Located on a hilltop along the eastern coast of Sicily, Taormina is an absolute jewel of the region. It is one of Sicily’s most highly visited locales. While it is undeniably beautiful – its location offers simultaneous views of the ocean and the mountains, including Sicily’s famed volcano, Mt. Etna – it is not just the city’s beauty that makes it a top destination in Italy. Taormina is also a treasure trove of art, architecture, and culture.
The city of Taormina was founded in the fourth century BC. It was first ruled by the Greeks but was eventually taken over by the Romans, followed by the Normans. During Norman rule, the city was relatively underestimated and fell into obscurity until the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It was the re-discovery of Taormina by artists and writers that helped bring the city to the attention of the rest of Europe. Eventually, the city was restored back to its glory and today, Taormina is one of Sicily’s most popular tourist destinations, particularly during the summer.
When traveling to Taormina, expect to be surrounded by landscape views, historic streets and buildings, ancient monuments and ruins, and delicious local cuisine and wine.
GEOGRAPHY & CLIMATE
Taormina is located in Sicily, a region of Southern Italy known for its beautiful climate, oceanside views, and active volcano Mt. Etna. The city itself sits atop a plateau just below Mount Tauro. The city overlooks the blue Ionian Sea and Mt. Etna itself.
A popular winter destination for Italian locals and tourists alike, Taormina has an excellent climate for vacationing. The climate of Sicily and of Taormina is Mediterranean. Travelers can expect moderate temperatures throughout the year with wet winters, and dry summers.
Because the city is located on the coast, there are a variety of beaches and ample water to enjoy throughout the warm months. In a small bay just off the coast of Taormina is an island called Isola Bella. It is a nature reserve where travelers can lounge on the rocky beach and explore the nearby grottos in the water.
WHEN IN TAORMINA
If there is one site not to miss in Taormina, it is the ancient Teatro Greco (Greek Theater). Entirely outdoors, this ancient monument offers an unparalleled view of the landscape which surrounds the town, particularly the blue waters of the Ionian Sea. It also hosts concerts, shows, and events such as the famous Taormina Arte festival that perfectly encapsulates the city’s appreciation for art, architecture, and history. For another historic destination, visit the Roman Odeon theater. A much smaller version of the Teatro Greco, this Roman theater is tucked away not far from Palazzo Corvaja.
People from around the world travel to Taormina for its breathtaking views, including sweeping landscape panoramas. From the famous Greek theater, travelers can see the glistening sea and the outline of Sicily’s most famous natural site, Mt. Etna. At the nearby city of Castelmola, which can easily be reached during a small day trip, travelers can take in an amazing view of the entire surrounding area from a high vantage point. Throughout the city of Taormina itself, take in the views of the fascinating ancient monuments and structures, including palaces, churches, and more.
Taormina is home to gorgeous beaches which travelers can enjoy. The most popular is Mazzarò, home to bathing areas and a pebble shore. South of Taormina is Giardini Naxos. This area features soft sand, plenty of restaurants to enjoy, and is the longest beach in the surroundings of Taormina. Arguably the most beautiful beach near the city is on the island of Isola Bella, just off the coast of Taormina. It is connected to the mainland via a small strip of land that is only accessible during low tide. From the island, travelers can explore bright blue grottos and immerse themselves in the nature of the area.
Taormina is bursting with religious buildings and historic structures that paint a picture of what life was like in the city throughout its long history. Some of the top include the city’s cathedral – the Duomo di Taormina, Palazzo Corvaja – a fantastically well-preserved fourteenth century palace, and the Church of San Giuseppe – a seventeenth century Baroque church filled with a variety of artwork including beautiful frescoes by local artists that depict biblical scenes.
To truly take in Taormina, stroll the medieval city streets and explore the various small passageways that run throughout the city. Stone walls in the town set the tone for an experience that is almost like traveling back in time. From seeing ancient monuments to discovering delicious restaurants and quaint cafés, seeing Taormina on foot is the best way to experience the city. Start along the main street, Corso Umberto I, to discover the true heart of the city. Town squares filled with people, historic streets lined with shops and boutiques, and natural beauty at every turn makes an outdoor stroll in Taormina a must-do.
After exploring the beauties of Taormina’s compact city center, consider taking a day trip to nearby Mt. Etna. Intrepid travelers can choose to hike along the side of the volcano, while others may prefer to view this remarkable force of nature from below. In either case, the area surrounding Mt. Etna offers some of the most remarkable panoramas in all of Sicily. Another natural wonder near Taormina well-worth exploring are the Alcantara Gorges. Formed over thousands of years by the waters of the Alcantara River, these dramatic cliffs must simply be seen to be believed.
From stunning coastal views to ancient monuments, the charming town of Taormina truly offers the best of Sicily. After sightseeing in other areas of the island, there is no place better than Taormina to unwind for a few days.
"Derek and I really enjoyed ourselves. I am glad that we didn't pack all of our days full of tours. It gave us time to look around the city
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We had an absolute blast overall we loved our trip and I would totally recommend you to friends who would be considering a trip to Italy. We