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Caltaggiruni (Sicilian)
Città di Caltagirone
Belvedere Santa Maria del Monte.JPG
Coat of arms of Caltagirone
Location of Caltagirone
Caltagirone is located in Italy
Location of Caltagirone in Italy
Caltagirone is located in Sicily
Caltagirone (Sicily)
Coordinates: 37°14′15″N 14°30′45″E / 37.23750°N 14.51250°E / 37.23750; 14.51250Coordinates: 37°14′15″N 14°30′45″E / 37.23750°N 14.51250°E / 37.23750; 14.51250
Metropolitan cityCatania (CT)
FrazioniAlbanazzo, 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
 • MayorGiovanni Ioppolo
 • Total382 km2 (147 sq mi)
608 m (1,995 ft)
 (30 June 2017)[2]
 • Total38,391
 • Density100/km2 (260/sq mi)
DemonymCalatini or Caltagironesi
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
95041, 95040
Dialing code0933
Patron saintSt. James
Saint dayJuly 25
WebsiteOfficial website
Part ofLate Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto (South-Eastern Sicily)
CriteriaCultural: (i)(ii)(iv)(v)
Inscription2002 (26th Session)
Area22.9 ha (2,460,000 sq ft)
Buffer zone47.86 ha (5,152,000 sq ft)

Caltagirone (Italian: [kaltadʒiˈroːne]; Sicilian: Caltaggiruni [kaltaddʒɪˈɾuːnɪ]; Latin: Calata Hieronis) is an inland city 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 the fifth most populous municipality of the Metropolitan City, behind Catania, Acireale, Misterbianco and Paternò. Alongside Catania, it is the only town who is seat of a tribunal in the former province. Since 1987, the comune has obtained the City title, through presidential act. After Caltanissetta, it is the second most populous comune in Central Sicily.

The town 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), third-sector activities and tourism.


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 necropoleis 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 were then reconstructed in a Sicilian 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.

In May 29, 1860, the town was looted by the Bourbon army led by general Gaetano Afan de Rivera, while fleeing from the Garibaldini forces towards Catania.[3]

During the first part of the XX Century, it was the house of Italian Christian democracy, due to the presence of renowned politician Luigi Sturzo. Later, the town expressed various nationwide politician, such as Italian Prime minister Mario Scelba, and Sicilian president Silvio Milazzo.

Today, Caltagirone is a mid-tier Sicilian town. It is one of the 25 most populous town in Sicily, and one of the 250 most populous in Italy.


The municipality borders with Acate (RG), Gela (CL), Grammichele, Licodia Eubea, Mazzarino (CL), Mazzarrone, Mineo, Mirabella Imbaccari, Niscemi (CL), Piazza Armerina (EN) and San Michele di Ganzaria.[4] Its hamlets (frazioni) of Albanazzo, Colleggiata (or 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 and Villa Grazia.

Main sights[edit]

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, (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:

  • San Giuliano: Cathedral of Norman origin, dedicated to St Julian, with a twentieth-century art nouveau façade by Saverio Gulli.
  • San Francesco di Paola: Baroque church; the sacristy is in Gothic style, dating from before the 1693 earthquake.
  • San Francesco: Church dedicated to St Francis of Assisi, built originally 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.
  • Chiesa del Gesù: Church of Jesus, built by Jesuits. (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 di Gesù: adjacent to Franciscan convent, with Madonna statue by Gagini
  • Santa Maria del Monte (12th century).
  • The Renaissance Church of the New Capuchins, in white stone, with a noteworthy treasure and a picture gallery.
  • San Giacomo
  • San Giorgio - church contains an altarpiece attributed to Rogier van der Weyden
  • Also noteworthy is the Palazzo Senatorio (15th century), the former Town Hall.
Santa Maria del Monte.
Modern ceramic vase of Caltagirone.


Sister cities[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Superficie di Comuni Province e Regioni italiane al 9 ottobre 2011". Italian National Institute of Statistics. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  2. ^ All demographics and other statistics: Italian statistical institute Istat.
  3. ^ Dizionario geografico dei comuni della Sicilia e delle frazioni comunali, by Giuseppe di Vita; Editor: F Pravata, Palermo; 1906; page 43.
  4. ^ 39180 (x a j h) Caltagirone on OpenStreetMap

External links[edit]