Famous for its blaze-of-colour ceramics, Caltagirone is a magnificent town full of golden and Tiffany-blue church domes. It’s one of eight Val di Noto towns rebuilt after the earthquake of 1693 that are collectively classed as a Unesco World Heritage Site in Sicily.
Caltagirone also has a millennia-long history of pottery production – its name is thought to be of Arabic origin, meaning ‘castle of vases’ – so expect many sights and stores dedicated to this craft. Caltagirone holidays are a chance to discover this fabulous Baroque townscape with its ornately carved, honey-coloured buildings.
On holidays to Caltagirone you can visit noble palaces, the beautiful central square and numerous magnificent churches, taking in the town’s famous ceramic staircase along the way. Then make the most of the excellent local cuisine at your pick of the town’s fine-dining restaurants. Caltagirone is one of Sicily’s most attractive masterpieces, so pay a visit and enjoy ceramics shopping as you explore Italy’s 17th-century heart.
Climb the stairs
The staircase of Santa Maria del Monte was built in 1608. Lined with ceramic tiles, the oldest are on the lower of the 142 steps, while newer ones adorn the top.
Shop for ceramics
Caltagirone has more than 100 pottery workshops to visit. The most impressive items are the detailed Heads of Caltagirone, representing former Sicilian rulers and Moorish figures from history.
See the nativities
Caltagirone has a charming Nativity Museum. Every church and most Italian homes will set up a ‘presepe’ (nativity scene) at Christmas, many examples of which are on display here.