The church of San Giovanni Evangelista (St. John the Evangelist) is located at the top of Pizzo hill, in Modica Alta district. This is the same area where, in the seventh century A.D., it was built the small church of San Pietro outside the city walls with the adjacent Benedictine convent. Some historical sources indicate it as the first religious building in Modica.
In 1150, San Pietro’s church was enlarged while the monastery was demolished in 1454, making room for further expansion works of the church, which was also dedicated to St. John the Evangelist in that period.
It was only after the construction of St. Peter’s Church – fourteenth century – in the southern part of Modica, that the church changed its name by keeping the dedication just to St John the Evangelist.
The building was struck by the 1693 earthquake, but it rose again in a new baroque guise between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Another earthquake, in 1848, slightly damaged the façade, but it was rebuilt in the nineteenth century in a neoclassical style.
The monument is part of a beautiful historical architectural landscape and it is located at the top of a large staircase characterized twenty-six pillars, previously adorned with an equivalent amount of statues (today there are only 3 out 26).
With his cross placed above the central spire, the church of San Giovanni is the highest point of Modica, overlooking the city from its 449 meters.
The front side of the building has two orders, enriched by several columns in the central part which is also characterized by a slightly concave façade.
The interior is simple but interesting, mainly white painted and with decorative stucco and frescoes.
The church is divided into three naves which are separated by square pillars.
One of the artwork that can be found inside is a sixteenth century group of statues called Addolorata and composed by the statues of the Virgin Mary and Martha who mourn the death of Christ, whose body lies within Maddalena’s arms.
At the bottom of the altar there is an Ark (urn) which contains the remaining parts of the martyr Santa Temperanza.
Near the front door you can see a painting depicting the Madonna delle Milizie, which is a copy of what is exposed in Scicli.
Progetto finanziato con risorse di cui al Progetto d'Eccellenza "Culto e cultura - Itinerari di turismo religioso" di cui alla L- 296/2006 art. 1 c. 1228.
TOURIST PACKAGE CONTRACT (Aut. Regione Sicilia N.3743/S. 7 Tur del 22.02.2017)