Let yourself be seduced by one of the most enchanting spots in the whole of Sicily with its ancient Greek splendours and the Dolce Vita of past and present.
Taormina, with its breathtaking scenery and enchanting historic sites, is one of the Sicilian destinations most sought-after by both Italian and international tourism.
A success arising from the increasing number of visitors who, each year, crowd not only the old town but also its splendid, characteristic surroundings.
Yes, because you have to go beyond to get the best out of Taormina, discovering the neighbouring areas and villages which still keep intact most of the rural charm of time past.
Castelmola, Forza D'Agrò and Savoca are just some of the priceless little gems from where the extraordinary magnificence of a unique natural spectacle, set between the sea, l’Etna and the Alcantara Valley, can be enjoyed.
No island stands on the horizon of our civilization, a front more radiant of Sicily.
A nature reserve since 1998, this little island is connected to the coast by a strip of sand and is one of the most fascinating attractions in the whole of Sicily. An enchanting place with unique flora and fauna made even more extraordinary by the clarity of the water surrounding it, and the many associated activities such as boat trips, snorkelling and diving.
Close to the Isola Bella. The old fishing village of Mazzarò, a well-known area for swimming, is full of lush vegetation. Ravines and sea grottos overlook the emerald green water of the bay, the main destination of trippers and diving enthusiasts. Mazzarò, which has charmed film directors and painters like Mario Mattoli and Paul Klee, can also be reached by funicular.
Spisone beach is larger and less sophisticated than the neighbouring Mazzarò Bay and offers a calmer, more shimmering scenario that passes from rocks and cliffs to wide stretches of sand where free beaches and private structures alternate. Easy to reach by motorway, like all the beaches in this area of the coast, it offers comforts and services that make even the most hidden corners inviting.
The beauties of Villagonia and its beach include the River Sirina, which separates Giardini di Naxos geographically from Taormina, and the tortuous mule track used by farmworkers and fishermen, and one of the oldest connections between the coast and the city, that leads down from Madonna delle Grazie, and can be found in a rugged, rocky gulf which borders Capo Taormina.
Piazza IX Aprile
This square is an elegant, open-air salon, the meeting place for artists and travellers. Mt Etna, Naxos Bay and the Greek Theatre of Taormina can all be seen from its gallery. The square, created in the 12th century but destroyed and rebuilt many times, once was called Piazza Sant’Agostino, in honour of the former church with the same name, now the municipal library. Over the centuries, St Joseph's Church and the Torre dell’Orologio (Clock Tower) have been built alongside the former St Augustine's Church.
The Greek Theatre is framed in a splendid natural setting with Mt Etna and the Ionian coast in the background. Despite its name, the Greek Theatre has a totally Roman appearance and was probably built under Augustus in the 2nd century AD with an original capacity of about 10,000 spectators compared to the current 4,500. The theatre has been enlarged and altered in its lifetime, such as for the Venationes, fights between gladiators and wild beasts. It has been a centre for cultural events like concerts, operas, ballets and international award ceremonies since the 1950s.
The cathedral was built around 1400 on the ruins of a small mediaeval church; it is nicknamed 'The Fortress Cathedral' because of its severe architecture and the external fortified elements. It is a favourite place of artists and famous people. The Town Hall also looks onto the Cathedral Square, which has a characteristic 17th century fountain with a minotaur, the symbol of the city, sculpted onto the central jet.
Corso Umberto is the best-known and most important street in Taormina, marked by the ancient entrances to the city at each end - Porta Messina and Porta Catania. The main street, studded with shops and restaurants, has an intricate network of narrow streets and lanes branching either towards the upper part of the town or slipping quickly to Via Roma, the main panoramic road of the city.
Church of St Pancras
The church, dedicated to St Pancras, bishop and patron saint of Taormina, was built in the 18th century on the ruins of a Greek temple whose basement blocks can still be seen. The church is on the flight of steps of the same name and is where the great patron saint's festival is held on 9 July each year although the solemn celebrations are only held every four years when statues of the Saint and St Peter are carried in procession through the streets of the town.
Taormina Archaeological Museum is housed in the 14th century Badia Vecchia building and displays highly valuable artefacts mainly from the splendid Greek Theatre, mostly found during the most recent digs in the archaeological area of Taormina from 1984 to 1998. The Museum is on two floors, each with various rooms, with Greek, Roman and Byzantine statues, sarcophaguses, ceramics, majolica and jewellery snatched from the dust of centuries.
Palazzo Corvaja was built between 902 and 1079 AD and extended towards the end of the 13th century. The historic edifice, built on the old Roman forum, dates from the Arab era and is named after the noble family which lived in it from 1538 until 1945. It was restored in 1946 and the ground floor is currently the Tourist Information Office while the first floor houses the Museum of Art and Folk Traditions.
The green area of the city and a valid alternative to the crowded streets of the centre. The Villa comunale was originally 'nothing other' than the garden of the luxurious residence of Lady Florence Trevelyan, a noblewoman from Northumberland, England, who arrived in Taormina in 1884 and married Salvatore Cacciola, the eminent mayor of the city in 1890. The villa became a municipal property in 1922; the particular ornamental constructions that Lady Trevelyan had built, known as Victorian Follies, can still be seen inside the villa.
Built around the 2nd century AD on the ruins of pre-existing Greek temple, this little gem of Roman architecture, intended for musical and literary performances, didn't hold more than 200 people and, originally, was almost certainly covered. It is behind the church of Santa Caterina d'Alessandria, opposite Palazzo Corvaja, and was rediscovered by chance in 1893.
The Saracen castle lies above Taormina, on Monte Tauro cliff. Its high position means that the view encompasses the Straits of Messina, Catania, the Alcantara valley and the slopes of Mt Etna. Steps wind up from the evocative little Madonna della Rocca Church to the entrance; a rainwater collection tank and an underground storage area, once used for the supply of provisions, can still be seen inside the castle.