The last week of our trip was already the twenty-ninth since we left Poland and at the same time the one before last we are going to spend in Sicily. In less than two recent months, we have traveled the island along the length and breadland, learning about its historical and natural attractions.
We spent several past days in the Noto Valley. Right here eight cities are located, which were destroyed during the earthquake caused by the explosion of Etna in 1693. These cities were rebuilt in the style of the late Baroque, also called the Spanish Baroque with great solicitude and panache. So far, we have already shown six of the eight cities mentioned in our report: Catania, Noto, Palazzolo Acreide, Modica, Ragusa and Scicli. Now the time has come for the last two UNESCO-protected cities of Val di Noto – Caltagirone and Militello.
Caltagirone is surrounded by the beautiful Giardino Publicco Park from the south. Despite the bad weather (it was cloudy and cool, but luckily it did not rain), crossing the garden along Via Roma encouraged further exploration of the city.
At the northern end of the garden there is a former theater, today the Regional Museum of Ceramics from which Caltagirone is famous for all of Italy, and especially for Sicily. We are looking from the theater stairs at the foggy panorama of the old town.
One of the narrow streets we enter the center. In the background we can see the first of the attractions waiting for us.
We come to Cattedrale di San Giuliano and the Banco di Sicilia headquarters located in the beautiful Baroque palace on Via Duomo.
Not only the monuments of sacred architecture attract the eye of the visitor. In front of this church two rows of orange trees were planted, the fruits of which already look very good.
We are at the famous, ceramic-decorated stairs leading to the hill over which Parrocchia Maria SS. del Monte dominates.
Probably on a clear day the view from above makes a better impression, but it is not bad.
On the way, one of the many, many ceramic shops.
We slowly walk towards the Ponte San Francesco bridge passing another magnificent temple.
Typical streets of Caltagirone. Slightly sloping, narrow, full of cars and built mainly in Baroque architecture from the beginning of the 18th century.
One more, interestingly decorated shop with products of local craftsmen.
We look at the back of the Duomo di San Giuliano cathedral, from this side built up with typical houses of this city. As you can see, the place is not completely restored and has retained its original, natural appearance in many places.
From the San Francesco bridge, we look at the impressive church, also dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi.
Turning, we throw the last look at the old town in Caltagirone. We can see a partial panorama on it with a cathedral tower visible in the foreground.
The next day we visited Militello in Val di Catania. It is definitely smaller than Caltagirone, it can be said that it is more provincial. However countless monuments confirm that in the past it was a significant Sicilian city.
At the beginning, a rather homely view of the laundry drying over the street. View in Sicily very common, less for newcomers.
The two most magnificent (and above all beautifully restored) temples in the city center are Chiesa San Niccolo in Via Umberto I …
… and Chiesa San Bernadetto Abate at Piazza Municipio.
On the edge of the town there is a hill which ends with a cliff. The road leads to the church of St. Anthony and to a small, local cemetery.
From the cliff there is a view of the nearby, slightly undulating area. In the distance, you can see the contours of the lake Lago di Lentini located a dozen kilometers north-east.
Sicilian cemeteries from Poland divide two basic differences. First of all, almost all of people are buried here in family, multigenerational tombs, and secondly, the local graves take on the form of impressive chapels, often the size of small houses in which whole families are buried.
Returning from the cemetery one of the side streets we see a familiar ‚Maluch’ (Polish term in English means ‚toddler’). On the Island of the Sun, several decades of Italian automotive industry still perform surprisingly well.
Returning to the center of Militello, it is worth seeing the baroque fountain Fontana della Ninfa Zinna right next to the old city gate Porta della Terra.
In the southern part of Militello the most important monument of sacred architecture is Santuario Santa Maria della Stella. It is surrounded by a small, but well-developed square encouraging you to rest.
We end our visit in the town passing through the square in front of the city cathedral and following the cobbled, green Via Duca degli Abruzzi towards the parked near the Golf.