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The COUNTY OF MODICA was a feudal territory within the Kingdom of Sicily from 1296 to 1812. Its capital was Modica
Modica
, on the southern tip of the island, although the cities of Ragusa and Scicli
Scicli
housed some government offices for a period. Today it perpetuates as a title only held by the head of the House of Alba
House of Alba
, Carlos Fitz-James Stuart, 19th Duke of Alba .

CONTENTS

* 1 History

* 1.1 The Chiaramontes * 1.2 The Cabreras * 1.3 15th century to the present

* 2 List of Counts of Modica
Modica

* 2.1 First Creation in 1296 * 2.2 Second Creation in 1392

* 3 References

HISTORY

THE CHIARAMONTES

The County Palace entrance, at the higher quarters of the old town.

On 25 March 1296, the Aragonese King Frederick III of Sicily conceded the great County of Modica
Modica
to Manfredi I Chiaramonte, who fought the Angevin and their king, James, and married Isabella Mosca, daughter of the rebel count Federico Mosca .

The king gave the first dynasty of counts many fiefdoms in Agrigento , Caccamo
Caccamo
, Licata
Licata
and Palermo
Palermo
, where they built the Palazzo Chiaramonte , also known as Palazzo Steri; once the residence of the Aragonese-Spanish viceroys of Sicily and later the tribunal of the Inquisition , it now belongs to the University of Palermo
Palermo
. On its ceilings is one of the most important wood-based pictorial cycles of the Italian Middle Ages.

The Chiaramonte family built many castles at Mussomeli
Mussomeli
, Caccamo
Caccamo
, Chiaramonte Gulfi , Ragusa and all over Sicily, in a very typical Gothic style.

On the death of King Frederick IV of Sicily , Manfredi III Chiaramonte became viceroy and tried to defend the throne of Sicily from Martin I of Sicily . Martin's father was the future King Martin I of Aragon , and his grandparents were King Peter IV of Aragon
Peter IV of Aragon
and Eleanor of Sicily . In 1389 he married Maria of Sicily , who was the only child and daughter of King Frederick IV. In 1392 he returned with Maria to Sicily with a military force and to defeat a group of opposing noblemen. However, the city of Palermo
Palermo
fell and the new King Martin I of Sicily had its governor, Andrea Chiaramonte, son of the late Manfredi, 8th Count of Modica, beheaded on 1 July 1392 in front of his palace in the Marina Square in Palermo.

THE CABRERAS

A new count was created, i.e. Bernat IV de Cabrera , a Spanish condottiero who conquered Sicily for the new king Martin I. The county of Modica
Modica
was now bigger and stronger: it included the towns of Scicli , Spaccaforno (today's Ispica
Ispica
), Ragusa, Chiaramonte Gulfi, Comiso
Comiso
, Giarratana , Monterosso Almo
Monterosso Almo
and Biscari and the castles of Dirillo and Cammarana. The Count had the faculty to export over three thousand tons of grain per year free of duties from two of his seven ports, Pozzallo
Pozzallo
, where he built the Cabrera Tower, and Mazzarelli (today called Marina di Ragusa
Marina di Ragusa
), where a smaller tower was built.

From 1296, the city of Modica
Modica
was the capital of a "state within a state": the Investiture Diploma for Bernat Cabrera says Sicut ego in regno meo tu in comitato tuo ("You in your county as I in my kingdom"). The county had a Governor, its own tribunals including the Tribunal of Second Instance, and a police force. The cities of the state were ruled by municipal magistracies.

15TH CENTURY TO THE PRESENT

The Castle of Modica
Modica
in 2007

In the 15th and 16th centuries, the spread of emphyteusis and the privatization of the land by Governor Bernaldo Del Nero made the city of Modica
Modica
the foremost in the south-east of Sicily. The lower part of Modica
Modica
grew with churches, high-class palaces and monasteries, until the 1693 earthquake that killed over 60,000 people in Sicily from Catania
Catania
to Syracuse and destroyed numerous buildings. The Late Baroque architecture of Val di Noto
Val di Noto
is the result of reconstruction following the earthquake.

On 5 March 1607, Vittoria Colonna
Colonna
Enriquez-Cabrera, Countess of Modica, daughter of the Viceroy Marcantonio Duke of Tagliacozzo
Tagliacozzo
and wife of Ludovico III Enriquez-Cabrera, founded the new city of Vittoria , now the second most populous city in the province of Ragusa.

Pasquale Enríquez de Cabrera died childless in 1740, and the title passed to his sister Maria Enríquez de Cabrera de Toledo , who was unmarried and also childless. With her death in 1740 two years later, the House of Enríquez-Cabrera became extinct and by statutes of succession the county passed to María Teresa Álvarez de Toledo, 11th Duchess of Alba , the great-granddaughter of Juan Gaspare Enríquez de Cabrera, 10th Count of Modica
Modica
. Hereby the county came into possession of the House of Alba
House of Alba
, and the title is since then held in succession by the Dukes of Alba of its three cadet houses: first the House of Álvarez de Toledo (extinct in 1755), secondly the House of Silva (extinct in 1802), and thirdly the House of FitzJames-Stuart (extant).

However, by the time of these dynasties, the title of Count was meaningless and carried little power, and Modica
Modica
governed itself. This situation continued until the 18th century, when Sicily was ruled by the Austrian Empire
Austrian Empire
. Then, in the late 18th and early 19th century, it was part of the Kingdom of Sicily , ruled from Naples
Naples
(this kingdom changed its name to the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies ). Finally, after the Risorgimento
Risorgimento
it was unified with the rest of Italy, as it is today.

As head of the House of Alba, the title is currently held by Carlos Fitz-James Stuart, 19th Duke of Alba , who is the 22nd Count of Modica.

LIST OF COUNTS OF MODICA

FIRST CREATION IN 1296

House of Chiaramonte

NO NAME BECAME COUNT CEASED TO BE COUNT

1 Manfredi 1296 1321

2 Giovanni II 1321 1342

3 Manfredi II 1342 1353

4 Simone 1353 1357

5 Federico III 1357 1364

6 Matteo 1364 1377

7 Manfredi III 1377 1391

8 Andrea 1391 1392

SECOND CREATION IN 1392

House of Cabrera
House of Cabrera

NO NAM