Recently granted World Heritage status by Unesco, this monumental flight of steps was built in the 17th century to fulfill an important town-planning function - that of connecting the upper part of the city, the seat of the religious power centered around the ancient Church of the Madrice, with the lower part, the seat of the civil powers centered around Palazzo Sanatorio. To mark the festivities of Saint Giacomo, the patron Saint of Caltagirone, on the 24th and 25th of July, the steps are transformed into a veritable tapestry of lights. Thousands of small colored paper lamps containing small oil lanterns are placed on the steps and lit in the evening to create enormous patterns, each one differing according to the occasion. Previous to this project, the steps of S. Maria del Monte had no night lighting to reveal their architectural beauty for the rest of the year. The new lighting aimed to achieve results of exceptional quality both in terms of visual perception and in terms of the systems used. A pair of very small-sized projectors, fitted with 70W Philips Mastercolour bulbs, was chosen. The projectors’ optics are tilted 45° forward and 15° towards the climb. This ensures good lighting of the steps, that is softly diffused over the façades. The system also ensures the risers are well-lit but is at the same time completely invisible from the bottom of the stairway. The spacing between projectors produces intentionally uneven lighting, in a "zebra-skin pattern" which, owing to the perspective effect created by the alternation of light and shade, reveals the structure of the step along its entire length.


S. Maria del Monte Stairway
General outdoor lighting

w/ Studio Triskeles