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Caltagirone

Who, coming at least once to Sicily, has never seen a Moorish head in a balcony or in a pottery shop, have you? Caltagirone’s ceramic pots, cups, jars always depict a fair skinned woman and a black man but, behind this duo, there is a love affair with a mixture of violence and folly. The legend tells of a beautiful Sicilian girl and a Moorish merchant who fell in love with her. They lived happily together for a while, until she found out he had a wife and children waiting for him in his homeland. In a fit of rage, she cut his head off and hid it into a ceramic pot, planting basil on it. Caltagirone is the town of pottery. It is really an amazing testament to creative skill of Caltagirone’s potters that has made it deserve the Arabic name Kalat al Giran, town of vases. The whole town is about ceramics: San Francesco’s bridge, San Pietro’s church and the fabulous stairs of Santa Maria della Pietà, pottery is everywhere. The staircase is a spectacular example of how art and history commingle in Sicily: every step has interesting inlaid tiles that adorn each tier. Its side streets, leading off the steps, are full of artisan workshops and there is a great view at the top of it. Besides Caltagirone has been awarded the UNESCO heritage title in 2002, so you must spend time visiting the liberty style Cathedral of San Giuliano, and the late baroque churches of San Francesco, Santa Chiara, San Giacomo. Wander around the Villa Comunale, typical English garden, containing a central maiolica Gazebo, statues, fountains, flower beds blooming and trees for shade. It’s adorned with terracotta vases and ceramic tiles. Caltagirone is a real ceramic jewel. It's a must go

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