Past Italia: Santa Maria del Monte

La Scalinata di Santa Maria del Monte climbs to the church of St Mary of the Mount in Caltagirone, Sicily

Santa Maria del Monte, Italy


The Church of Saint Mary of the Mount in Caltagirone dates back to the 12th-century; its staircase is early 17th-century; but the majolica tiles that have made the staircase famous today were only placed in the 1950s. Created by local craftsmen, the tiles tell the story, in chronological order, of the town and its connections with the ceramics industry, which predate even the church itself. A sight to behold on any day of the year, the staircase is properly put to use on St James Night (25 July), when the people of Caltagirone pay respect to their patron saint.