Being only a little over an hour away from the island’s second largest city Catania, the city of Caltagirone is the perfect city to spend on a day excursion. The city is nicknamed for being the “city of brightly painted ceramics” and you are sure to see them everywhere. There are many shops and stores to buy some fine crafted pottery or you can walk over to the ceramic steps to truly admire this form of art.
The city’s main attraction is the Scalinata di Santa Maria del Monte which means stairway of Saint Mary of the Mountain.This stairway which has 142 steps connects the old part of the town to the newer directly to the church which is also called Santa Maria of the Mountain. The tiles have both religious and natural designs and has also been decorated by the locals with flowers and candles.
In May during the third weekend the city holds a festival of flowers called Infiorata where citizens lay beds of flowers in intricate designs along the streets and the ceramic steps. Then again, in July the steps are once again lined with beautiful and vibrant flowers and luminous candles to honor the patron saint of the town, St. Peter.
The area of Caltagirone is also well known for the production of peaches, olive oil, and of course grapes. Grab a glass of wine and come admire the city of alluring pottery.
Where to stay? Try Il Casale delle Rose, a rural hotel close by. Owner, Francesco is making some great wine so make sure you get to try his Don Michelangelo (Nerello Cappuccio 85%, and Syrah 15%) and try the culinary delights from the kitchen.
Which wineries to visit? Nearby there are three are wineries to consider visiting: