“Spectacularly perched on the side of a mountain, Taormina is one of Sicily’s most popular summer destinations, a chi-chi resort town popular with holidaying high-rollers and those wanting a taste of Sicilian dolce vita.” Lonely Planet
Going off the beaten path can have many meanings for many travellers. For some it may, in a very literal sense, mean going somewhere off the books. For others, it could mean wandering without a plan. Or maybe, making your own plans separately from what’s already planned. Our 7-day Mediterranean cruise had many wonderful stops, but when we reached port on the Italian island of Sicily, we decided to take a one-hour bus ride to the nearby town Taormina instead of exploring the coast after hearing about its beauty.
This gorgeous Italian town floats above the ocean, overlooking a vast blue canvas and a spread of tiny settlements on its neighbouring areas and coasts.
The town is famous for its Teatro Greco, a horseshoe-shaped theatre that overlooks the bay and Mt Etna since the 3rd century BC.
It is Taormina’s most frequented sight, and the second largest greek theatre in the island of Sicily. Over the summer it hosts art, music and film events on its stage.
But as stunning as the theatre is, what truly makes you fall in love with a town like this are its streets. Italy is known for its never-ending beauty, for its intricate alleys that zigzag towns and cities. But every town and every city has a different taste to it, and a particular style, different colours. Each one is unique to wander in. What made Taormina stand out for me was how it reminded me of the alleys in the mexican city of Guanajuato, with the warm colours and artisans’ work displayed on the walls, windows, and stairs.
The colours change at every corner: some streets are one colour only, and others are a rainbow.
Although the tourist industry has taken over, the sense of ancestry dating from the greeks and the romans is still tangible in the air. It is a perfect destination for art and history lovers who will find themselves overwhelmed in this place.
Walk through the Porta Messina to enter the historic centre of Taormina, a mixture of medieval and renaissance architecture perched on a natural terrace. Visit the Palazzo Corvaia and San Pancracio church, both resting upon greek remnants.
Wander the medieval neighbourhood through the Porta di Mezzo to bask in roman and gothic architecture. Explore the Via dei Corso Umberto I, the main road lined with family businesses, restaurants and artisan shops. In the summer, head down to the coast to enjoy the beautiful beaches…
You name it, Taormina is a jewel in the middle of the sea.