Place of Interest
Ceramic capital of Sicily
Caltagirone is considered to be the ceramics capital of Sicily. It is picturesquely situated on three hills in the south-western part of the province of Catania. The medieval old town was destroyed in 1693 by an earthquake and rebuilt in the Baroque style. In the city, there are still more than 80 ceramic workshops - some of them can be visited. The ceramic products can be purchased in countless souvenir shops of course.
Attractions in Caltagirone
In the main square, the Piazza Umberto I, you can see the cathedral from the 18th Century and the Palazzo Capitaniale Corte, which dates from the 16th Century. It was built by Gian Domenico Gagini and is a single-storey building with Doric pilasters. Along the Via Duoma you will reach the Piazza del Municipio with the Baroque City Hall and the modern Galleria L. Struzo, which is named after the founding father of the Christian Democracy party. About 300 metres west along the Corso Vittorio Emanuele there is the church of San Giacomo - originally a Norman temple, which was replaced by the three-nave church after the earthquake in 1693. In the Museo Civico, which is located in the old Bourbon prison, you can learn more about the local history of Caltagirone.
Over a bridge, decorated with ceramics, you will reach the Church of San Francesco di Paola. It is located at the entrance to the city park where you will also find the interesting Museum of Ceramics.
The Scala of Caltagirone
Undoubtedly, the highlight of Caltagirone is the famous Scala, a ceramic staircase, leading from the Piazza del Municipio into the Upper Town. It was designed by Giuseppe Giacalone in 1608. 142 ceramic tile steps decorated in the modern style lead up to the church Santa Maria del Monte, from where you have a magnificent view of Caltagirone. The church was also rebuilt after the earthquake in 1693 - inside there is a picture of the Madonna di Conadomini from the 13th Century. You need to see the staircase especially on special occasions when it is decorated very beautifully.
Surroundings of Caltagirone
The little town of Granmichele is located 15 kilometres east of Caltagirone. Like Avola, Noto and Pachino, Granmichele was completely destroyed by the earthquake in 1693 and re-constructed. Designed on the drawing board, the city is based on a consistent hexagon, which is reflected even in the central square.