Sicily’s Modican Chocolate

You may be aware that chocolate, or at least cocoa, came from the Aztecs, a great civilization that for centuries before the end of 15th century, dominated what is modern-day Mexico. When the Spanish colonized Latin America, they brought the cocoa bean and an ancient form of chocolate (called Xocoatl, a drink) back to Europe….

Galloping through Modica

The Sangiuggiari, or devotees of Saint George in Modica, will process the statue of San Giorgio slaying a dragon through the town’s streets on Sunday, May 24. Confetti and fireworks annually mark the start of a winding parade during which faithful men carry the heavy statue on their shoulders–sometimes galloping to simulate the horse on…

Away in a Manger

Throughout Sicily, building and viewing presepe, or the nativity scene, is a Christmas tradition. From table top diorama-sized statues, like this one pictured from Chiesa di San Bartolomeo in Scicli, to performances featuring actors and live animals that can be found in towns like Sutera, Gangi, and Termini Imerese, to name just a few, displaying…

Cave In

On the way between Scicli and Modica you’ll find deep valleys flanked by steep stone cliffs. Among those cliffs, you’ll find caves carved into the rock. During times of bandits and foreign invasions, cave dwelling in southeastern Sicily was common, and as more modern construction techniques entered the scene, the cave became part of one’s…

Modica Bassa in the Morning Sun

The city of Modica is divided into two parts: Modica Alta and Modica Bassa (pictured here). Modica Bassa is a shorter hillside division than Modica Alta (i.e., a taller hillside). These opposite hills, once dotted with cave dwellings, are now seas of ivory-colored, Baroque buildings. Outfitted with pedestrian staircases and alleyways, Modica is not automobile-friendly….