monday, 1 December 2008

Modica City Guide ...

If you long to sample the undiscovered Flavours of Italy then why not head to Sicily for a sizzling sunshine break in this enchanting mediterrean island! Our guide to Modica gives you a taste of the fascinating history of this island.
Known as the city of 100 bells and 100 churches, Modica is a wonderful destination that charms visitors and locals alike with its architecture, food, culture and sense of authenticity. Lying on a gorge formed by four hills in the south of the Iblei Mountains it is divided into Modica Alta (Upper Modica), whose warm amber colored buildings clamber up on the rocks, and Modica Bassa (Lower Modica), at the bottom of the valley.

The city is full of history. Its first name was Motyca and there is evidence that it was already inhabited during prehistoric times, then dominated by the Greeks, the Romans and Byzantium. It became an important agricultural and commercial centre during the Arab domination that lasted for two centuries (from 844-5 to 1091). During Norman rule it obtained the title of County of Modica and was then dominated by the French Anjous followed by the Aragon from Spain. At the end of the 13th century the Chiaramonte family begun to govern the county thus opening a century of economic prosperity and cultural revival. They were followed by the Cabrera and the Henriquez.

In 1693, the city was devastated by the earthquake which destroyed the whole area and then rebuilt in the same location in Baroque architecture. In fact, Baroque is the main style with the interesting church of St. Peter, the splendid church of St. George and the several Palazzi that can be found in Modica.

Important festivities are San Giorgio and San Pietro and the cheerful procession of Easter Sunday known as "A Maronna Vasa Vasa", when a special statue of the Lady moves the arms to bless Christ resurrected and the many Modicani crowding the streets of the city for the occasion.
The outskirts of Modica offer many opportunities to visit the traditional Masserie (Typical local Farms). Cava Ispica with the latomie and interesting and Marina di Modica where many Modicani have their second house to spend their summer near the beach.

The city is renowned for its rich culinary tradition offering an amazing variety of seasonal dishes that follow different traditions and are the amazing result of the local re-interpretation of the legacy of the various dominations, especially the Arab and Spanish ones. The perfect destination for any guest of Flavours! Sweet and savoury dishes, summer and winter food are on offer for a real taste of the county.

Things to do (and eat!) in Modica…
Indulge in Modica chocolate – Modica Chocolate is prepared following a traditional recipe, originally rooted in the Spanish Domination of the County. The chocolate, strictly produced following an old method, is a medieval food, showing how the Spanish culture held sway in this territory.

Sample Chilly pepper chocolate liquor – a unique speciality to the region.

Stroll around the warren of baroque and medieval streets at the base of the gorge that this city is built on to find unique family run shops and cafes. Most restaurants here are run from home style kitchens so you can be sure you are getting an authentic taste of the region.

Try caciocavallo, the local cheese. The taste ranges from creamy to peppery depending on the family that has produced it (always from ancient recipes) The cheese is served as an anti pasto.
Get Fit! Modica is built in a steep gorge, be sure to pack comfortable shoes as you will be continuously walking up and down steps to discover the cities hidden nooks and crannies. As locals often say “It’s a paradiso, except for all the steps.”

Our cooking holidays in Sicily run from May to October and are set in the beautiful Villa Sicily, a luxourios chic 19th century property. If you would like to find out more about our cooking holidays to Sicily please visit our website at or call our office on +44(0)131 625 7002. Prices start at £1699 for a 7 night break including all meals, flights and accomidation.

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