Favorite thing: I have seen just one part of Sicily, maybe one third of it, but Taormina is definatelly the most beautiful place which I have visit there so far. It is small town situated on the slopes of Mount Taur, in a very charming and panoramic spot which dominate the whole bay of Giardini Naxos. The town is extended to the beaches of Isola Bella, Mazzaro and Spisone, which are connected to the centre by a cable car.
Fondest memory: coming..
Favorite thing: This fountain and lily pond has always fascinated me. I believe it is located near the Public Gardens (if you know exactly, please let me know). It was an inspiration for me to develop a pond in my garden. I've always envied the mass of Elephant Ears in the center. In a city of so many wonderful sights this is my most vivid memory.
Favorite thing: The other vantage point for Taormina is near the castello - which sits on another hilltop above Taormina. Just before the steps which climb up to the castello (currently closed) keep going along the lane to the church of Madonna della Rocca and you'll reach a viewpoint with IMHO the best view of Taormina - and a different angle to that of Castelmola. Steps lead down from here back in to Taormina with the typical station of the cross on the corners as the path zig zags down.
Favorite thing: Either end of Taormina's main shopping street are two gates - part of the old fortification system.called Porta Messina and Porta Catania.
Porta Messina, the entrance into town was restored at the beginning of the 19th century It was originally named Porta Ferdinanda when it was opened in 1808 by Ferdinand IV of Bourbon. A tablet commemorating the occasion on the top of its arch. Porta Catania at the far end is the result of various changes and restorations, the last of which were in 1440 by the Aragonese. The Aragonese coat-of-arms sculpted in relief above the city coat-of-arms in the centre on the top part of the gate.
Favorite thing: The best vantage point to see Taormina is from above - firstly from the hilltop town of Castelmola, perched on a rocky crag some 5 km above. The views are well worth it. Terraced vineyards and views all the way down the coastline are superb(pic 2) ...and of course you are that bit closer to Etna which dominates the scenery in the other direction. (pic 3)
Favorite thing: Taormina is probably Sicily's most touristic town but its such a pretty place to visit. it sits atop a hill of the Monte Tauro and overlooks two sweeping bays below and southerly is the splendid Mount Etna, Europe's highest active volcano. At night you could see the red glow of the lava.
It was certainly a memorable view for us.
Favorite thing: Its not a huge town you can walk from one end to the other of the main street - Corso Umberto I - in bout 10 minutes but take time to discover the intriguing steep alleyways off it and the little details everywhere. Of course the boutiques and top brand designer shops will also occupy your time.
Favorite thing: If you are able to climb the steep road from the train station by the sea to the village on top of the hill, you will be rewarded an unforgettable heavenly view with one side Mt. Etna above the coast line and the other side this fabulous island amid the dreamy golden sea.
Favorite thing: Just wonder thru the mase of small narrow streets. Apart from the main artery of the town that cuts it into two half, all other streets, especially in the lower part, are just splendid! One may discover so many hidden corners with beautiful views, balconies and flower beds.
Favorite thing: A lovely place to locate a theatre... ancient Greeks were so good at that! Sicily, as well as mainland Greek itself, is full of lovely spots where ancient theatres were built, see Segesta, Palazzolo Acreide justy as a couple of nearby examples!
Favorite thing: CASTELMOLA
This is an ancient fortress built to protect Taormina. From here there is a marvellous wide panorama view (my intro pic!).
It is located at 531 meters above sea level and getting there can be a bit frightening!
Look at those buildings and balconies hanging above...NOTHING! Would you live there?
Favorite thing: TAORMINA
This medieval town with a heavy past, located at 200m on a plateau below Mount Tauro, for which it is named and where there are the ruins of a medieval fortress, has been and is still nowadays cheerished by tourists.
Its real fortune began in the nineteenth century, when, after a visit by Goethe who praised its beauty all over Europe, it became almost immediately a must- see-place.
I'm not very keen in visiting these kind of places but will go when its off season - plenty of space. You have then the opportunity to get acquainted much easier with locals.
I must say Sisilian are charming and very different from italians in general.
I was prepared to brush-up my italian but then everyone talked english and most intriguing was that their second (or first or third...LOL) language seemed to be german, well at least that's the feeling I got!?!!
Without Sicily, Italy leaves no image in the soul. Sicily is the key to everything.
------- Johann Wolfgang Goethe
Favorite thing: Etna from Parco Duchi di Cesaro
This parc (Giardino Trevelyani) was near the hotel and I used to go through it when going to the center of Taormina. From there you can admire Etna and the surroundings towns cuddled by the sea!
This is the Convento di S. Domenico- church and convent. It has designs from 1374 (when it was started), sixteenth and eighteenth centuries!
Artists from all ages and nationalities come here, sit on one of the many benches and spend hours drawing this breathtaking scenery!
Favorite thing: Corso Umberto 1 (or Valeria road)
This is the main street (and also shopping street) that goes from Porta Messina to Porta Catania and is 800m long. This is also the most significant tract of the ancient via *Valeria* that actually linked Messina town to Catania!
I was astonished of the so many antique shops that look so tiny from the outside and were holding several big rooms inside with beautiful antiquities. I was looking for a painting but did not find something that would have pleased me and well, ok - let's face it, there were a bit expensive too ;-)!
Many of the monuments worth seeing are along this street like this fountain in front of Duomo. It was built in 1635 and emphases the space in the square through the dynamisn of the 3 concentric orders of steps.
Favorite thing: Piazza IV Aprile
This the largest square in Taormina where families gather Sunday mornings after church. All children were dressed in their Sunday suits and playing around while parents were having coffee and ice-cream at Wunderbar
I must had a try as it is said that ice-cream might have been invented in Sisily during Roman times, when a relay of runners would bring snow down from Mount Etna to be flavored and served to wealthy patricians! True or not pistacio and moka ice-creams were...I'll let you guess the rest :-)!
The above picture shows on the right the church Chiesa Di San Giuseppe (built in the 17th century) with its bulb-shaped belltower. On the left, La porta Di Mezzo (clocktower) where Wunderbar can be found.