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Caltanisetta

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(Calathanisium; Calathanisiadensis).

The city is situated in a fertile plain of Sicily, on the River Salso, in the vicinity of the most extensive sulphur mines in the world. The name is Arabic in origin. The immense cavern of Caltabillotta is famous on account of the legend of a great dragon, driven thence by the holy hermit Peregrinus when he chose that spot for a life of penance. This city formerly belonged to the Diocese of Girgenti, but was created an episcopal see by Gregory XVI in 1844, and is a suffragan of Monreale. The first bishop was Antonio Stromillo. The churches of the city worthy of notice are: Santa Maria Nuova, the cathedral, and Santa Maria Vecchia, whose Saracen-Norman portal is an exquisite work of art. Caltanisetta has 17 parishes, 182 churches and chapels, 225 secular priests, 145,000 Catholics 4 religious houses for men and 16 for women.

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