Italy
Caltagirone

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    • Day82

      Flight of fancy

      January 17, 2019 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

      What raises the blood pressure of the Caltagirone people is this big staircase, the Scalinata di Santa Maria del Monte, which rises from Piazza Municipio to the Chiesa di Santa Maria del Monte, at the top of the town.
      Originally there were several flights of steps separated by small squares built in 1606 to connect the old town on top of the with newer developments on the flatter base.
      These tiers were eventually unified in the 1880s to create the 142-step flight that stands today.

      The Erei mountains, on which Caltagirone perches, separate the plains of Gela and Catania and are fractured by many cracks filled with a very fine clay. Since the paleolithic era, local potters have been capitalising on this abundance aided by a plentiful nearby wood supply for firing their pots. The local ceramic technique was influenced and perfected by the Cretans, who introduced the wheel during the Greek colonization of Sicily in the 8th century BC, then by the Arabs, who introduced the glazing technique, which rendered the ceramic objects impermeable to water, in the 9th century. Under the Arab rule the town took the name of Qal ‘at al Gharùn or qal’at-al-ghiran meaning “Castle (or fortress) of vases” with reference to the processing of clay.

      So in 1956, hand-painted majolica tiles were added to the riser of the steps to celebrate the town's ceramic heritage. The motives alternate between a row of tiles with a floral or organic pattern, a row of geometric patterns and a row of figurative decorative patterns..
      In case you can't wait to see them, the best times are:
      * in May, when it becomes “flowered” in honor of the Madonna, (the Scala Infiorata in honor of the Madonna di Conadomini;
      * at the the end of July when it is illuminated by 4000 coloured oil lamps (coppi) on the occasion of the feast of the Holy Patron, Saint Giacomo;
      * during the mid-August nights when it is lit up again;
      * at Christmas the stairs are decorated with cyclamen and Christmas stars.
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      Tony Hammond

      Like your stile Rols....

      1/22/19Reply
      Tony Hammond

      Enough to drive you potty....C.

      2/2/19Reply
      Rose Siva

      Wow.......

      2/2/19Reply
       
    • Day98

      A Treasure

      February 2, 2019 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

      This site as been occupied since the Bronze Age, but the ruins look as though they are not more than 100 years old. The important part however, is the part you don't see. For buried underneath this rubble - somewhere unspecified - there lies a fortune in treasure waiting to reveal itself to the right candidate. The lucky man will be the first Moor who rides a white horse 5 or 6 kilometres from the little church of San Giuseppe in the middle of Caltagirone to San Mauro. Unfortunately for him, he has to canter without spilling a drop of water from a brimming glass held in his hand. Of course, he is allowed to choose in which hand, left or right, to grasp it.
      Nobody could tell me when the last Arab had attempted the feat, from which I deduce not too many have tried. Alas, I am not black enough.
      Read more

      Tony Hammond

      Perhaps they should advertise it in the Moorish Times?

      2/12/19Reply
       
    • Day82

      A subtle warning to all husbands!

      January 17, 2019 in Italy ⋅ 🌧 9 °C

      The Moors dominated Sicily around the year 1100.
      At that time, there lived in the Kalsa district of Palermo 'a beautiful girl with pink skin comparable to peach blossoms at the height of flowering and a nice pair of eyes that seemed to reflect the beautiful Gulf of Palermo '. The young girl was almost always at home.
      One day a young Moor passing by saw the gorgeous damsel taking care of the plants on her balcony. In an instant he was smitten and, filled with desire, he knew he must have her at any cost. Without a second's delay he entered the girl's house and immediately declared his love. The girl, struck by the passion with which he declared his ardour, returned his love in full; and they lived together as happy as happy can be.
      Alas, some time later, the Moor came to tell her that he must leave Sicily and return home to the East, where a wife with two sons awaited him.
      Surprised, hurt and above all furious as only a betrayed Sicilian can be, she plotted to make him stay with her.
      That night, she cooked him a nice dinner and later as soon as he fell asleep she struck off his head and made it into a flower pot. The she planted some basil in it and stuck the vase on the balcony for all to see. Thus the Moor would never be able to leave and would remain with her - forever.
      Meanwhile, the basil grew lush and aroused the envy of all the inhabitants of the neighbourhood, who, not to be outdone, made imitations of the Moor's head in terracotta.
      And to this day on Sicilian balconies you can admire the "Heads of Moro", sometimes called "Turk's heads", although now they exist in different versions, representing three of the subsequent empires which ruled over Sicily, the Byzantines, the Arabs and Normans.
      Read more

      Tony Hammond

      Heady stuff leaving you wanting Moor.....

      1/22/19Reply
      Tony Hammond

      Not very more-ish really......C.

      2/2/19Reply
       
    • Day82

      Caltagirone views

      January 17, 2019 in Italy ⋅ 🌧 9 °C

      Another taste of town
      + The Taking of the Bell of Altavilla to Caltagirone, (Polychrome maiolica mosaic in the square of Santa Maria del Monte.)
      + The bank and the church, not quite joined at the hip
      + Ceramics everywhere
      + Little piazza with no name
      + Horse. "Good government and liberty. 1283" Haven't found the explanation yet!
      + Unexpected interior of the former Theater Garibaldi, today known as Sturzo Gallery
      Read more

      Tony Hammond

      Perhaps "Good Government & Liberty" had something to do with https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_the_Sicili…

      1/22/19Reply
       
    • Day82

      Caltagirone, Sicily

      January 17, 2019 in Italy ⋅ 🌧 9 °C

      Caltagirone, a UNESCO world heritage site, is one of the eight towns of south-eastern Sicily known as the baroque towns of the Val di Noto, which were almost entirely destroyed and rebuilt after the earthquake of 1693 in which about 100 thousand people died.
      Its main claim to fame is for ceramic production; a millenium old tradition making the town one of the most important ceramic production centers of Sicily, renowned in the entire Mediterranean so they say.
      Nobody wants to live in the old part of town and it is gradually spilling down into the new developments. Can't say I blame them. Access to most buildings is by foot or donkey; no damp proof courses; small, dark rooms; and UNESCO inspired legislation which makes any alteration to the fabric of the houses difficult if not impossible.
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      Tony Hammond

      Glad to see you enjoying pottering around....

      1/22/19Reply
       
    • Day5

      Caltagirone

      September 11, 2021 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

      Caltagirone è la patria della ceramica siciliana, la città è ricca di negozietti che vendono tantissimi manufatti dell'arte calatina, come le “teste di moro”, diventate ormai uno dei simboli dell'isola.
      https://viaggiamorsi.blogspot.com
      www.instagram.com/giuse1976
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    • Day91

      Dead space

      January 26, 2019 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

      In the second half of the 1800s the town council of Caltagirone built in a Gothic-Sicilian style his monumental cemetery, which was recognised as a national monument in 1931.
      The plan is square with a Greek cross made ​​up of 170 arches that form its four main avenues. The architect, Giovan Battista Nicastro, used white stone from the Ragusa area, lava stone from the Etna and the local terracotta and ceramic.
      Over time the grounds have become stuffed with individual tombs, sepulchae and ordinary graves - even the walls external and internal are full of full length interrals.
      Many plots are lined with terracotta tiles depicting angels and demon: these ones frame the ossary where old bones are dumped to recover burial space.
      I thought at first it was something from the Raj but in fact many chapels, designed by the architect Xavier Fragapane, are in Liberty (Art Nouveau) style.
      Unfortunately, the town council has no money to maintain the place and quite a few buildings have been forsaken and robbed. Although some places are leased by families, others have been bought outright and remain in the family even after abandonment. So the Council couldn't do anything even if it wanted to.
      Sic transit gloria mundi.
      Read more

      Tony Hammond

      Stone me, a matter of grave concern....

      1/27/19Reply
      Tony Hammond

      Sic really...C.

      2/2/19Reply
       
    • Day97

      Ceramics

      February 1, 2019 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 13 °C

      This is an example of the sculpture produced by some masters in Caltagirone. They only sell for €150 or thereabouts which seems to me to be a bargain.

      Tony Hammond

      More like bargain basement to me!

      2/12/19Reply
       

    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Caltagirone, カルタジローネ, Кальтаджироне, Caltaggiruni

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