Church of San Pietro in Modica

Church of San Pietro in Modica

Ludvig14 - CC4.0


 Corso Umberto I - Modica (RG)

The Cathedral of San Pietro di Modica is part, like the Cathedral of San Giorgio, of the list of World Heritage Sites.
The first document certifying the existence of the church dates back to 1396, but the date of its first construction is to be placed between 1301 and 1350 approximately. It was damaged over the centuries by frequent earthquakes and was rebuilt several times. Only some internal elements were spared from the collapses such as a side chapel dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, which shows the date of 1620 engraved on the dome. The current appearance of the church is due to the restoration work that followed the terrible earthquake of 1693.
The facade is marked by pilasters decorated with ashlars in the plinths and ashlar along the stems, it is divided into two orders by means of a cornice with railing. In the first order there are three portals surmounted by gables with a broken arch, the central one is surmounted by the coat of arms with the inscription "Mater Ecclesia". The second order has a window surrounded by magnificent Baroque decoration, and houses four statues depicting San Cataldo, on the curled volutes the Virgin Mary and St. Peter, on the right Santa Rosalia. In the intermediate stele of the third order, delimited by broken arches, stands a frieze depicting Jesus Christ triumphant over a radial pattern surmounted by volutes, a sphere, and apex cross in wrought iron.
Three flights of steps connect with a scenographic staircase the roadway with the churchyard of the temple. On pedestals along the perimeter are placed the statues of the twelve apostles, called by the people "santoni", works by Salvatore Ammatuna and his disciple Pietro Petracolo.
The interior has three naves separated by fourteen columns supporting Corinthian capitals, a beautiful floor with inlays of white marble, polychrome marble and black pitch, from 1871, and the sumptuous vault, rich in frescoes, depicting scenes from the Old and New Testament.
Of particular value are the statuary groups kept in the church: the copy of the "Madonna di Trapani" by Francesco Laurana, attributed to Giovanni Pisano (, and the polychrome "St. Peter and the paralytic", by Benedetto Civiletti from Palermo, in 1893.

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