Festival of the patron saint San Giacomo – The Illuminated Staircase
La scala illuminata 3 - Enzo Piluso in Archivio Fotografico Musei Civici Luigi Sturzo Caltagirone

Festival of the patron saint San Giacomo – The Illuminated Staircase
In order to find the origins of the festival of San Giacomo in Caltagirone it is necessary to go back more than 900 years ago: San Giacomo the Apostle was in fact proclaimed “protector of the city of Caltagirone” by Count Ruggero the Norman in the year 1090, following the victory over the Saracens which was consummated on July 25 of that year.
A deep and ancient bond still binds those from Caltagirone to their patron. Due to the earthquake of 1693 it is said that the people took refuge in the Basilica of San Giacomo, which was severely damaged but kept the chapel intact, which housed the silver housing and palanquin. According to tradition it is because of San Giacomo, as well as having saved the city from the various rulers, it protects the city from earthquakes. And for this reason, the slightest shock is seen by many in the invocation “San Giacomo protector”.
In honor of the patron saint San Giacomo, in the evenings of July 24 and 25, the Santa Maria del Monte staircase, a symbol of the city of Caltagirone, is artistically illuminated to offer a unique spectacle.
Even on the morning of July 23rd, the staircase is offered to the curious eyes of citizens and visitors who try to find the best view point from there – or at the town hall square on Via Principe Amedeo – to see the design in its entirety. However, the highlight comes at the appointed hour on July 24, when hundreds of people are provided with a wooden rod – which has now taken the place of the ancient buceddu (dry twig of a wild plant), approach the stairs to ignite the tiles. In the darkness, the light of the tiles is a continuous crescendo of flickering lights until their natural oil is exhausted.
The show is repeated again on August 14 and 15 for Blessed Virgin Mary of the Bridge.

 

  Click to listen highlighted text! Festival of the patron saint San Giacomo – The Illuminated Staircase In order to find the origins of the festival of San Giacomo in Caltagirone it is necessary to go back more than 900 years ago: San Giacomo the Apostle was in fact proclaimed “protector of the city of Caltagirone” by Count Ruggero the Norman in the year 1090, following the victory over the Saracens which was consummated on July 25 of that year. A deep and ancient bond still binds those from Caltagirone to their patron. Due to the earthquake of 1693 it is said that the people took refuge in the Basilica of San Giacomo, which was severely damaged but kept the chapel intact, which housed the silver housing and palanquin. According to tradition it is because of San Giacomo, as well as having saved the city from the various rulers, it protects the city from earthquakes. And for this reason, the slightest shock is seen by many in the invocation “San Giacomo protector”. In honor of the patron saint San Giacomo, in the evenings of July 24 and 25, the Santa Maria del Monte staircase, a symbol of the city of Caltagirone, is artistically illuminated to offer a unique spectacle. Even on the morning of July 23rd, the staircase is offered to the curious eyes of citizens and visitors who try to find the best view point from there – or at the town hall square on Via Principe Amedeo – to see the design in its entirety. However, the highlight comes at the appointed hour on July 24, when hundreds of people are provided with a wooden rod – which has now taken the place of the ancient buceddu (dry twig of a wild plant), approach the stairs to ignite the tiles. In the darkness, the light of the tiles is a continuous crescendo of flickering lights until their natural oil is exhausted. The show is repeated again on August 14 and 15 for Blessed Virgin Mary of the Bridge.  

 

 


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