Wandering along the main shopping street in Taormina, I noticed a lot of the shops were selling Sicilian Ceramic's. These are very brightly painted, and all types of kitchen objects were made in a variety of colours. They would make a nice gift, if your sure of getting them home in one piece! This street is very crowded, so watch your purse!
We have climbed the hill and are about to enter Taormina, via the Messina Gate.
This Gate, restored at the beginning of the 19th century, was named Porta Ferdinanda when it was opened in 1808 by Ferdinand IV of Bourbon. At the top of the Arch, is a tablet in memory of this occassion.
St. George’s Anglican Church, is a small Church that was built in the early 1920s by some English people who used to spend most of the year in Taormina. The Church is located on the side of the hill, and I needed to go down some stairs to enter.
What made me interested, was the size! It was a small church.
Inside are two aisles, divided by three round arches in Siracusa stone. It was rather plain, except for the window behind the main altar, picturing Jesus on the cross with St. Catherine on the left and St. George in his medieval armour on the right.
We alighted from the Bus at the Taormina bus stop, and joined the mass of Tourist's heading up the hill to Taormina.
Nearly everybody went ahead, but I crossed the road to where a view point was signposted. I was glad I did, because the view's were over the a lovely bay.
This people really care for their place of living, each balcony is alike small garden and arranged by lots of love and style. But it's not in the main street only, wherever you go, strolling around Taormina, the balconies will tell you the story of the locals. This what you see on this pictures are lovely balconies at Corso Umberto which is the main street of Taormina.
Cable Car ride is 3:50 euro both ways. Make sure to read the schedule. It may not work after certain hours and if you decide to eat in a restarant down there, you may not be able to use it to get back. This schedule may apply only to winter time; I was there in February. They operate with reduced hous in February.
On the way you will pass a football field. I was lucky to see the game going both ways.
When getting off, go strait towards water and you will find the pass to the beach. Long stairs will take you to it. But on the way you'll hear birds singing and train running into tunnel (if lucky) and finally you'll see a cozy beach and the Isola Bella.
Again, in February, it looked very empty, and to me - very romantic. I went there just before sunset.
Close to the part of the Via Luigi Pirandello that goes down the hill you will find a nice view point with a huge marble bench (at least I remember it looked like marble). From there you can clearly see the lower part of Taormina and Isola Bella. I found that view point close to sunset and watched different colors change as the night reminded us that we need to find a good place to eat.
A walk to Castelmola is not long at all. Take stairs from Via Circonvallazione. It'll take about half hour. On the way up you'll have a wonderful view of Taormina with the Greek Theatre clearly seen from the top. And later you will see Castelmola on picturesque hills.
I did not have time to go and visit the village (had one day for the whole town) but the view of it totally worths the walk!
Palazzo Corvaja was the seat of the first Sicilian parliament in 1411. The tower has a Arab-Norman structure - the gothic mullioned windows of the 14th century are particularly interesting.
The lowe rpart of the Palazzo was extended at the end of the 13th century. In this new wing, a staircase was built leading from the courtyard to the first floor. And on the landing there are three beautiful panels in Siracusa stone sculpted in high-relief: the first one pictures the creation of Eve; the second panel, the original sin; and the third is of the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise.
The fountain, the city's emblem deserves more detail:
There are three steps as its base andon each of the fountain's four sides there are columns supporting basins; mythological ponies overlook the basins and fountain water flows out of their mouths - makes for photogenic subjects.
The eastern base of this large fountain contains a 4th basin, no longer used as it was a watering-place for animals. A smaller octagonal basin in the middie of the fountain base with four putti resting on it; on the east side, two of these putti hold two smaller putti each, forming the base of an octagonal basin decorated with three seals showing their heads and tails.
Three mythological characters - Tritons stand with their arms crossed over their heads so as to support another basin decorated in low-relief; a round base inside this basin holds a basket of fruit on the top of which stands Taormina's coat-of-arms. The city's coat-of-arms normally depicts a male centaur but this one was turned into a female centaur.
A lively square is Piazza Vittorio Emanuele with the taxi rank and cafes but also fine building s of the Santa Caterina Church and the Palazzo Corvaja which now is home to an independent tourist company - worth while to have a look inside its courtyard though. (see next tip)
On the left hand side of the square the road leads to the Greco Roman theatre or you can continue along the main street.
Piazza IX Aprile is the second largest square in Taormina - probably the most popular one too with its wide open space, panoramic terraces and surrounding bars where the coastal views can be enjoyed, esp the Wunderbar Cafe oft frequented by film stars
In the square can be seen the churches of San Giorgio and San Guiseppe and the Clock Tower whose archway leads to the historical part of town.
The Piazza Duomo is probably the most quaintest in Taormina with the baroque fountain in its centre - the emblem of the city. It was built in 1635 in Taormina marble. The cathedral is though to be from around 1400. The square seemed to be a popular meeting place for locals
The Greek amphitheatre is one of the main attractions in Taormina. The entrance fee alone is worth while just for the wonderful setting of the arena with Etna in the background, even more special when still with a winter's coat.
Its the second-largest in Sicily after the one in Siracusa - but surely must have the best view.
Climb right to the top for the best advantage point.
Entrance fee was 6 euros and audio guides are available too.
The narrow streets of Taormina mean that walking is the best way to get around. If you get tried there are plenty of places to take the weight of your feet, have a snack and glass of wine or just a coffee. There are also plenty of opportunities for some "retail therapy".