Mosaics and mosaic making information from The joy of shards Mosaics Resource

Caltagirone, Sicily

Caltagirone, in central-southern Sicily (a little to the south of Piazza Armeria), has a long tradition of making ceramics. It seems that few opportunities have been missed to put ceramics to use in decorating the town, and nowhere is this better demonstrated than at La Scala. La Scala is a stairway of 142 steps running up a hill to the church of Santa Maria del Monte. Each of the risers (the vertical part of the steps) has a unique set of hand-painted ceramic tiles, with usually two or three different designs of tile to each step. There are abstract and figurative tiles, heraldic and mythical themes, birds, fish, hunters, sailors, and purely decorative geometric patterns. The predominant colours are blues, greens and yellows. They certainly brighten up what is a fairly strenuous climb! Although the way up the hill has existed for hundreds of years, the tiled risers were only installed in the 1950s.

Near the foot of La Scala is the Corte Capitanale. At one end of this hall is a large modern mosaic celebrating the industrial, commercial and agricultural heritage of Sicily. At the other end is an even larger painted tile panel showing a historical battle scene. Elsewhere in the town are many examples of local ceramic work, perhaps most notably the relief tiles on the San Fransesco bridge. There are 140 photos of tiles and mosaic work in Caltagirone in this section. You can:

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