TaorminaCopyright: K. Roy Zerloch/Shutterstock.com
TaorminaOver the years, Taormina has been a source of inspiration for artists from all over the world. Celebrated as the idyllic destination par excellence, it represents the ideal place to escape from the chaos of city life. Located 200 metres above sea level, it is settled on a coastal terrace, overlooking the vastness of the Ionian Sea. The natural beauty of the hill from which the city rises is completed by the view of the imposing Etna volcano.
The CityThe feeling of being on such a high ground, the available panoramas and the fusion of nature and art at its best have made Taormina a sought-after travel destination. A former Greek settlement, the city was then conquered by Romans and Byzantines and the splendour of that golden Era has lasted throughout the years. Here nature's beauty has been enhanced by human hands and culminated in the Greek Amphitheatre, which dominates the surrounding scenes. The vibrant centre of the city is Piazza IX Aprile, adorned by the 17th century Sant Agostino and San Giuseppe´s churches; once you cross Porta di Mezzo (literally "middle door"), you will enter the ancient part of the city where the Clock Tower was erected over 300 years ago. Corso Umberto I is the main road that runs through the whole city. With a myriad of shops and restaurants, it will also lead you from the city centre to Porta Catania and the magnificent Badia Vecchia. Taormina is not only a captivating historical site: its coastal line, marine grottoes and faraglioni (rock formations) have enchanted numerous generations and they are only a cable way ride away from the city centre.
Do & See
The medieval town can probably be walked within one day and this gem located on the East coast of Sicily has a unique charm that has attracted many travellers, despite its small size. The historical centre, Corso Umberto I with its shops and traditional Sicilian restaurants, crystal water beaches and the numerous options for a day trip in the Sicilian surroundings are some of the ingredients that make the so called "pearl" of the Ionic Sea so unique and alluring.
The essence of the Sicilian cuisine lies in dishes that belong to a tradition dated hundreds of years ago, resulting from the mixture of different cultures that have lived in this town starting from its first Greek settlements. Taormina boasts some of the most well-renowned eateries of the Mediterranean Island. The tender meat of the swordfish fished locally is served with vegetables or plain as a "secondo piatto" (the second course) always preceded by a "primo piatto" (the first course, usually pasta, risotto or soup) and an antipasto (the appetiser). To finish off the meal you can order a dessert rigorously accompanied by almond wine, a peculiarity of Taormina's tradition.
If you're searching for a breakfast spot, you can head to a local "pasticceria"(pastry shop). In Italy the traditional breakfast (la prima colazione) consists of a latte and whatever your sweet tooth may have you crave. The astute Sicilians, however, came up with an idea to combine the morning meal with a refreshing solution to cope with the hot summer of the Mediterranean island: pair a "granita", which is Italian slush, with a "brioche col tuppo"and you'll get the ideal Sicilian breakfast.
Bars & Nightlife
As an exclusive seaside resort, Taormina attracts a crowd of both young and older people, offering quality entertainment for everybody. The evening starts at 6, when folks pour down the streets to attend an event that is part of the local lifestyle: the "aperitivo". The internationally called "happy hour" here becomes an opportunity to get together and release the stress of everyday life. It normally consists of a Spritz (Prosecco, soda water and Aperol or Campari) and some handmade snacks which are usually on the house. For those who want to continue partying, Taormina has no shortage of options especially over summer, from nightclubs to late bars.
Taormina´s main shopping destination is certainly Corso Umberto I, popular for the the multitude of stores it has to offer: you can find traditional souvenir shops and restaurants, but also many upscale boutiques specialising in either shoes, bags or leather accessories.