In Caltagirone: a photo gallery - In the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies - CycleBlaze

April 9, 2019

In Caltagirone: a photo gallery

This day started with the best of intentions.  We had a fine breakfast at our B&B, a place we’re very happy with: Palazzo dei Vespri.  It’s in a great location, accommodates the bikes well, it pretty much perfect.  After that we went out to explore Caltagirone while the day warms up a bit - we’re high up here at 1,800’, and it is quite chilly and windy this morning.  We had a longer ride under consideration, but we thought we’d first see the town while it’s still light and we’re fresh for a change.  

There’s a lot to see in Caltagirone - it’s really a must see destination on the island in my view - so our exploration kept extending out.  Like much of this part of the island, the city was destroyed in the great earthquake of 1693 and its monuments were rebuilt in the baroque style.  It has its share of spectacularly ornate churches, ceramic works everywhere you look, and its famous staircase.

Eventually our plan morphed into having a light lunch somewhere, and then a break to digest a bit back at the room before going out on a shorter ride - at least one long enough to test out the new GoPro mount.

We had a bit more than a light lunch.  Rachael had a healthy salad, I had a delicious gnocchi with pistachio and pancetta, and we shared some cheesy roasted potatoes; plus a bit of wine. We digested a bit, got comfortable back at the room, and didn’t think about heading out again until four.  Now though, it’s overcast, quite windy, and feeling cold.  Walking some more just seemed to make more sense than hopping on the bikes, so we did that.  Which was a great choice, because we got farther away and made it out to the attractive public gardens on the edge of town.

Afterwards we walked back to our neighborhood, dropped in to a cafe for a cup of tea to warm ourselves up from the cold wind, and went back to the room until it was time for pizza.  So, a great day but no bikes.  Just some pics, to prove that we didn’t just stay in the room all day and read books or watch the tube.

Saint Francis Church
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A detail of the facade of Saint Francis Church. I especially like this - it looks like a dessert. A sandstone torte?
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Steve Miller/GrampiesGreat, now you also are tracking tortes.
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Scott AndersonYup. That one was especially for you. I’ve been feeling badly about the dearth of cow shots so far.
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Saint Francis Bridge
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On Saint Francis Bridge, enjoying the sun.
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Piazza Umberto, with the bell tower and dome of the cathedral, the Basilica of Saint Julian
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The dome of the Basilica of Saint Julian
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The facade of the Basilica of Saint Julian
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The clock tower, the Basilica of Saint Julian
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The central nave, the Basilica of Saint Julian
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In the Basilica of Saint Julian
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One of the two side aisles of the Basilica of Saint Julian
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In the Basilica of Saint Julian
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In Piazza Umberto, enjoying the day. When we passed through later in the day when it was overcast and windy, the square was nearly empty.
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Jacquie GaudetThe first thing I notice is that those "enjoying the day" are all old men. Where are the old women? I hope they are out riding their bikes, but I doubt it.
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Scott AndersonTo Jacquie GaudetYes, I noticed that too. There was a second bench on the square, also filled with old guys. I assume the wimmenfolk are off hanging the wash or at the market, which is just as it should be.
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I’m not sure what this overgrown church in the distance is - San Stephane perhaps.
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The shadow of the Church of Saint Agata
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The Church of Saint Agata. Zoom in to see the ceramic tile work.
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Piazza Municipio, in front of the city hall
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The 142 step Santa Maria del Monte staircase connecting the upper and lower city is Caltagirone’s best known feature.
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The steps are built of lava stone, with painted ceramic tile risers. Each riser has a different pattern.
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The Santa Maria del Monte staircase
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The tile patterns seem to get more detailed and elaborate toward the top, which seems fair. It’s a lot of work getting up to them.
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The view looking down the staircase from the top is spectacular.
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It’s a great morning to sit and soak in the sun.
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The Church of Santa Maria del Monte, which stands just above the top of the staircase
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In the church of Santa Maria del Monte
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In the church of Santa Maria del Monte
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The balustrade separating the public gardens from Via Roma is topped with ceramic urns and ornaments for its entire length - over a third of a mile.
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Each hand painted urn is a unique take on the same theme, a grotesque face and a scene from daily life - tailors, shopkeepers, field workers, even a bicycle.
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In the public gardens
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In the public gardens
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In the public gardens. This figure, Inverno, is one of a set of four at the entrance to the park, depicting the four seasons. I like this one for the intense lichen coloration of her shawl and face.
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Bruce LellmanGreat photos!
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Scott AndersonThanks, Bruce. There’s certainly plenty to take in. A target for icy environment. I could have thrown in a cat photo too, but it seemed excessive.
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Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Scott AndersonCats are never excessive. Great churches in this place. Love the colours and shapes.
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