St Maria del Monte Stairway


New night lighting brings the famous staircase back to life. The quality of light develops both at the level of visual perception and in terms of plant engineering. An irregular light is deliberately produced, a "zebra skin pattern" which reveals the structure of the staircase along its entire length




Caltagirone – Italy

The monumental staircase, recently declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, was built in the 17th century to fulfill an important urban planning function: connecting the upper area of ​​the city, seat of religious power with the ancient Church of Madrice, with the area lower, seat of civil power with the Palazzo Sanatorio.
To celebrate the feast of San Giacomo, patron saint of Caltagirone, on 24 and 25 July the staircase is transformed into an authentic tapestry of lights: thousands of small colored paper lamps containing a small oil lantern are placed on the steps and lit, evening, to form enormous designs, each time different depending on the occasion: on the other days of the year the steps of S. Maria del Monte did not have night lighting to reveal the architectural beauty.
The new lighting aims to achieve high quality results both in terms of visual perception and in terms of systems: a pair of very small projectors equipped with Philips lamps, 70W Mastercolour, was chosen. The optical part is inclined at 45° at the front and at 15° towards the ramp: this ensures good lighting on the stairs, it spreads softly on the facades while illuminating the risers well while being completely invisible from the start of the staircase. The interdistance between the projectors produces a deliberately irregular light, in a "zebra skin model", which, due to the perspective effect created by the alternation of light and shadow, reveals the structure of the staircase in its entire length. ( Emanuela Pulvirenti, FLARE nr. 34, December 2003, pg. 64-71 )