Caltagirone

Caltagirone (Italian: [kaltadʒiˈroːne]; Sicilian: Cartaggiruni [kaɾtaddʒɪˈɾuːnɪ, katta-] or Caltaggiruni; Latin: Calata Hieronis) is an inland city and comune in the Metropolitan City of Catania, on the island (and region) of Sicily, Southern Italy, about 70 kilometres (43 mi) southwest of Catania.

It is the fifth most populous municipality of the Metropolitan City, behind Catania, Acireale, Misterbianco and Paternò. Alongside Catania, it is the only town that has a tribunal seat in the former province. Since 1987, the comune has obtained the City title, through a presidential act. After Caltanissetta, it is the second-most populous comune in Central Sicily. ...Read more

Caltagirone (Italian: [kaltadʒiˈroːne]; Sicilian: Cartaggiruni [kaɾtaddʒɪˈɾuːnɪ, katta-] or Caltaggiruni; Latin: Calata Hieronis) is an inland city and comune in the Metropolitan City of Catania, on the island (and region) of Sicily, Southern Italy, about 70 kilometres (43 mi) southwest of Catania.

It is the fifth most populous municipality of the Metropolitan City, behind Catania, Acireale, Misterbianco and Paternò. Alongside Catania, it is the only town that has a tribunal seat in the former province. Since 1987, the comune has obtained the City title, through a presidential act. After Caltanissetta, it is the second-most populous comune in Central Sicily.

The town is a production center of pottery, particularly maiolica and terra-cotta wares. Contemporary production is more and more oriented to artistic production of ceramics and terra-cotta sculptures. Other activities are mainly related to agriculture (production of grapes, olives, peaches), third-sector activities, light industry and tourism.

The city's name derives from the Arabic qalʿat al-jirār (قلعة الجرار, "castle of [pottery] jars") – a name that attests to the antiquity of the local pottery works and to Arab influence in the area before 1000 CE. are still thriving. Concerning the name etymology, there are other hypothesis, that could refer to the Greek or Genoan past of the town, or also to something concerning the land or the surrounding area.

The area has been inhabited since prehistoric times, as shown by the presence of two necropolises dating from the second millennium BCE, and by numerous other archaeological finds. It was later inhabited by the Sicels, a people who predated Roman occupation and control.

Inside the municipal area, there's the archaeological area of Monte San Mauro, dag by archaeologist Paolo Orsi during the early XX Century, where there was found an inhabited area with a cult area and a necropolis: it would be likely a Leontinoi subcolony, the Chalcidian town of Euboia, despite some scientists think it would be also the case of a Colony under Gela rule, because of the important closure between the archaeological area and the Geloan Fields.

During the Middle Age, Arabs built a castle here; in 1030 it was attacked by Ligurian troops under the Byzantine general George Maniakes. The current town's Sicilian dialect continues to have traces of Ligurian language. The city flourished under the Norman, Hohenstaufen and Aragonese domination, becoming a renowned center for production of ceramics.

The city was almost completely destroyed by the earthquake of 1693. Many public and private buildings were reconstructed in a Sicilian Late-Baroque style. The city has an array of architectural resources and, together with the surrounding territory, is protected by the UNESCO World Heritage program.

During unification struggles, in May 29, 1860, the town was looted by the Bourbon army led by general Gaetano Afan de Rivera; they were fleeing from the Garibaldini forces towards Catania.[1]

During the first part of the 20th century, the town was a stronghold of Italian Christian democracy movement, due to the presence of renowned politician Luigi Sturzo, Italian People's Party founder. Later, the town produced such nationwide politicians as Italian Prime minister Mario Scelba, and Sicilian president Silvio Milazzo.

Before and after this period, Caltagirone saw the building of many monuments in Art Noveau style: some examples are the Saint Julian church portal, the Officine Elettriche (it could be translated as Electrical Factories), some nobles' palaces (for example Palazzo della Magnolia) and the Vittorio Emanuele's Post office.

During the World War II, the town was one of the earliest Operation Husky checkpoints, in which there were all of the three Ally contingents (US, Canada and UK). Also, it was the final theatre of the Indepentist season, specifically the area of San Mauro; there, the Royal Carabinieri and the Concetto Gallo-ruled EVIS had a battle, won by the Italian army.

After this period, the town experienced, during the rest of XX Century, some oscillations concerning overall population, remaining between 36,000 and 39,000 inhabitants; meanwhile, the town dramatically sprawled, increasing its urban area, and developing its own suburban area, that has both suburban features and countryside ones.

Today, Caltagirone is a mid-tier Sicilian town. It is one of the 25 most populous towns in Sicily, and one of the 250 most populous in Italy.

^ Dizionario geografico dei comuni della Sicilia e delle frazioni comunali, by Giuseppe di Vita; Editor: F Pravata, Palermo; 1906; page 43.
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