Santa Maria del Monte Staircase
Scala di Santa Maria del Monte 2 - Fine Art Produzioni
The Scala Santa Maria del Monte Staircase is the monument that best represents Caltagirone in Italy and around the world. Also known as the San Giacomo Staircase, it is about 130 meters long and is spread over 142 steps.
Its history is inextricably linked to the evolution of city planning. Until the 16th century, in fact, the town of Caltagirone was developed on the slopes of three hills. The highest of these hills is where the oldest conglomerate was built around the Arabic-Swabian castle, from which you could enjoy a breathtaking view of the domes and bell towers embellished in majolica made popular by religion at that time.
Urban expansion was mandatorily projected towards the valley. This posed the functional problem of connecting the old city, which represented the religious center around the Chiesa Madre and the new city, where in 1483 the senatorial house was transferred. It as the heart of civil and political power, and where there were intense artisanal economic activities.
The connection through “una strata” was created in 1606, by making a large cut through the existing residences along the southern slope of the hill.
In 1956, on each elevation a polychromatic majolica covering was placed, which reproduced motifs that had been used by calatini craftsmen from the 10th to the 20th century. These motifs were collected and adapted to the particular destination by Antonino Ragona.
For the most astute observer, the Almost four centuries old staircase represents a true art history text to follow while looking upward. In fact, it is perfectly comprised of ten areas, one for each century starting from the 10th. Each has fourteen steps and alternating geometric, figurative and floral elements that successively represent examples of Arab, Norman, Swabian, Angevin-Aragonese, Chiaramonte, Spanish, Renaissance, Baroque, 18th century, 19th century and contemporary styles.

Variations of light make each season ideal for exploring this fascinating monument. However in summer, it is illuminated in spectacular fashion: on July 24 and 25 of each year, in honor of the city’s patron San Giacomo, the staircase is illuminated with thousands of colored lights placed on the steps to create a fiery pattern which is always different.

 

 

  Click to listen highlighted text! The Scala Santa Maria del Monte Staircase is the monument that best represents Caltagirone in Italy and around the world. Also known as the San Giacomo Staircase, it is about 130 meters long and is spread over 142 steps. Its history is inextricably linked to the evolution of city planning. Until the 16th century, in fact, the town of Caltagirone was developed on the slopes of three hills. The highest of these hills is where the oldest conglomerate was built around the Arabic-Swabian castle, from which you could enjoy a breathtaking view of the domes and bell towers embellished in majolica made popular by religion at that time. Urban expansion was mandatorily projected towards the valley. This posed the functional problem of connecting the old city, which represented the religious center around the Chiesa Madre and the new city, where in 1483 the senatorial house was transferred. It as the heart of civil and political power, and where there were intense artisanal economic activities. The connection through “una strata” was created in 1606, by making a large cut through the existing residences along the southern slope of the hill. In 1956, on each elevation a polychromatic majolica covering was placed, which reproduced motifs that had been used by calatini craftsmen from the 10th to the 20th century. These motifs were collected and adapted to the particular destination by Antonino Ragona. For the most astute observer, the Almost four centuries old staircase represents a true art history text to follow while looking upward. In fact, it is perfectly comprised of ten areas, one for each century starting from the 10th. Each has fourteen steps and alternating geometric, figurative and floral elements that successively represent examples of Arab, Norman, Swabian, Angevin-Aragonese, Chiaramonte, Spanish, Renaissance, Baroque, 18th century, 19th century and contemporary styles. Variations of light make each season ideal for exploring this fascinating monument. However in summer, it is illuminated in spectacular fashion: on July 24 and 25 of each year, in honor of the city’s patron San Giacomo, the staircase is illuminated with thousands of colored lights placed on the steps to create a fiery pattern which is always different.    

 

 

 


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