Rising in popularity over the last few years, Taormina is fast becoming Sicily’s favourite destination for tourists and celebrities alike. With its dramatic Italian scenery and gorgeous weather, this quaint town lined with cobble streets – that still have the groves from Caesar’s chariots – has something for everyone. Here are just 6 reasons why you’ll fall in love with this unique town:
- Mount Etna is Europe’s largest active volcano and a trip to Taormina would be wasted without a visit here. Explore this natural beauty and its charming surrounding areas – sure, you’ll see black volcanic rock but Mount Etna is also home to lush forests and vineyards. There are many guided tours available – from hiking to jeeps, to mountain biking and cable cars. If you truly want to experience Etna, find a local home with a doorstop view of this incredible work of nature!
- . Teatro Antico is Taormina’s Ancient Greek theatre and was built in the 3rd Century by the Greeks. It is adorned with gorgeous Greek design including pillars and columns. This charming theatre hasn’t changed too much over the years, though the Romans did alter the theatre to hold epic gladiator battles rather than just dramas.Carved into the side of Mount Tauro, the theatre has stunning views over Taormina and Mount Etna and is one of the most popular theatres in the world. Still home to theatre performances, you can often see showings of ballet, opera and the occasional rock concert.
- Isola Bella is a gorgeous pebble beach and should be top on your itinerary for Taormina. A simple 5-minute cable car down to the beach and you’ll be in one of the town’s prettiest places. It is quite small so arrive early for a good spot. The beach’s islet, of the same name, is a thriving nature reserve protected by the WWF. A small local natural museum resides there, but it’s actually a great place to enjoy a diving tour.
- Palazzo Corvaja – If you’re a fan of architecture and design, then you’ll undoubtedly fall in love with Palazzo Corvaja. Built between the 10th and 14th century, the building is named after the town’s most famous family who lived in it for hundreds of years. Its style is a mix of Arabic architecture (from when its building was started by the Arabs who ruled the town in the 10th century) and Italian influence. These days it is mainly used for exhibitions and is well worth the visit.
- Giardino Pubblico della Villa Comunale is a public garden that is extremely popular with locals and tourists alike. In 1884, a British aristocrat – Lady Florence Trevelyan – owned the villa and gardens after she was banished from her homeland following an affair with Edward VII, the future king of England. Lady Trevelyan was a keen gardener and naturalist who spent years adding exotic plants and trees to the gardens. These days the gardens are owned by Taormina, and the beautiful flower-lined paths allow you to escape into the shade for an extremely relaxing afternoon.
- Castello Saraceno – what’s left may just be ruins of what was a spectacular castle, but the awe-inspiring views from the top are more than worth the hour’s climb to get there. Keep in mind, this can be a tough walk and is definitely best avoided during the warmest hours of the day. On the climb, you’ll see the Sanctuary of the Madonna Della Rocca, and possibly some pilgrims travelling on the way up.