The Staircase of St. Mary of the Mountain, also known as the Staircase of St. James, weaves between two tightly packed housing terraces. It was built in the first decade of the seventeenth century to create a direct connection between the old quarter located in the lower part of Caltagirone and the upper city.
Originally, it had a less pronounced slope because, as instructed by the master builder Giuseppe Giacalone, it was built with cantilevers.
It was only in 1844 that the architect Salvatore Marino carried out the project to unite the various parts, which were not yet directly connected. And so the staircase took on its current appearance of a steep 142-step climb.
To celebrate the tradition of Sicilian maiolica tiles, in 1956, each step was enriched and embellished with a covering of colourful maiolica.
The maiolica features a vast repertoire of subjects, typical of the island, representing a time period ranging from the 10th to the 20th century, chosen by Antonino Ragona.