Caltagirone is a town and comune in the Province of Catania, on the island of Sicily, about 70 km southwest of Catania. It is bounded by the comuni of Acate, Gela, Grammichele, Licodia Eubea, Mazzarino, Mazzarrone, Mineo, Mirabella Imbaccari, Niscemi, Piazza Armerina, San Michele di Ganzaria.
The city has been long famous for the production 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.
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:
- The Cathedral of St. Julian, of Norman origin.
- The Baroque church of San Francesco di Paola.
- San Francesco d'Assisi, edified in 1236 and rebuilt in Baroque style after 1693.
- Church of the Gesù (1570).
- Santa Maria del Monte (12th century).
- The Renaissance Church of the New Capuchins.
- St. James.
- Also noteworthy is the Palazzo Senatorio (fifteenth century), the former Town Hall.