In Italy during the summer months there are many religious and popular festivals of ancient tradition. One of the most spectacular is that of the illuminations of Caltagirone in Sicily. This religious celebration on the occasion of the feast for the patron saint of the city, Saint James.
Here you can find out where Caltagirone is located and what this traditional event consists of, which takes place every year since 1600. You will also learn about the history of this centuries-old traditional event that attracts many tourists to the city every year. Finally you can find out what you can see in Caltagirone.
Caltagirone: here is where
Caltagirone is a city located in the hinterland of eastern Sicily in the province of Catania. It overlooks the two largest plains of Sicily, those of Catania and Gela. This place is known for its ancient tradition of pottery production. It is one of the largest towns in the hinterland of the island and is characterized by a historic center in late Baroque style.
This land rich in clay has allowed the creation of beautiful colored artifacts following the ancient art of ceramics. Every year at the end of July there is the procession of the lights of Caltagirone that has been celebrated for centuries according to the ritual of tradition.
What are the illuminations of Caltagirone?
You should know that the illuminations of Caltagirone concern the celebration of the feast of the patron saint of the Sicilian city. On this occasion, the 142 steps of the Santa Maria del Monte staircase are illuminated with lights. In this way wonderful artistic drawings inspired by tradition are reproduced on the staircase.
Following an ancient secular tradition, born in 1600 and which found its maximum expression in 1800 thanks to Padre Benedetto Papale, every year thousands of tiles made according to an ancient art handed down from father to son are placed on the steps. In this way they form a unique and magnificent design.
A terracotta luminary is placed over the roof, which is filled with olive oil and then lit. July 24 at the set time
Illuminations of Caltagirone: the staircase of Santa Maria del Monte
The ancient staircase of Santa Maria del Monte where the lights of Caltagirone take place is unique and has a length of 100 meters and consists of 142 steps. Its realization took place to connect the ancient city to the new one that rises higher. One of the most interesting features is the fact that it is entirely decorated with ceramic tiles depicting typical Sicilian motifs.
It was built from 1606 following the project of the architect Giuseppe Giacalone. Initially it was interrupted by the presence of small squares then in 1800 it became a unique and wonderful ramp, Finally it was restored in the middle of 1900 with the realization of the current 142 steps.
What to see in Caltagirone?
But that’s not all you need to know that in addition to the lights of Caltagirone there are many other things to see in this area. Without a doubt it is worth visiting the beautiful old town where there is a particular building of 1700 decorated with majolica where today there is the Museum of ceramics that traces the history of this ancient art.
Also in this area you can find many shops selling ceramic products typical of the city. In Piazza Umberto I it is possible to admire the Cathedral of Caltagirone buildings of Baroque origin whose facade was replaced in the ‘900. Finally there is the Villa Comunale, a beautiful English garden decorated with ceramic vases depicting interesting and evocative faces.