For the Italian businessman, see Francesco Gaetano Caltagirone.
Città di Caltagirone

Coat of arms

Location of Caltagirone in Italy

Coordinates: 37°14′N 14°31′E / 37.233°N 14.517°E / 37.233; 14.517Coordinates: 37°14′N 14°31′E / 37.233°N 14.517°E / 37.233; 14.517
Country Italy
Region Sicily
Province / Metropolitan city Catania (CT)
Frazioni Albanazzo, Colleggiata (Collegiata), Favarella, Granieri, Mulino Buongiovanni, Piano Carbone, Piano San Paolo, Rangasia, San Basilio - Casa Prete, San Mauro, Santo Pietro, Serra Fornazzo, Signore del Soccorso, Villa Gravina, Villa Grazia
  Mayor Giovanni Ioppolo
  Total 382 km2 (147 sq mi)
Elevation 608 m (1,995 ft)
Population (31 December 2014)[1]
  Total 38,828
  Density 100/km2 (260/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Calatini or Caltagironesi
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 95041, 95040
Dialing code 0933
Patron saint St. James
Saint day July 25
Website Official website
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto (South-Eastern Sicily)
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
Type Cultural
Criteria i, ii, iv, v
Reference 1024
UNESCO region Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 2002 (20th Session)

Caltagirone (Sicilian: Caltaggiruni) is a town and comune in the Metropolitan City of Catania, on the island (and region) of Sicily, southern Italy, about 70 kilometres (43 mi) southwest of Catania. It is bounded by the comuni of Acate, Gela, Grammichele, Licodia Eubea, Mazzarino, Mazzarrone, Mineo, Mirabella Imbaccari, Niscemi, Piazza Armerina, San Michele di Ganzaria.

The city is a production center of pottery, particularly maiolica and terra-cotta wares. Nowadays the production is more and more oriented to artistic production of ceramics and terra-cotta sculptures. Other activities are mainly related to agriculture (production of grapes, olives, peaches).


Modern ceramic vase of Caltagirone.
The Taking of the Bell of Altavilla to Caltagirone, polychrome maiolica mosaic
in the square of Santa Maria del Monte, atop the decorated staircase.

The city's name derives from the Arabic "qal'at-al-jarar" ("Castle of [pottery] jars") - a name that attests to the antiquity of the pottery works which are still thriving. It has been inhabited since prehistoric times, as shown by the presence of two necropolises dating from the second millennium BCE and by numerous other archaeological finds. It was later inhabited by the Sicels pre-Roman population.

The Arabs built a castle here that in 1030 was attacked by Ligurian troops under the Byzantine general George Maniakes, who have left traces of Ligurian language in the current dialect. The city flourished under the Norman and Hohenstaufen domination, becoming a renowned center for production of ceramics.

The city was almost completely destroyed by the earthquake of 1693. Many public and private buildings have then been reconstructed in earthquake Baroque style. Primarily for this reason the city has been included, together with the surrounding territory, in an area protected by the UNESCO World Heritage program.

Main sights

A collection of ancient and modern pottery and terra-cotta, dating back to the Magna Grecia period, is available in the local Museum of Pottery, created in 1965.

The main landmark of the city is the 142-step monumental Scalinata di Santa Maria del Monte (Staircase of Santa Maria del Monte), built from 1608 in the old part of the town. The peculiarity is that each step is decorated with different hand-decorated ceramics, using styles and figures derived from the millennial tradition of pottery making. Once a year, on and around the day of the city's patron saint, (St. James, 25 July), the staircase is illuminated with candles of different colours arranged in order to reconstruct an artistic drawing of several tens of meters.

Religious buildings include:


Sister cities

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Caltagirone.


  1. All demographics and other statistics: Italian statistical institute Istat.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/12/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.