The tradition of Caltagirone ceramics has millenary roots. Archaeological excavations conducted in the territory of Caltagirone return examples of ceramics dating back to the seventh millennium BC. The name of the town itself, of Arab origin (“Qal’at al Ghiran”), in fact means “Rock of the vases”.

The pottery tradition of Caltagirone is one of the most famous in Italy, as well as one of the most documented and stylistically varied. Among the main types of objects produced by the artisans are mentioned: pottery, anthropomorphic lamps, tiles (mainly used to decorate floors and bell towers) and nativity scenes.

Thanks to its geographical position, the city of Caltagirone had access to the nearby clay quarries from which to extract the raw material for the artisanal work, and to the woods, such as that of S. Pietro, from which it obtained the wood to light the furnaces.

The decorative technique of the ceramic artisans is characterized by a particular decorative style, made up of traditional colors ranging from green, blue, to golden yellow and floral motifs, inspired by the natural world, and stylized human animal figures.

The ceramist art of Caltagirone preserves in its ancient technique and decorative styles, the millenary history of the dominations of eastern Sicily: traces of Cretan, Arab and Catalan influence can in fact be traced.

For centuries the technique of ceramics production and decoration in Caltagirone has been handed down orally, through the knowledge of some artisans, distinguishing the name of some families, each known for its own style (Iudici, Alessi, Ragona). Although from the twentieth century onwards almost everywhere the production of ceramics has passed from an artisanal to a serial and industrial dimension, in Caltagirone the production has remained artisanal; this is also evidenced by the institution of the School of Ceramics.

Alessi, Giacomo e Giuseppe Lazzaro Danzuso, Fiasche, lumere cànteri e cannate. Ceramica d'uso a Caltagirone tra Cinque e Ottocento, Silvana Editoriale, 2003
Museo della ceramica, Edizioni Novecento, 1997, Palermo
Colaleo, Luigi, Presepi di Caltagirone. Artisti e figurinai nella tradizione calatina, Arnaldo Lombardi Editore, 1994, Palermo
Fontanella, Matteo in
REI - Libro dei saperi - Ceramica e Presepe Artistico (Tradizione Figulina)