Caltagirone city of ceramics

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Located in central Sicily, in the center of the Calatino territory, it is famous for the production of ceramics, an activity that has developed over the centuries starting from the times of the ancient Greeks.

Located in central Sicily, in the center of the Calatino territory, it is famous for the production of ceramics, an activity that has developed over the centuries starting from the times of the ancient Greeks. After a glorious past which saw it, for over two millennia, a privileged stronghold for the Byzantines, Arabs, Genoese and Normans, who controlled the two plains, that of Catania and Gela, today it is experiencing a period of renewed development, thanks mainly to two great resources, tourism and ceramic production. Rich in churches, valuable palaces and eighteenth-century villas, due to the exceptional value of its monumental heritage it is one of the municipalities in the Val di Noto that has been declared a World Heritage Site. The city is located on the saddle connecting the Erei and the Iblei crossed by the S.S.417, which connects it to Catania and Gela. Caltagirone is located approximately 70 km south-west of the capital, 60 km from Ragusa and Enna and 37 km from Gela, which opens onto the sea. The city (608 meters above sea level - upper part) is spread over three hills adjacent to the Erei mountain chain and has an urban layout in which the part of the historic centre, located higher up, is clearly distinct from the area of new expansion, further up southeast. The 15th-17th centuries were the golden age of the "City of Ceramics", which then was enriched with churches, institutes, colleges and convents. The university was also born in which law, philosophy and medicine were taught, as well as a hospital which was among the best in Sicily. In those centuries the city's population always hovered around 20,000 inhabitants, of which a thousand were ceramists. In 1671, due to famine, around 2000 people died from hunger and hardship. 1693 is the year that marks a dramatic, radical turning point for Caltagirone as well as for the whole of eastern Sicily. A catastrophic earthquake razed it to the ground along with ten other cities: a huge disaster that cost the lives of around 100 thousand people. Over the course of about ten years, the city resurrected with a baroque face, the one it still substantially retains today. In 1900 Caltagirone was a symbolic city of Don Luigi Sturzo's Italian popularism. Caltagirone was also the symbol of the anti-fascist movement, in fact Don Luigi Sturzo opposed fascism and for this reason had to take refuge first in London and then in New York. In the Second World War Caltagirone suffered heavy bombing by the Anglo-Americans which destroyed some significant monuments for the city. From the sixties to the seventies, due to insufficient economic development, Caltagirone suffered a massive exodus of population towards the northern regions, until in the following decade there was a new growth in the economy, due to the development of artisan activity and construction with the expansion of the new city. Today Caltagirone is one of the most important tourist destinations in Sicily, thanks to its artistic heritage, unique traditions and the beauty of its viewpoints. Among its most conspicuous resources are the museums (regional ceramic museum, Exhibition of Sicilian puppets, Civic Gallery of Contemporary Art, and many others), the churches (there are more than 50), the villas (Villa Patti, Villa Milazzo, and many others) and the facades (Palazzina Magolia rich in terracotta or Balconata ventimiglia in majolica).

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