Caltanissetta ( Sicilian Nissa; medieval Qal ʿ at An-Nisa, Calatanissa, Calatanixectum ), is a city in the Italian region Sicily with 61 651 inhabitants ( 31 December 2012). It is the capital of the province of Caltanissetta.

Location and data

Caltanissetta is located 128 km southeast of Palermo in the island interior. It is located on a valley of Himera Meridional in a hilly area at an altitude of 568 meters. Caltanissetta is also the largest city in Sicily, is not on the sea.

The neighboring municipalities are Canicattì (AG), Delia ( Cl), Enna (EN), Marianopoli, Mazzarino, Mussomeli, Naro (AG), Petralia Sottana (PA ), Pietraperzia ( EN ), San Cataldo, Santa Caterina Villarmosa, Serradifalco and Sommatino.


Caltanissetta was probably a settlement of the Sicani, who called it Nissa. Under the rule of Arabs a castle was built, which was occupied by the Normans in 1086. In the 15th and 16th century, the city grew, it formed the districts of Santa Flavia, San Rocco and others.

The city was from the 19th century to one of the centers of the sulfur mine and the degradation of magnesium. In 1818, Caltanissetta was the provincial capital of the homonymous province.


The area is dominated by agriculture. Important source of income of the inhabitants is the cultivation of wheat, artichokes, olives and almonds. In this connection, there are jobs in the food industry. The company Averna, which produces a bitter herb, among others, has its headquarters here. Other important economic activities in the city are the chemical and metal processing industry.

The Caltanissetta Centrale railway station is on the railway line Catania - Agrigento; at Caltanissetta Xirbi station, located a few kilometers north of the city, the railway line Caltanissetta -Palermo begins.

There is also an in expanding highway connection (SS 640) to Agrigento. Caltanissetta also has a central bus station, be approached from which Catania, Palermo, Agrigento and many cities of the province.


Caltanissetta is the site of a long and a short- wave transmitter of the RAI. The long-wave transmitter, which was shut down in August 2004, used as a transmitting antenna a 282 meter high guyed lattice steel mast. This last long wave radio stations in Italy, the last aired the program RAI Radio Uno, since was at times to broadcast messages for maritime traffic in the Mediterranean active. Although the short- wave transmitter is still in operation, but not more in the short wave broadcasting.

Cityscape and monuments

  • The Piazza Garibaldi is the center of the city. Here are the Cathedral, the church of San Sebastiano and the Fountain of Neptune.
  • The Cathedral of Santa Maria La Nova Caltanissetta was built in 1570-1622 in the style of the late Renaissance with Baroque style features. In the church are frescos by Guglielmo Borremans from the year 1720.
  • Caltanissetta is the seat of an archaeological museum, which presents images of prehistory, vases and tools from the Bronze Age, early Sicilian ceramics and found objects from excavations in the 1950s at Sabucina.
  • In Mineralogical and Palaeontological Museum sulfur in addition to a wide range of rocks and minerals, the history and the working conditions of the sulfur mine are documented.
  • The ruins of the Castello di Pietra Rossa (Castle of Pietra Rossa ) southeast lie outside the city center of Caltanissetta on a rock above the cemetery. The Arab castle ( qal ʿ a, it is referred to by Idrisi ) was conquered by the Normans in 1086 and extended. Even in the 12th century, the settlement was located directly at the castle, Hugo Falcandus they called oppidum in the possession of Count Gottfried von Montescaglioso. In 1567 it was destroyed by an earthquake.


  • Taking place twice a week, weekly market was already mentioned by Goethe in his Italian Journey.


  • United States Rochester, United States, since 1965
  • Italy Cittanova, Italy, since 2008
  • Spain Seville, Spain, since 2011

Sons and daughters of the town

  • Michele Tripisciano (1860-1913), Italian sculptor
  • Antonino Caponetto (1920-2002), Italian politician and judge
  • Roberto Scarpinato ( born 1952 ), Italian Mafia prosecutor and opponents