Located in an area that overlooks the two plains of Catania and Gela, in a dominant position between the Erei and Iblei mountains, Caltagirone for over two million years has been a privileged stronghold of Byzantines, Arabs and Normans. The monumental testimonies of this remote past are the prehistoric necropolis of the fortress, of the Mountains, of the Salvatorello, the Pille and the settlements of San Mauro, Altobrando, Piano Casazze and still others that are located in the suburbs of the city. The 20th Century saw, instead, that decorative terracotta in architecture was rather affirmed, as also evidenced by the monumental cemeteries, villas and palaces.
It is advisable to start visiting the old town at the famous “Scala di Santa Maria del Monte” with its splendid view of the city, characterized by colorful blue, yellow and green ceramics that adorn the streets, stairs, balconies, squares, fountains, churches and palaces. At the bottom of the staircase is the main road of the city, the Via Roma, which cuts the city in two. At the bottom of the monumental staircase stands the church named “Chiesa Madre di S. Maria del Monte”, the ancient headquarters of the religious power. The staircase connects the old town to the new one and on both sides are the old communities of San Giorgio and San Giacomo. In the latter aforementioned community you can visit the church of San Giacomo, patron saint of the city, where every year, on July 25th there is a grand festival in his honor.
In the first part of Via Roma you can admire the Municiple Gardens and the Teatrino. It is a real urban park, designed by Natale Bonaiuto towards the middle of the last century inspired by the English Gardens. From the Teatrino you reach the famous Ceramic Museum, which illustrates the history of local ceramics from prehistorical to the early 20th century. The art of ceramics is deeply linked to the history of Caltagirone and it is the latter that has made it famous all over the world. Still today workshops of artisan potters produce majolica, terracotta and characters of the local tradition, recovering, transforming and innovating this art. The tour continues along the majolica bridge of t. Francis of Assisi which leads to the heart of the city.
Worth visiting is also the recently restored Bourbon Prison which houses the Civic Museum. It is advisable to continue the walk through the tiny streets of the neighborhoods that are behind the small streets of the center and from which you can see both less-known churches and small workshops where craftsmen are at work creating authentic ceramic artifacts. The clever game of perspective and vision was used by the architects to give life to the current appearance of the city allowing the historic center of Caltagirone to be awarded the title of World Heritage Site of UNESCO in 2002. At last, we recommend visiting the International Museum of the Nativity “Collezione Luigi Colaleo” where you can admire the collection of ancient museums able to recreate the magical Christmas atmosphere that every year attracts thousands of tourists.
It is recommended to stay at one of the excellent hotels that were awarded the territorial brand of “Dea di Morgantina” so you can spend the following day doing one of the many activities offered in the territory of the district.
Discover the wide range of cultural, naturalistic, archaeological/historical itineraries, itineraries of taste, rites and festivals as well as the experiential itineraries of the Dea tourist district of Morgantina.
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