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.
Seeing Taormina, it is hard to believe that 4 kilometres up, there is another village on a higher peak! This is Castelmola, a poorer village, but where you can walk (in an hour or so) or take a bus to get a spectacular view of Taormina and to try the local almond wine - fantastic all over the north east of Sicily but best tried here.
- Wine Tasting
- Hiking and Walking
The Public Gardens
The Public Gardens in Taormina are not to be missed. The assortment of tropical plants are unbelievable. The garden has a formal structure without the visible geometry present in many formal European gardens. The care and maintenance is impeccable. The gentleman in the photo was in fact mopping the walkway.
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.
Piazza IX Aprile
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 beach at Giardini Naxos
Giardini Naxos is the place where the train will leave you, but you should spend some time at the beach. Swimming under the Greek theatre and the Etna volcano on the other side.... that may be a terrific experience and difficult to repeat.
Get yourself up to Castelmola! This scenic and old-feeling village sits above Taormina and will offer you some of the most unbelievable panoramic views of the surrounding mountainous terrain, as well as the Ionian Sea and Mainland Italy on clear days.
Castelmola served as a lookout point to help guard and prepare for attacks from the mainland of Europe and fell into several different hands during the last over 2,000 years including the Greeks, Romans, and Arabs. The most popular attraction is the remnants of the 16th century castle that carries the village's namesake. It is from here that you will be at roughly 2000 feet above the sea level below and will be treated to some deep Sicilian history as well as some spectacular views.
St. Giuseppe church
Chiesa di S. Giuseppe is right at the center of Taormina city, after you stroll the main street full of shops and restaurants and find yourself in 9th April Square (piazza IX Aprile). It's a very lovely church, whose relief (according to me) resembles shape of mountains behind it, chuch reaches end of 17th century.
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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.
Isola Bela is an island (in low tide you can go there walking). The place is so wonderfull that you will find a lot of people taking pictures from the road above and using the island as background. The beach in front of it it was not my favourite one because it's always crowded the it worth the visit. In the island there's some old buildings, long time ago it was a private villa but now it's a museum that you can visit. The Italian TV series "La Piovra" had some scenes filmed there.
This is a cave with an atonishing electric blue water. The water there is so salty that you will smell it from far away when you're entering. To go there you should take a boat in any beach.The cave is located near Isola Bela, to the left when you're facing the sea.
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!
- Food and Dining
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
Te Greek Theater is located in the top of a hill, and from there you will have terrific views of the village. Don't miss it!!!
In summer there's a lot of shows (fashion, music, etc) hapening at night. When I was there I saw La Traviata.
Piazza Vittorio Emanuele
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.
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