The Church of Santa Maria del Carmelo called “Chiesa del Carmine”, in the past the Church of St. Mary of the Annunciation, is one of the few monuments that resisted the violence of the earthquake of 1693.
To get there, you must take Corso Umberto, and you’ll find the church on the left side of the current police station, once a convent attached to the Church of the Carmine. The Carmelites moved in Modica and since1390 founded here the Church with the adjoining convent. The entrance portal is formed by a pointed arch, slightly splayed and defined by side columns beams, decorated with capitals with floral motifs. The prospectus, partially resisted the earthquakes of 1542 and 1613, is decorated with a portal dating from the late fourteenth century, dominated by a Franciscan rose window with twelve rays, all in late Gothic style from Chiaramonte. The upper parts of the facade and the bell tower are still eighteenth-century baroque superstructure built after the earthquake. Inside the church, at the side of the altar, you can admire a late-Gothic chapel, dating from the late fourteenth century, brought to light recently. It has traces of frescoes, and its floor covers a burial crypt, visible from a trap door, while a wall of the eighteenth century infill has kept hidden for three centuries the entrance arch to the chapel. As soon as you enter the church, on the right wall is still visibile another arch of access to one of the ancient side chapels, covered by a wall. Still inside the atrium, on the right, you can see the statue of Madonna del Latte (XIV century): a papier-mâché statue following an original theme according to the time it has been created, being coeval with the building of the church. An altar on the left houses the sculptural group of the Annunciation in white marble carved by Antonello Gagini. The sculptural group was consigned the Carmelite Order in 1532. The church also keeps the board of St. Albert (probably part of an altarpiece), painted in the early sixteenth century by Cesare da Sesto, pupil of Leonardo da Vinci. Turning your gaze backward, in the choir loft located above the main entrance, you can admire a lovely little wooden monumental organ, the oldest among those still working in Modica, dated 1774.
It dates back to 2006 the finding by a private, owner of a room close to the church on the side of via Pellico, another fourteenth century Gothic portal, which was the entrance from the nave of one of the side chapels. This part of the church was sold to a private and therefore adapted for residential purposes after the damage caused by the earthquake of 1693. The restoration work also led to the discovery of an underground crypt full of bones, probably relics of the Carmelite monks.