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Modica

town, southeastern Sicily, Italy, at the confluence of two mountain torrents on the south margin of the Monti (mountains) Iblei, just south of Ragusa city. On the site of a Bronze Age (and perhaps Stone Age) fortress (c. 4000 BC), it emerged as Motyca, a town of the Siculi, an ancient Sicilian tribe (c. 400 BC). It was the capital of a fief from the 12th to the 17th century, and its counts rivaled the viceroys of Sicily in power and wealth. It was almost entirely destroyed by the earthquake of 1692 and devastated by flood in 1902. Its past wealth is reflected by the church of Sta. Maria di Gesu, the portal and rose window of the church of the Carmine, and the massive Baroque church of S. Giorgio. Nearby is the famous Cava d'Ispica, with thousands of natural grottoes, which were used for habitation and as tombs from before the 14th century BC. Agriculture is presently important in Modica, and there is manufacturing of foodstuffs and traditional crafts. Pop. (2006 est.) mun., 53,587.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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