The Illuminated Steps of Caltagirone
On the evenings of 24 and 25 July, in honor of the patron saint San Giacomo, the Scala Santa Maria del Monte, symbol of Caltagirone, lights up and offers a wonderful sight.
Following a centuries-old tradition that originated in the 1600s, thousands of tiles, made and colored strictly by hand, according to an ancient skill handed down from father to son, are placed along all the steps to form a single wonderful design.
Sand is placed at the bottom of the tile and, on top, a “luméra” (hence the name of “luminaria”), a small terracotta container, equipped with a special cotton wick, which at the right moment is filled with olive oil using the tinned (tin vessel with a long spout).
Already from the morning of July 23, the Scala offers itself to the curious gaze of citizens and visitors who will look for the best point on Piazza Municipio or on Via P.pe Amedeo to admire the drawing in its entirety; but even more when, at the established time of 24 July, hundreds of people, now equipped with a wooden stick instead of the ancient buceddu (dry twig of a wild plant), will crowd the Scala so that within a few minutes a light flaming lights up the tiles and offers a show of indescribable charm.
In the darkness of the Scala, the flare of the tiles is a continuous crescendo of flickering lights in a magical night, until they turn off naturally when the oil runs out.
On the same night between 24th and 25th July, the insiders proceed with great dexterity to reposition the tiles to set up a new design for the following day.
(source Municipality of Caltagirone)