The Floral Staircase for Our Lady of Conadomini
La scala infiorata diurno 4 - Enzo Piluso in Archivio Fotografico Musei Civici L. Sturzo Caltagirone

Along with the famous Illuminated Staircase in July and August, from mid-May to mid-June, the Santa Maria del Monte staircase offers an equally impressive show: “The Floral Staircase”, is a tribute to Our Lady of Conadomini, patron of the city of Caltagirone.
Thousands of vases with plants in different shades of color, form one grand design on the 142 steps of the famous staircase.
Our Lady of Conadomini is a sacred image of the Virgin Mary, depicted in a painting by the good school, perhaps even Byzantine. It was brought to Caltagirone in 1225 by the noble Campochiaro family, and was donated at the end of the 16th century to the main church dedicated to the Assumption. The Madonna is shown seated with her Child Jesus and wrapped in a mantle studded with stars. It was displayed instead of the Christ Carrying the Cross, at the center of a polyptych called “cona” (hence the name Cona Domini), whenever major disasters, drought, pestilence or famine afflicted the local community.
In addition to the “Illuminated Staircase” among the many manifestations in its honor it is so-called “Rusedda” parade of floats, tractors and trucks decorated with “Rusedda” or the cistus plant, collected in Santo Pietro forest that once was needed for “crockeries” (potters), firewood ovens. The colorful procession is preceded by a banner (triunfu) with the sacred image of the Conadomini and is characterized by the sound of “brogne” (large shells), transformed into wind instruments. In the past, “Rusedda” bundles were sold to the pottery workshops and the proceeds were donated to the church. Even today, farmers and devotees wearing traditional colorful costumes bring gifts in the lavishly decorated wagons (then on mules) to the church dedicated to Our Lady, who for centuries has been the main patron of the city.

 

 

  Click to listen highlighted text! Along with the famous Illuminated Staircase in July and August, from mid-May to mid-June, the Santa Maria del Monte staircase offers an equally impressive show: “The Floral Staircase”, is a tribute to Our Lady of Conadomini, patron of the city of Caltagirone. Thousands of vases with plants in different shades of color, form one grand design on the 142 steps of the famous staircase. Our Lady of Conadomini is a sacred image of the Virgin Mary, depicted in a painting by the good school, perhaps even Byzantine. It was brought to Caltagirone in 1225 by the noble Campochiaro family, and was donated at the end of the 16th century to the main church dedicated to the Assumption. The Madonna is shown seated with her Child Jesus and wrapped in a mantle studded with stars. It was displayed instead of the Christ Carrying the Cross, at the center of a polyptych called “cona” (hence the name Cona Domini), whenever major disasters, drought, pestilence or famine afflicted the local community. In addition to the “Illuminated Staircase” among the many manifestations in its honor it is so-called “Rusedda” parade of floats, tractors and trucks decorated with “Rusedda” or the cistus plant, collected in Santo Pietro forest that once was needed for “crockeries” (potters), firewood ovens. The colorful procession is preceded by a banner (triunfu) with the sacred image of the Conadomini and is characterized by the sound of “brogne” (large shells), transformed into wind instruments. In the past, “Rusedda” bundles were sold to the pottery workshops and the proceeds were donated to the church. Even today, farmers and devotees wearing traditional colorful costumes bring gifts in the lavishly decorated wagons (then on mules) to the church dedicated to Our Lady, who for centuries has been the main patron of the city.    

 

 


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