The famed tiled steps of Caltagirone
Caltagirone is a bit more than an hour southwest of us, and is easy enough to get to. The city is charming and one of its tourist draws are the Scala di Santa Maria del Monte, or the stairs that lead to the Santa Maria del Monte church. Caltagirone has made its name in ceramics for centuries. As a U.S. citizen, it was humbling to wander the old streets of Caltagirone and ponder that artisans had been selling their wares in these shops for centuries before our nation was even a glint in the eye of the pilgrims. The innovation, enthusiasm, and pure joy that are woven into the U.S. capitalist society are heady and intoxicating; in a completely opposite way, the stability, tradition and timelessness of Caltagirone was heady and intoxicating.
We wandered and dined there with Uncle Bill, and it was easily one of the better evenings I have had here – great company, a touch of ancient magic, delicious food, and modern life bustling around us. We randomly parked and stumbled our way toward where we believed Santa Maria del Monte Chiesa to be (chiesa = church). As such, I cannot offer directions or parking hints, but I can assure you that just getting close and parking is a fine way to experience Caltagirone.