"Coppo": ancient tradition of Caltagirone


Davide Mauro - CC4.0

On the occasion of special events, the Caltagirone staircase is artistically illuminated in accordance with a centuries-old tradition.
When the Santa Maria del Monte staircase is illuminated about four thousand flickering colored lights shine along the majestic staircase, the staircase thus appears as a great river of fire flowing from top to bottom.
The first attempt to use the splendid The scenography of the staircase to create an artistic lighting was by the Syracusan architect Natale Bonajuto who for the "luminaria" of 1785 designed colorful and baroque pyramidal architectures of various sizes that had large lamps inside that radiated the staircase.
The idea ingenious lighting in tiles, in "grande lume", the one that is still used today, is due to a local artist, Father Benedetto Papale, friar of the minimum conventuals of San Francesco di Paola. In 1860 I think of illuminating the staircase by creating a representative motif. It is believed that he was inspired by the filet embroidery technique with which devout women and nuns of the many monasteries existing at the time adorned vestments and sacred furnishings.
For forty years the friar masterfully designed ornamental motifs, especially floral, of great effect. After his death, other local artists have continued the tradition.
The preparation of the traditional "tiles" also involves a pertinent work organized in certain phases: first of all, as many sheets of paper are needed as there are tiles that are glued to form a hollow cylinder. Subsequently part of these can also be colored to create a play of colors in the design. Finally, each tile is weighed down with sand and redefined at the base so that it stands straight once placed on the ground.
Once the construction of the tiles is completed, the Scala Santa Maria del Monte is entirely marked step by step so that each sign can correspond to the type of tile to be positioned.
The final result is enchanting for its surprising effect.

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