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Caltagirone - Sicilian Unesco World Heritage





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Caltagirone a city of some 39,000 inhabitants is a town in the province of Catania, famous for its Sicilian ceramics. Caltagirone, city of ceramics – The reason behind it all rests in the inexhaustible deposits of clay occurring in the area.

Caltagirone - Sicilian Unesco World Heritage

  2. Caltagirone Caltagirone is a town in the province of Catania, on the island (and region) of Sicily, about 70 km SW of Catania. The city has been long famous for the production of pottery and terra-cotta wares. Nowadays the production is more and more oriented to artistic production of ceramics and terra-cotta sculptures. Caltagirone este un ora ş situat în provincia Catania, în insula (şi regiunea) Sicilia, la cca 70 km sud-vest de Catania. Oraşul este faimos datoritã producţiei de ceramicã şi faianţã, o tradiţie milenarã. În zilele noastre producţia este orientatã tot mai mult spre creaţia artisticã de ceramicã şi sculptura de teracotta
  4. Caltagirone The city was almost completely destroyed by the severe earthquake of 1693. Many public and private buildings have then been reconstructed in earthquake Baroque style. Primarily for this reason, the city has been inserted, together with the surrounding territory in an area protected by the UNESCO World Heritage program. Oraşul a fost distrus aproape total de cutremurul catastrofal din 1693. Multe clãdiri publice sau private au fost apoi re construite în stil baroc sicilian , motiv pentru care oraşul a fost inclus în patrimoniul mondial UNESCO. C hurch of San Francesco d'Assisi Casa Ventimiglia via Roma
  5. Palace of Magnolie street Don Luigi Sturzo
  7. C E R A M I C A Tradizione milenaria
  8. Caltagirone But the ceramics aren't limited to the shops, there are splashes of hand painted color on markers and benches throughout the town and even a beautifully decorated bridge on the walk to the ceramics museum. Elsewhere in the town are many examples of local ceramic work, perhaps most notably the relief tiles on the San Fransesco bridge. Dar ceramica nu este expus ã doar î n maga zine sau muzee ci este utilizatã în decorarea întregului oraş unde poţi vedea peste tot minunate exemplare de ceramicã tradiţionalã. Exemple spectaculoase sunt podul San Francesco, scara monumentalã sau zidul de protecţie de pe Via Roma.
  10. Housed within the Teatrino, a 1700’s building decorated with majolica, the Ceramics Museum ( created in 1965 ) traces the history of the local ceramic industry from the Prehistory to the early 1900 O superb ă colecţie de ceramică şi teracotă datând din preistorie până în zilele noastre se află la Muzeul de Ceramică deschis în 1965 în clădirea Teatrino (1700)
  12. Via Roma Piazza Marconi
  13. Piazza Marconi, San Francesco da Paola
  14. Piazza Marconi, San Francesco da Paola Bronze doors by Mario Lucerna (1926-2007)
  15. Tondo Vecchio scenografic curved stone and brick building (architect Francesco Battaglia ) Tondo Vecchio scenografic curved stone and brick building (architect Francesco Battaglia )
  18. Statu e of baron Gualtiero da Caltagirone , t he head of the rebels of Caltagirone and supporter of a republican pope-like politics, killed in 1282 in Caltagirone
  19. T he majolica bridge, also named after St. Francis, which carries the road into the very heart of the town. Podul San Francesco, decorat cu ceramică
  20. Sound : Sicilian Folk Music – Sicilia Mia Text: Internet Pictures : Internet: slides 1- 6 Sanda Foişoreanu Otilia Contra ş Arangement : Sanda Foişoreanu

Editor's Notes

  • Caltagirone - Sicilian Unesco World Heritage Caltagirone, in the province of Catania, is a city of some 39,000 inhabitants.
  • Furhter along via Roma, on the right hand side, is the splendid balcony of Casa Ventimiglia, named after the local artist responsible for its maiolica decoration, supported on richly decorated brackets bearing masks and gargoyles.
  • The via Roma, the city thoroughfare, bisects the town into two units, running up to the well-known stairway of S. Maria del Monte. It is lined with some of the city’s most interesting buildings, many with majolica decorations. Near its start, on the left, begins the elegant balustraded enclosure of the Villa Comunale (public garden) and the Teatrino (housing the Ceramics Museum).
  • Villa Comunale – It is a beautiful garden designed by the architect Basile at the half of the 19th century modelled on the English gardens. The edge with via Roma is marked by an ornamented balustrade topped with vases with disturbingly devilish faces alternated with bright green pine-cones and majolica light stands. The garden is threaded by a series of shaded pathways which open out into secluded spaces ornamented by ceramic sculptures, figures and fountains. The most impressive open area is graced with a delightful bandstand decorated with Moorish-looking elements and glazed panels of majolica.
  • HISTORY Caltagirone, city of ceramics – The reason behind it all rests in the inexhaustible deposits of clay occurring in the area. The ease with which this raw material can be extracted has underpinned the success of the terracotta potteries, in manufacturing tableware especially, for distribution throughout the region. Local shapes gave way to Greek influences (as trade increased). This soon became one of the town’s main activities. The production improved becoming more efficient and more precise and the wheel was introduced (by the Cretans in about 1000 BC). The critical turning point, however, was the arrival of the Arabians in the 9th century, for, with them, practices were changed irrevocably. They introduced Eastern designs and also glazing techniques that rendered objects impermeable to water. The art became more sophisticated as exquisite geometric patterning and stylised decoration were modelled on plants and animals. Blue, green and yellow were the predominant colours. The Arabian contribution to the city culture is honored in the name of the town, that according to the most intriguing hypothesis, might be derived from the Moorish for “castle” or “fortress of vases”.
  • Tastes and demands remarkably changed under the Spanish. The painted decoration was predominantly monochrome (blue or brown) and comprised organic designs or coat of arms of some noble family or religious order. The city entered a period of prosperity thanks to the new industries in the area. The honey production became particularly important, and honey-makers soon became the potters’ most assiduous customers. The “quartaro” (deriving from “quartara”, an amphorae with a capacity of 1,25 litres), a new figure of ceramics artisan, appeared, supplementing the old “cannataro” (deriving from the word “cannata” meaning jug). Organizing themselves into confraternities, they opened their workshops in a large area south of the town, within the city walls.
  • Besides ceramic tables and kitchenware, Caltagirone established itself for the making of tiles and ornamental plaques for domes and floors, church and palazzi façades. Among the greatest artists between the 16th and the 18th century were the Gagini brothers and Natale Bonajuti. In the 17th century decorative medallions filled with figurative vignettes of effigies of saints (typical in products from all over Sicily) became popular; a century later, moulded relief was applied to vases with elaborate volutes and polychrome decoration. The 19th century saw a period of decline, arrested only in part by the production of figurines, often used in Nativity cribs. In the second half of the century, this form of art reached new heights of excellence in the hands of such masters as Dongiovanni and Vaccaro.
  • Museo della Ceramica – Housed within the Teatrino, a 1700’s building decorated with majolica, the Ceramics Museum traces the history of the local ceramic industry from the Prehistory to the early 1900’s. The diffusion and importance of moulded clay is exemplified by an elegant Krater of the 5th century BC bearing a potter working at his wheel being watched by a young apprentice. The 17th century is notably represented, with albarello drug jars painted in shades of yellow, blue and green, amphorae and vases with medallions depicting religious or profane subjects.
  • TOURISM The visitors of Caltagirone cannot fail to notice the outward signs of a thriving industry now synonymous with the name of the place: brightly painted ceramics not only fill shop windows with a profusion of vases, plates and other household goods, they also decorate bridges, balustrades, frontages and balconies. This bears witness to an art which, here, is as old as the origins of the town itself.
  • Where to buy Glazed earthenware is offered for sale by endless numbers of shops in the town centre and on either side of the Scala di Santa Maria del Monte. For an overview of what is produced locally, seek out the Mostra Mercato on Via Vittorio Emanuele, displaying representative examples of work by some of the town’s craftsmen. WHERE TO EAT By the steps leading up the Scala of Santa Maria del Monte, on the right, is the La Scala restaurant. This occupies a fine 18th century building which has rooms on the ground floor where spring water still flows, the equivalent of running water at the time when it was built.
  • Past the Tondo Vecchio, a curved stone and brick building, sits (on the right) the imposing façade of the church of S. Francesco d’Assisi and, beyond it, the majolica bridge, also named after St. Francis, which carries the road into the very heart of the town.
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