A building at the top of a hill by the coast of Ionian sea. Sitting on its balcony or verandah, the likes of D H Lawrence, Guy de Maupassant, John Steinbeck, and Francis Ford Coppola would have delighted in the sight of the mesmerizing blue sea below. For, this air seemed to have refreshed many a creative souls. And, it is not surprising. After taking over the control of this small town in 200 B.C., the Romans seem to have discovered its quaint beauty and made this a holiday destination.
Taormina is a small town in coastal Sicily. Being ruled by the Romans, Arabs, Byzantines, Normans, Sawbians and then the modern invaders such as the French, Taormina has a rich cultural and architectural heritage. Tourism then predictably is the economic driver.
The town, built on the slopes of a sea-facing hill, itself is a treat for any traveller. The Catania–Messina highway tunnels through the hill, making itself visible only at some points. The beaches and resorts dot the downhill area while ancient churches, piazzas with fountains, shopping areas, and restaurants greet you at the top. Charming narrow roads with equally charming old buildings fill the space in between. There is a ropeway that connects lower Taormina to the upper streets.
Walking around is the best way to see and experience Taormina. The main thoroughfare on top is Corso Umberto 1. Walk lazily through the streets, gaze at the shop windows that display a plethora of interesting offerings, gape at the architectural beauty of ancient churches, sit and relax at the piazzas, have a gelato at the roadside gelaterias … too many things to do. But then, nothing to do.
Palazzo Corvaja is an ancient building now converted to a museum. The vast spaces of Piazza IX Aprile offer stunning views downhill.
The Greek theater is an important tourist attraction. Known as Teatro Greco, this was built in 3rd B.C. for hosting performances.
The hike up to the Madonna rock church was a bit tiring. But once on top, you get a panoramic view of the entire Taormina.
More photos here:
Taormina is in Sicily. The nearest airport is Catania. Buses ply between Catania and Taormina. There are also trains.