Taormina is a fascinating ancient city located in the province of Messina, known throughout the world for its history, beautiful monuments and breathtaking natural beauty. it it is called the “Pearl of the Ionian Sea”.
It is located 200 meters above sea level, can be considered a natural terrace from where you can admire, among other things, the majestic volcano Etna.
In the past it has hosted important writers such as Goethe, Maupassant and Oscar Wild.
TEATRO GRECO ROMANO
The Greek Theater is a huge testimony to ancient Sicily, the most famous monument in Taormina, and the second largest theater on the island (after that of Siracusa).
It was built by Greeks ( in the 3rd century B.C.) that chose the scenographic promontory as the spectacular setting for their dramatic and musical performances.
In the 2nd century A.D the theater was modified and expanded by Romans who transformed the scene and the orchestra into an area where long fights would be held between gladiators and animals.
Rich with floral and arboreal beauty, the Villa comunale is an enjoyable oasis of tranquility in the center of the small town.
The very beautiful public gardens dedicated to the dutch of Cesaro were originally a private park created by Lady Florence Trevelyan Cacciola, the Scottish noblewoman who lived in Taormina from 1884.
Realized as a classic English garden, the park was filled with a large variety of flowers and plants that came from all around the world.
Many unique buildings were also built, designed according to Lady Florence’s aesthetic taste and want to observe birds, seeing as she was a passionate ornithologist.
The different architectural styles of the palace are testimonies to some of the many dominations that have occured in the course of past centuries. The Corvaja Palace is a splendid elegant villa that is located at the center of Taormina in the piazza that at one time was an ancient Roman tribunal and even before then the agora of the Greek Tauromenion.
The city cathedral dedicated to San Nicola, that has an austere stone facade, a crowning element of merlon, and a massive bell tower that makes the Duomo resemble a military fortress, is located in the appealing Piazza del Duomo.
In front of the Duomo you’ll admire a 17th century Baroque style fountain, built on circular steps, surrounded by 4 little lateral fountains. Also noteworthy is the symbol of the city of Taormina at the center of the fountain, which is a crowned centaur that holds the world in its left hand and the scepter of command in its right.
CORSO UMBERTO I
Corso Umberto I is the main street of Taormina. From Porta Messina to the north and Porta Catania to the south, this is an ancient route road from the Greek-Roman epoch that crosses through the historical center of this beautiful small Sicilian town.
Characterised by successions of small shops, fashion stores, souvenir shops, restaurants, and cafes, today the tight road named after the king of Italy Umberto I of Savoia, is a lively walkway where every day thousands of visitors from around the world pass through. Other than being an elegant shopping road, the road is rich with art and architecture from different eras.
PALAZZO DEI DUCHI DI SANTO STEFANO
Located within the ancient defensive walls of the city, this 14th century palace of the dukes of Saint Stefano is considered a masterpiece of Sicilian gothic art, with a mix of Arab and Normandie influences.
The garden is attractive and still preserves an old well made to collect rainwater. The municipality of Taormina bought this Palace in the 60s and today it is the headquarters for the Mazzullo Foundation and holds a permanent exhibition of sculptures and Messina artwork.
A small island about 1 km in size, rich with thriving greenery rooted to the earth by a thin strip of sand. With the occurrence of the tides, the central tracts go from being covered to uncovered by the crystal clear waters of the bay. The Isola Bella nature reserve, built in 1998, is an appealing extremity of earth, situated in the enchanting inlet past the promontory of Saint Andrea, south of Taormina.
You can visit this little island any day except for Mondays, from 9AM until just before sunset, in groups of no more than 15 people.
PIAZZA IX APRILE
An appealing panoramic terrace on the sea, a delightful meeting place, and a well known center of the cultured life of Taormina. All of this explains the April IX plaza, the most famous plaza in Taormina that opens onto the main city road (Corso Umberto, with its numerous open cafes, religious buildings, and its picture worthy historical constructions), with its characteristic portrait painters and the swarms of tourists enchanted by the spectacular views of the gulf and of Etna.
The plaza overlooks the Baroque church of San Giuseppe, the ex gothic church of Saint Augustine, and the clock tower, or Porta di Mezzo (middle door), that’s arch gives access to the old city.