Caltagirone sightseeing & shopping

Shopping for ceramics and seeing the sights of Caltagirone

Sights in Caltagirone

The Museo Regionale della Ceramica, off Via Roma in the Parco Pubblico (tel. +39-0933-58-418 or +39-0933-58-423), traces the development of ceramics in Sicily from the Neolithic era (2000 BC) and the Greeks through 20th-century workshops, with of course a special concentration on Caltagirone production. Especially good are the collections of 17th- and 18th-century anthropomorphic head vases, and the delicate peasant figurine scenes of 19th-century master Bongiovanni, his protégé Vaccaro, and their workshop—groupings that look like they stepped out of a Renaissance Flemish painting.. (Giardino Pubblico ''Vittorio Emanuele'' fino al 1-19; tel. +39-0933-58-418 or +39-0933-58-423;; Adm: €3; open daily 9am–6pm)

Caltagirone's sightseeing showcase is the Scalinata di Santa Maria del Monte, 142 steps inlaid with colorful ceramic tiles. The stairs were built in 1606, but the idea to plate the risers with majolica didn't come until 1954. Each stair represents a common pattern from each decade, starting with the 10th century. (Via Ex Matrice 113; tel. +39-0933-21712;

Lots of structures around town incorporate ceramics, giving the city a singularly colorful fabric. The best include the bridge of San Francesco (1666), the balcony on Via Roma just past Via San Pietro (1700s), and the facade of San Pietro (1856), studded with rows of tiny blue ceramic pyramids.

Ceramics shopping in Caltagirone

The often intricate patterns and calliope of colors (blue, green, and yellow being most traditional) hint at the early Moorish stamp on the local style. Caltagirone traditionally specializes in plates, tableware, large anthropomorphic vases, and detailed peasant figurines.

Larger ceramics firms and galleries

The Mostra Permanente della Ceramica, off Piazza Municipio at Corso V. Emanuele 7–9 (tel. 0933-56-444), is a huge central showroom displaying wares from about 1/3 of the top artisan shops in town. It's good for determining which studios you may want to visit personally, but the prices are steep.

A similar outfit with considerably lower prices is, Via Roma 3–5 (tel. 0933-56-967), another artisans' consortium. The selection is more hit-or-miss—mainly irregulars or studio overstock—but dig around enough and you can find some great gems.

On a budget, CEAR Via P. Amadeo 14–16 (tel. 0933-26-786) does pleasingly simple patterns and pictures and has the best prices in town—still quality artisan work, just a tad more mass-produced.

Individual potters and artists' studios

If you prefer visiting a single studio, the work of Maurizio Patrì, with a bottega at Via Grazia 14–31 and a showroom at Via Roma 17 (tel. +39-0933-26-850), is very expensive, but worth it. He makes some of the highest-quality, most artistic, and downright prettiest ceramics in town, and still practices the dying art of crafting terra-cotta figurines.

Two other respected artisans—bother offering high-quality works with parrticularly rich patterns at farily high prices—are Giuseppe Di Martino, near the museum at Via Roma 88 (tel. 0933-57-729), and Ricardo Varsellona, off Via Roma at Discesa Collegio 1 between Piazza Municipio and Piazza Umberto I (tel. +39-0933-53-139).

I'm also partial to the small shop of the young, inventive Salvatore Stabene, Via S. G. Bosco 47 (tel. +39-0933-23-530), and the good, old-fashioned designs (lovely pomegranates) and stylings of Di. Fra, Piazza Municipio 16 (tel. +39-0933-57-221).

Tips & links


Caltagirone tourist office:
Via Volta Libertini 4/Piazza Umberto (upstairs in the Palazzo Libertini di S. Marco)
tel. +39-0933-53-809

Hotels in Caltagirone
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Caltagirone tourist office:
Via Volta Libertini 4/Piazza Umberto (upstairs in the Palazzo Libertini di S. Marco)
tel. +39-0933-53-809

Hotels in Caltagirone

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