Caltagirone

A symbol for the town

The Scalinata di Santa Maria del Monte (Staircase of St. Mary of the Mountain), is not simply a stairway, but one of the symbols of the town of Caltagirone.

The Scala di Santa Maria del Monte
The Scala di Santa Maria del Monte is one of the symbols of the city of Caltagirone. The staircase, also called Scala di San Giacomo, passes between two dense rows of houses. It is 130 meters long, has 142 steps and connects the lower town to the mother church. In 1954 it was decided to enrich and embellish the elevation of the steps with a coating in colored majolica. They chose to reproduce the drawings of the majolica from the tenth to the twentieth century and covered the steps from bottom to top and inserted the majolica in a chronological sense. The first two steps have the staircase, there is a plaque commemorating Antonio Ragona, the one who started the project, and another is dedicated to those who executed the decorations. The other 140 steps are ideally divided into ten parts, each for each century in matches from the X.

The Staircase of St. Mary of the Mountain, also known as the Staircase of St. James, passes between two tightly packed housing terraces. It is 130 metres long, formed of 142 steps and connects the lower town to the mother church. foto Scalinata dall’alto verso il bassoThe staircase was built in 1606 to create a direct connection between the church of St. Mary of the Mountain and the lower town where the Senatorial Palace, the captain’s court and the church of San Giuliano (St. Julian) were located.
At first a road was considered, but because of the steep slope a staircase was built instead. The works were managed by the master of Palermo Giuseppe Giacalone , who employed local workers.
In the 19th century interventions were carried out to make the staircase more accessible.
The various ramps that made up the staircase were joined together by the architect Salvatore Marino. In 1956, colourful maiolica tiles were added to decorate the 142 steps.foto Dettagli maioliche diverse Every year at certain times of the year, the staircase features prominently in town life.
In May you can admire the Infiorata (flower festival) in celebration of the Madonna dei Conadomini, when a design with thousands of flowers is created. Between the 24th and 25th of July the staircase is illuminated with “” coppi ” (tea lights) for the Feast of San Giacomo (St. James), the patron saint of the town. It is also lit up between the 14th and 15th of August in honour of the Madonna del Ponte.

Prominent façade

Garden of Novices and the restorations by Giancarlo De Carlo

The senses tell the story of the Church of Santa Chiara

Many owners, one palace

From International Gothic to present day

A miniature city

The Benedictine Monastery, one of the largest in Europe

One city, three sites

Places of knowledge: the Benedictines’ library

The Infiorata, a feast of colours and flowers

St. Agatha and the giant candelabras

The colours of the cathedral

The disastrous earthquake

One city, two sites

A square as the heart of the city

A symbol for the town

Two illustrious patron saints

The wall comes to life

St. Sebastian, so much work!

Limestone, the colour of harmony

The senses tell about Palazzo Napolino Tommasi Rosso

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Giuliano ai Crociferi

The internal colours

A new site for a new church

A hall for the feasts

A majestic and luminous church

The Burgos crucifix

The kitchen, a treasure chest of colours

The senses tell about Palazzo La Rocca

A half-Baroque church

The Baroque town by the sea

The senses tell the story of the church of San Giovanni Battista

The senses tell the story of the Church of Santa Chiara

A prominent church

An eagle-shaped city

San Benedetto: a treasure reopened to the public

A colourful floor

Militello, the story of an enlightened fiefdom

A Nobel Prize in Modica

Modica, a city with ancient origins

A triumph of colour

The Barresi-Branciforte lords

The senses tell the story of the church of Santa Maria del Carmelo

The Maiolica of the staircase

Discovering the mother church

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Benedetto

The senses tell the Mother Church of San Nicolò and of the Santissimo Salvatore

A feast only for Scicli

Rosario Gagliardi, the maestro of the Val di Noto

The Feast of San Giacomo (St. James)

Feast days

Some masterpieces

The two churches

The Staircase of Angels

Connections with other UNESCO sites

The senses tell the story of the Church of the Annunciation

The city of museums

A design by Vincenzo Sinatra

Freedom of worship and the role of the Catholic Church in the diffusion of Baroque

Feasting in Palazzolo

Norman apses

The church of Carmine

The senses tell the Benedictine Monastery and San NicoIò l’Arena

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Sebastiano

The senses tell the story of the church of San Giuseppe

The character of Badia Sant’Agata

The façade used as a puppet theatre

A small room with a golden entrance

San Nicolò l’Arena: an unfinished church

The chocolate of Modica

From St. Thomas to St. Joseph

A long reconstruction

Searching for colour

A museum to save a tradition

Wonderful quick decorations

The senses tell the story of the Badia di Sant’Agata

Church of San Giuliano (St. Julian) on Via dei Crociferi: reconstruction

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Giovanni Evangelista

Palazzo Nicolaci di Villadorata, who is the architect?

Corbels: a celebration of the Nicolaci family

A new site for a new city

A new palace for the La Rocca lords

The interior and its masterpieces

From the contrast of the exterior to the internal jubilation of colours

Fontana della Ninfa Zizza, public water in the town

A new entrance for Santa Chiara (St. Claire)

Some prestigious works

The role of the religious orders in rebuilding the Val di Noto

The Supernatural dimension of the chapel of the Santissimo Sacramento

Baroque and the loss of equilibrium in the 16th century

The senses tell the story of the staircase of Santa Maria del Monte

A city in colour

The senses tell the Cathedral of Sant’Agata

New roads for Catania

The senses tell about Palazzo Nicolaci

Between white and black

The theatre of taste

The cathedral of Sant’Agata: a lengthy reconstruction

A talking palace