Taormina, a cliff-hanging town in Sicily, is hailed by many as one of the most picturesque cities in Italy. You are most likely going to agree once you are standing right there, gazing at the perfect panorama of the sparkling…
Taormina, a cliff-hanging town in Sicily, is hailed by many as one of the most picturesque cities in Italy. You are most likely going to agree once you are standing right there, gazing at the perfect panorama of the sparkling sea and the imposing Mount Etna at the distance.
Taormina’s stunning scenery is also its downfall as reflected by the throng of tourists and the souvenir shops lining its streets. However, you can easily escape the crowd by following the many hiking trails that will lead you through the nearby scenic hills.
You can get to Taormina by taking a bus or a train from the cities of Messina and Catania. The buses will take you near the town center but the trains stop at the bottom of the hill. From the train station, you can ride a local bus or a cable car to take you uphill.
Start your Taormina exploration at the Tourist Office where you can get some maps and essential information. You will be glad to know that the tourist office is housed in Palazzo Corvaja, which is a tourist attraction in itself. This stunning 10th century medieval palace features an impressive Arabic-inspired facade, black lava and white limestone inlays and the Museum of Anthropology. The museum is worth checking out for the valuable 16th-19th century items on display.
Although the busy street of Corso Umberto I is infamous for the crowd of tourists and souvenir shops that are permanent fixtures in the area, it is still worth checking out for the majestic Duomo di San Niccolo and the grand Piazza Fontana. Step inside the Duomo and discover its many works of art and religious artifacts.
Take lazy strolls along Via Bagnoli Croce until you reach Villa Comunale and its lovely gardens. Mediterranean plants are scattered around, interspersed with dramatic fountains and ornamental pavilions. Continue walking around or sit back and relax at the panoramic bar as you take in the breathtaking vistas.
If you are up for a longer walk and more stunning views, then follow the path along Via Crucis until you reach the medieval castle of Castello Saraceno. You may not gain entrance to the castle but it serves as another perfect location to enjoy the town’s splendid panoramas.
Taormina is also home to Teatro Greco, the largest theatre in the Mediterranean. The theatre dates back to the Greeks in the 3rd century but continues to host performances to this day. Its preservation throughout the years is simply fantastic, with its impressive appearance and its outstanding acoustics still in top shape. The site also offers wonderful views of Taormina’s rooftops along the hillside spanning to the gorgeous coastline with Mount Etna standing sentry at the background.
If you want to check out more ancient ruins, don’t miss the Odeon and Naumachie – what remains of the great Roman civilization that once ruled the area. Finally, if you feel like going to the beach while you are there, you can also take a short scenic ride on a suspended cable car down to Taormina Mare, a small pebble beach that offers visitors a place to cool off during summer.