Modica with kids – where to visit in the Val di Noto village with little ones, including kid-friendly activities and restaurants, when to visit, tips on strollers and diaper changes.
Thinking about heading to Modica with your children? Don’t think – just go! If you’re in the area with your family, this UNESCO World Heritage site is a must-see for its unique chocolate.
And, Modica is near other kid-friendly destinations in Sicily, like Ragusa Ibla, Sampieri beach, and Scicli.
I first visited Modica as an active travel guide in 2004 and most recently visited with family during the winter months. I love taking kids to Modica for a quick visit.
Siete pronti? Andiamo! – Are you ready? Let’s go!
You may also want to check out our general Guide to Modica, Sicily.
Map of Modica with Kids
The Best Things to Do in Modica with Kids
Take the Trenino
What kid doesn’t like a little train? Modica’s tourist train does a 40-minute loop from Modica basso (lower Modica) to Modica alta (upper Modica). It’s a perfect way to see the city – kids enjoy riding on the train, and you don’t have to worry about tiring little legs on the stairs and uphills.
Good To Know: There is English commentary, but it’s tough to hear. Sit back and enjoy the views of Modica and a few of the town’s most important and beautiful churches – the Church of St. Peter the Apostle (Chiesa di San Pietro Apostolo), the Cathedral of Saint George (Duomo di San Giorgio), and the Church of St. John the Evangelist (Chiesa di San Giovanni Evangelista).
It’s just 5€ for anyone over five years old.
Sample Modica’s Unique Chocolate
Modica’s star is its unique chocolate. It’s got a bit of a grainy texture because it’s never heated enough to melt the sugar grains. Dairy-free, it’s very different from your typical chocolate from home.
You can enter the tiny shop and sample the many different flavors, or you can book a 30-minute tour. The tour must be reserved at least a day in advance. It’s kid-friendly, and you get to sample a few different products (including a chocolate drink and their special cookies with a meat filling (‘mpanatigghi).
Good To Know: The lines in the shop can be long (which is reason enough to book the tour), so check the line when you get there and if it’s not crowded, adjust your itinerary and walk in. If it’s busy, try again later. Even if you do end up having to wait in line, there are interesting displays for the kids to look at, along with a video of the chocolate making process.
Good To Know: Not chocolate fans? Feel like having a cookie instead? You may want to check out Biscottoficio Rendo, a shop in upper Modica that makes delicious local cookies.
Get a Refreshing Granita
Yes, I know a stop at a chocolate factory sounds like enough sugar for the afternoon, but a refreshing granita never hurt anyone.
Good To Know: The chocolate samples at Bonajuto are tiny discs and kids usually don’t eat a ton of the not-super-sweet Modica-style chocolate.
A nice stop is at Gelateria Gelati e Granite on Viale Medaglie d’Oro, 43.
Find Your Favorite Gargoyle
If your kids like gargoyles, make sure you look up as you walk on Corso Umberto I. At #s 154 and 156 the stone gargoyles that look down at you are, according to my kids, “creepy, but cool!”
Good To Know: Nearby Scicli also has some great gargoyles on buildings in town.
Visit a Church in a Cave
In the center of town, you’ll find the somewhat hidden Cave Church of St. Nicholas (Chiesa Rupestre di San Nicolò Inferiore). It’s a quick visit (so don’t worry, the kids won’t get bored), and they’ll be interested to know that this church from the 12th century was actually rediscovered by a local boy chasing after a lost ball!
See a Chocolate Map of Italy
Modica’s Chocolate Museum (Museo del Cioccolato di Modica) is tiny, but it’s got a room-sized relief map of Italy, and show me a kid that doesn’t want to see that. The map even contains mini chocolate sculptures of a few famous Italian monuments like the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the trulli of Puglia. There are some explanation boards about Modica’s chocolate, but the visit to Antica Dolceria Bonajuto provides more interesting info about it.
Still, if your kids want to see ‘chocolate Italy,’ this is the place!
Good To Know: The Chocolate Museum of Modica is conveniently located between Antica Dolceria Bonajuto and the trenino, so you don’t have to go out of your way to see it and you can visit spontaneously.
Play with Local Kids at the Playground
Let your little ones play with local kids at Modica’s biggest playground, Parco Urbano Padre Basile. Better yet, bring a snack from the Coop or a shop and enjoy it there. Parents can take a break while little ones play on the toys and in the paved area (perfect if you’ve got a ball with you). There are toilets, but there’s not much shade at all.
Be King or Queen of the Castle
Make your way up to the Castello dei Conti. This is a perfect castle for kids with wild imaginations because there’s not much to it. However, you will get lovely views of Modica.
Where to Eat in Modica with Kids
Modica has plenty of restaurants, in both the upper and lower parts of town. If you like to walk around and peek in the restaurants, stick to Modica bassa, for ease of walking (less steps and hills).
What We Do: On our recent visit, we got fish and chips to go at Putia del Coppo (Corso Umberto I, 197). My kids even tried the sardines and loved them!
Trattoria Il Girasole (Strada Mercè, 63) in lower Modica is a casual, family-friendly restaurant that serves local dishes. It’s no frills, and there are plenty of options on the menu for kids (like arancini and different types of pastas).
How to Get to Modica with Kids
By far, the easiest way to get to Modica is by car. I would not recommend traveling with kids by train or bus (unless they’re older and adventurous) because you’ll probably face delays in your journey.
Modica is not difficult to drive in – just stay in Modica bassa and find a parking spot there – you’ll find free (white) and paid (blue) spaces. I usually look for a spot on the edge of the western part of town and then walk 10 minutes to get to the center along Corso Umberto. There’s one tiny ZTL (zona traffico limitato – limited traffic zone) at Piazza Matteotti, but it’s well-marked, and you don’t have any reason to drive there.
Modica makes for a great Day Trip from Taormina
Logistics in Modica with Kids
Strollers – Modica is not very stroller-friendly, as there are a lot of steps (between upper and lower Modica and to get inside churches). Some places, like the Antica Dolceria Bonajuto, are tiny and don’t have room for strollers. So, it’s best to use a carrier, or have one adult push baby while the other(s) in the group explore(s) town. Modica bassa is fairly stroller friendly. Read more about Strollers in Italy.
Changing Diapers – There aren’t many places to change your baby, so it’s best to have a portable changing mat that you can use inside restaurant bathrooms or on park benches. Make sure you have disinfecting wipes for your mat or buy some disposable mats for your time in Sicily. Read more about Diapers in Italy.
Pharmacies – There are quite a few farmacie in Modica, in both the upper and lower parts of the city. Most close for a few hours mid-day, and if you’re visiting on Sunday or a holiday, look for the farmacia di turno (on-call pharmacy). Read more about Pharmacies in Italy.
Extreme Heat – Modica can be toasty in the summer months. If you’re visiting in the summer, I would stay out of Modica (and other cities) during the mid-day heat. Instead, visit in the early morning or in the evening when the sun sets. In the summer, most shops close around 8:30pm, so you have time to explore a bit before dinner. Yes, I know that’s a late dinner, but you’ll likely want to let kids nap in the afternoon and be awake during the cooler hours of the evening. I’m a ‘put the kids to bed early’ mamma, but in the summer, I give in because daytime hours are too hot for play.
Playgrounds – The best playground is at Parco Urbano Padre Basile, a 15-minute slightly uphill walk from the traffic circle in Modica with the WW2 memorial. You’ll find swings, a big play structure with slides, an exercise route for older kids, a water fountain, and plenty of space to run around (mostly pebbles or paved). There are benches and there’s a small amount of shade. The other option in the center of Modica has toys for smaller children (swings, rocking toys), but it’s on the road and not fenced, so you must be very careful.
A Family-Friendly Itinerary for Modica
1. Park in the western part of the town. I park on Corso Umberto or in the free lot at the edge of town.
2. If you need snacks or a quick lunch, grab picnic ingredients in the Coop grocery store at Piazzale Falcone e Borsellino, 614. You can eat at the small (not super manicured) Parco S. Giuseppe U Timpuni.
Helpful Tip: I like to carry a thin muslin blanket (or two) when traveling with family in Sicily. You can use them as picnic blankets, beach towels, car sunshades, and more. My favorites are from Aden & Anais (because they wash well and stay soft), but you can find other brands in your country at department stores, baby stores, and big box stores like Target.
3. Walk down Corso Umberto. Be sure to stop and look at the gargoyles on the left at #154 & 156. Which is your favorite? You’ll also pass the town’s main toy store, Il Giocattolaio.
4. Take the trenino (little train) around town.
5. Take the chocolate tour at Antica Dolceria Bonajuto and sample the many flavors. Which is your favorite? Our kids loved the vanilla and the sea salt. My current favorite is the ginger!
6. At this point, head to your next destination or spend the rest of the day at a nearby beach or your hotel’s swimming pool. If you’d like to stick around Modica for dinner, spend the rest of the afternoon at the playground and check out one of the churches before your meal.
What to Do After You Visit Modica with Kids
Following your visit to Modica, take your pick of family-friendly destinations and activities not far away:
- Swim and play at the beach in Sampieri, a family-friendly beach town
- Learn about Sicilian carts in Ragusa Ibla
- Visit the Donnafugata castle
- Discover the caves in Scicli
- Play at the beach at Marzamemi (and try a seafood meal!)
- Although it’s a couple of hours away from Modica, don’t miss a visit to Mount Etna with your kids!
I hope you have a wonderful time with your bambini in Modica! Don’t forget to bring some chocolate home!