According to legend the god Hercules gave birth to the town of Modica. He was said to have founded three cities in Sicily, which he named Motia, in honour of the beautiful Greek woman who had helped him regain the oxen that had been taken from him.

But this is only one of many names that Modica has been given over the centuries: among others, the Phoenician name was Mùtika (hotel, residence: probably similar to the Phoenician Utica, the city where Cato of Utica died), the Sicilian name was Mùrika ( bare rock, not cultivable), the Greeks named it Μότουκα, the Romans named it Mothyca. The first evidence of Sicilian settlements in this area date back to the eighth century BC, at the time of the Greek colonies in Sicily.

After the Roman domination, Modica passed into the hands of the Saracens, who created an important agricultural and commercial centre, and called the town Mohac. In the eleventh century the city, as well as the whole of Sicily, was recaptured by the Normans. Their leader, Roger of Hautetville, introduced the cult of Saint George, of which he was a faithful believer. Modica obtained the title of ‘county’ under the Norman domination, and Gualtieri, captain in the service of Roger, was appointed Earl of Modica. This was followed by the period of Angevin rule, whose tyrannical power ended with the Sicilian Vespers and the subsequent expulsion of the French from all over Sicily. Subsequently, the city experienced a period of great prestige under the control of the Aragons of Spain (XIII - XVII sec.).

With Conti Mosca and especially with Chiaramonte and Cabrera, Modica acquired an important role in local government, which was typical of feudalism. For its authority, wealth and splendor, Modica was often compared to the Royal Court. In 1693 a terrible earthquake destroyed the whole area of ​​the county, but the reconstruction of the city was rapid and eventually Modica appeared to be even more beautiful and important. The long stay of the Spaniards left an indelible mark on the dialect, the gastronomic traditions, monuments, and architecture of the city, as well as on its Baroque art. Until the 1930s Modica was the fourth largest city in Sicily in terms of population, politics, economy and culture, thanks to the presence of educational institutions like the clergy and laity, which made it a remarkable centre of education. The city currently covers 290.77 square kilometers and has a population of 55 341 inhabitants.