Santa Maria del Monte: the symbol of Caltagirone
One hundred and fourty-two steps that form a staircase about 130 meters long: who has never heard or even seen a picture of the staircase of Santa Maria del Monte in Caltagirone? Every single step is decorated with ceramic tiles and in every riser there is a majolica covering; the decorations are based on typical Sicilian motifs that go from the 10th to the 20th century, creating a unique scenography.
Origin of the Staircase of S. Maria del Monte
The staircase was built in the early 1600s to connect the ancient part of the Caltagirone with the new one built in the highest part of the city , but was completed in the second half of the 1800s. It is ideally divided into ten sectors, one for each century, and each of them is formed by fouteen steps on which are alternate floral, geometric and figurative elements that enclose the soul of the Arab, Norman, Spanish, Baroque, 18th, 19th and contemporary city.
The staircase in the party!
Every year, on the 24th and 25th of July, on the occasion of the feast of St. Giacomo, candles are lit on the steps to light up the city (the other public lights are turned off during these two days): each lamp must be placed in the right place because all together they form a particular decoration. The city attends this moment in a perfect silence, and it is still a tradition that is handed down from father to son.
Furthermore, every year, on the occasion of the feast of Our Lady of Conadomini, compatroness of Caltagirone, the staircase is decorated with vases and coloured flowers that form a single large picture. “La Scala infiorata” is a floral tribute to the Virgin Mary, visible from Piazza Municipio and from Via Principe Amedeo. The 2019 edition has already been set up and was visible until Sunday, the 2nd of June.
If you have not yet seen the Staircase of Santa Maria del Monte and do not know Caltagirone, contact us we will organize a cultural tour tailored for you!
We leave you with some photos to make you just imagine the beauty of this Staircase and to understand why Sicily is the most loved region by tourists!