Saturday, November 17, 2007


We took the train from Catania and headed for Caltagirone, an hour away (I think, I don't remember), arrived in a daze, asked some old guy where the historical part of town is. There are always old guys hanging outside train stations preying on confused tourists. This old guy was there hustling, using his car as private taxi, we said we will walk, he pointed in some direction, so we started walking in that direction. We haven't gone many steps when he came after us in his car, he gave us a lift up the hill to the historical part of town and dropped us off. We wandered around trying to find a tourism office, we came to see 'La Scala' the famous stairways. We found it on our own.
It was originally intended to be a road cut out of the side of the mountain, to get to the church on top of the hill. Later it was obvious that it was too steep to be a road, it was changed into a steps, 142 of them to be exact. The ceramic tiles on the risers were added in the 50's, each layer is different, no one layer of tiles on each riser is the same. The view from above of the old city is beautiful, there are quaint little vignettes at every corner, really charming, the town was rebuilt in the baroque style after the 1963 earthquake. Ceramic tile making is a major industry here, there's even a ceramic tile museum. There is a large and beautiful garden in the middle of the town.
Caltagirone is a really pleasant place to spend a little time in.

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