Caltagirone is a town and comune
In Italy, the comune is the basic administrative division, and may be properly approximated in casual speech by the English word township or municipality.-Importance and function:...

in the province of Catania
Province of Catania
Catania is a province in the autonomous island region of Sicily in Italy. Its capital is the city of Catania.It has an area of 3,552 km², and a total population of 1,073,881 . There are 58 comunes in the province, see Comunes of the Province of Catania...

, on the island (and region) of Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

, about 70 km southwest of Catania
Catania is an Italian city on the east coast of Sicily facing the Ionian Sea, between Messina and Syracuse. It is the capital of the homonymous province, and with 298,957 inhabitants it is the second-largest city in Sicily and the tenth in Italy.Catania is known to have a seismic history and...

. It is bounded by the comuni of Acate
Acate is a small town and comune in the south of Sicily, Italy, part of the province of Ragusa. It is located in the Dirillo River valley, 34 kilometers from Ragusa....

, Gela
Gela is a town and comune in the province of Caltanissetta in the south of Sicily, Italy. The city is at about 84 kilometers distance from the city of Caltanissetta, on the Mediterranean Sea. The city has a larger population than the provincial capital, and ranks second in land area.Gela is an...

, Grammichele
Grammichele ; Latin: Echetla; Medieval: Occhiolà) is a town and comune in the province of Catania in Sicily, southern Italy. It is located at the feet of the Hyblaean Mountains, some 13 km from Caltagirone.-History:...

, Licodia Eubea
Licodia Eubea
Licodia Eubea is a town and comune in the province of Catania, on the island of Sicily. It is bounded by the comuni of Caltagirone, Chiaramonte Gulfi, Giarratana, Grammichele, Mazzarrone, Mineo, Monterosso Almo and Vizzini...

, Mazzarino
Mazzarino is a city and comune in the province of Caltanissetta in the region of Sicily, Italy.The city emerged in the second half of the 13th century. In 1507, the lords of the manor received the title Count of Mazzarini.It is home to two castles.In the 50s, the local friary was theater for the...

, Mazzarrone
Mazzarrone is a comune in the Province of Catania in the Italian region Sicily, located about 160 km southeast of Palermo and about 70 km southwest of Catania....

, Mineo
Mineo is a town and comune in the Province of Catania, part of the Sicily region in southern Italy. It lies 64 km southwest of Catania, 56 km from Ragusa, 54 km from Gela, and 22 km from Caltagirone. There are approximately 5600 citizens living there.It serves as the center...

, Mirabella Imbaccari
Mirabella Imbaccari
Mirabella Imbaccari is a comune in the Province of Catania in the Italian region Sicily, located about 130 km southeast of Palermo and about 60 km southwest of Catania...

, Niscemi
Niscemi is a town and comune in the province of Caltanissetta, Sicily, Italy. It has a population of 26,492.-Etymology:The name Niscemi is derived from the Arabic word نَشَم neshem or its singular form نَشَمَة neshemeh, this being the name of a particular type of tree.-World War II:During World War...

, Piazza Armerina
Piazza Armerina
Piazza Armerina is an Italian comune in the province of Enna of the autonomous island region of Sicily.-History:...

, San Michele di Ganzaria
San Michele di Ganzaria
San Michele di Ganzaria is a comune in the Province of Catania in the Italian region Sicily, located about 130 km southeast of Palermo and about 60 km southwest of Catania...


The city has been long famous for the production of pottery
Pottery is the material from which the potteryware is made, of which major types include earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. The place where such wares are made is also called a pottery . Pottery also refers to the art or craft of the potter or the manufacture of pottery...

, particularly maiolica
Maiolica is Italian tin-glazed pottery dating from the Renaissance. It is decorated in bright colours on a white background, frequently depicting historical and legendary scenes.-Name:...

 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 grape
A grape is a non-climacteric fruit, specifically a berry, that grows on the perennial and deciduous woody vines of the genus Vitis. Grapes can be eaten raw or they can be used for making jam, juice, jelly, vinegar, wine, grape seed extracts, raisins, molasses and grape seed oil. Grapes are also...

s, olive
The olive , Olea europaea), is a species of a small tree in the family Oleaceae, native to the coastal areas of the eastern Mediterranean Basin as well as northern Iran at the south end of the Caspian Sea.Its fruit, also called the olive, is of major agricultural importance in the...

s, peach
The peach tree is a deciduous tree growing to tall and 6 in. in diameter, belonging to the subfamily Prunoideae of the family Rosaceae. It bears an edible juicy fruit called a peach...



The city's name derives from the Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 "qal'at-al-ghiran" ("Hill of Vases"). It was inhabited since pre-historical times, as attested by the presence of two necropoleis dating from the second millennium BCE
2nd millennium BC
The 2nd millennium BC marks the transition from the Middle to the Late Bronze Age.Its first half is dominated by the Middle Kingdom of Egypt and Babylonia. The alphabet develops. Indo-Iranian migration onto the Iranian plateau and onto the Indian subcontinent propagates the use of the chariot...

 and by numerous other archaeological findings. It was later inhabited by the Sicels pre-Roman population.

The Arabs built here a castle, which in 1030 was attacked by Ligurian troops under the Byzantine general George Maniakes, and which have left traces of Ligurian language in the current dialect. The city flourished under the Norman
The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Norse Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock...

 and Hohenstaufen
The House of Hohenstaufen was a dynasty of German kings in the High Middle Ages, lasting from 1138 to 1254. Three of these kings were also crowned Holy Roman Emperor. In 1194 the Hohenstaufens also became Kings of Sicily...

 domination, becoming a renowned center for production of ceramics.

The city was almost completely destroyed by the earthquake of 1693
1693 Sicily earthquake
The 1693 Sicily earthquake refers to a powerful earthquake that struck parts of southern Italy, notably Sicily, Calabria and Malta on January 11, 1693 around 9 pm local time. This earthquake was preceded by a damaging foreshock on January 9th...

. Many public and private buildings have then been reconstructed in earthquake Baroque
Earthquake Baroque
Earthquake Baroque is a style of Baroque architecture found in places like the Philippines and Guatemala, which suffered destructive earthquakes during the 17th century and 18th century, where large public buildings, such as churches were rebuilt in a Baroque style...

 style. Primarily for this reason, the city has been inserted, together with the surrounding territory in an area protected by the UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 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 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
Patron saint
A patron saint is a saint who is regarded as the intercessor and advocate in heaven of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family, or person...

, (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:
  • The Cathedral of St. Julian, of Norman origin, with a twentieth-century art nouveau
    Art Nouveau
    Art Nouveau is an international philosophy and style of art, architecture and applied art—especially the decorative arts—that were most popular during 1890–1910. The name "Art Nouveau" is French for "new art"...

    façade by Saverio Gulli.
  • The Baroque church of San Francesco di Paola. The sacristy is in Gothic
    Gothic architecture
    Gothic architecture is a style of architecture that flourished during the high and late medieval period. It evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture....

     style, dating from before the 1693 earthquake.
  • San Francesco d'Assisi, edified in 1236 and rebuilt in Baroque style after 1693. The façade has two orders with marine symbols and a statue of the Immaculate. The dome is unfinished.
  • Church of the Gesù (1570). The façade has eight statues portraying saints and the Madonna with Child. The interior, one a single nave, houses a Pietà by Filippo Paladino (1607) and Christ's Nativity by Polidoro da Caravaggio.
  • Santa Maria del Monte (12th century).
  • The Renaissance Church of the New Capuchins, in white stone, with a noteworthy treasure and a picture gallery.
  • St. James.
  • Also noteworthy is the Palazzo Senatorio (fifteenth century), the former Town Hall.

Notable people

  • Don Luigi Sturzo
    Luigi Sturzo
    Don Luigi Sturzo was an Italian Catholic priest and politician. Known in his lifetime as a "clerical socialist," Sturzo is considered one of the fathers of Christian democracy. Sturzo was one of the founders of the Partito Popolare Italiano in 1919, but was forced into exile in 1924 with the rise...

     (1871–1959), founder of the Italian People's Party (Italian
    Italian language
    Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

    : Partito Popolare Italiano, later Democrazia Cristiana).
  • Mario Scelba
    Mario Scelba
    Mario Scelba was an Italian Christian Democratic politician who served as the 34th Prime Minister of Italy from February 1954 to July 1955...

     (1901–1991), Minister of the Interior and Prime Minister of Italy from February 1954 to July 1955.
  • Silvio Milazzo
    Silvio Milazzo
    Silvio Milazzo was an Italian Christian Democrat politician and the President of the Regional Government of Sicily from 1958-1960.-Sicilian deputy:...

     (1903–1982), President of the Regional Government of Sicily
    Politics of Sicily
    The Politics of Sicily, Italy takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democracy, whereby the President of Regional Government is the head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the Regional Government...

     from 1958-1960.
  • Vincent Drucci
    Vincent Drucci
    Vincent Drucci, also known as "The Schemer" , was an American mobster during Chicago's Prohibition era who served as a lieutenant under Dean O'Banion's North Side Gang and later as gang boss. Drucci was one of the few mobsters to ever be killed by a law enforcement officer...

     (1898–1927) Chicago
    Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

     North Side Gang
    North Side Gang
    The North Side family Gang, also known as the North Side Mob, was the dominant Irish-American criminal organization within Chicago during the Prohibition era from the early to late 1920s and principal rival of the Johnny Torrio-Al Capone organization, later known as the Chicago Outfit.- Early...

     boss, born here in 1898.

Sister cities

Rijeka is the principal seaport and the third largest city in Croatia . It is located on Kvarner Bay, an inlet of the Adriatic Sea and has a population of 128,735 inhabitants...

, Croatia San Francisco, USA

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