One of Sicily’s top destinations, Taormina offers travelers a unique fusion of natural views, fantastic beach and waterfront activities, and centuries of history to explore through the city’s architecture and art.
FESTIVALS & EVENTS
Taormina is known world-wide for its music and cultural events. Throughout the year, the Greek Theater hosts live theater and musical performances of all genres. The Taormina Film Fest, one of Italy’s most important cinema festivals, takes place each year in June or July. Fans of art travel from all over the world to attend Taormina’s cultural events.
Other events held in Taormina include a variety of holiday festivities, concerts, and theatrical performances.
As Taormina is located on the coast, it is perfect for those who wish to enjoy the outdoors.
By far, the most fantastic outdoor experience in the city is a visit to the famous Teatro Greco. This ancient Greek theater was built in the third century BC and is entirely outdoors. Shaped like a horseshoe and perched up high, the view from the theater seating is stunning. Travelers can see the ruins of the theater and beyond it, including a panoramic view of the expansive sky with Mt. Etna in the background. It is one of Sicily’s most spectacular monuments and the region’s second largest ancient theater. During the summer, concerts and festivals are held there.
For another amazing outdoor view, travelers can climb up to the top of Monte Tauro. In addition to the ruins of Castello Saraceno, which was built in the eleventh to twelfth centuries, the top of the mount offers panoramic views of the city. While the climb is steep, the reward is worth it.
If hoping to see Mount Etna up close, visitors to Taormina can take a half-day trip to the famous volcano, which is about an hour by car from the city. As Europe’s highest active volcano, Mount Etna is one of Sicily’s top outdoor destinations.
Another day trip worth taking is to the Alcantara Gorges. Located about 12 miles from Taormina, the steep gorges give way to crystal clear water below. Along the banks of the Alcantara River, travelers will find flora and fauna unique to the area surrounded by pristine natural beauty.
Some of the best outdoor experiences in Taormina are had while just walking the city and admiring the sites and views. Walking the city’s Corso Umberto I, a pedestrian walkway lined with shops and boutiques, is a must-do when visiting Taormina. Travelers can also walk to the city’s public park, Villa Comunale, which is home to wonderful plants, flowers, and other vegetation.
One peculiar sight is the naumachia, which consists of the ruins of a large Roman wall. The remnants measure 400 feet by 16 feet and were used as a base for modern structures, though parts remain visible to this day. Next to the Greek theater, this is Taormina’s oldest structure.
Taormina is also home to a twelfth century clock tower. The tower was reconstructed during the seventeenth century and it was at this time that the clock was added. The tower’s bells are proudly rung for the whole town to hear during special celebrations, such as the Feast of San Pancrazio, the patron saint of Taormina, on July 9.
To enjoy time indoors, some of Taormina’s best sites include the area churches. One of the most stunning is the Duomo di
Taormina, which is the cathedral that built during the thirteenth century. This religious destination is filled with tremendous decorations, beautiful architectural details, and fantastic works of art. Another church to visit is the Chiesa of San Giuseppe. Inside, there are portals made of marble and stone as well as detailed stuccowork.
Palazzi are also great places to enjoy time indoors. Some of Taormina’s best include Palazzo Ciampoli –a Catalan-style palace built in the fourteenth century, Palazzo Corvaja – an Arab influenced, tenth-century palace that houses the tourist office, and Palazzo Duca di Santo Stefano – a thirteenth-century palace with Arab and Norman-Gothic details.
The Badia Vecchia Palace dates back to the fourteenth century and was initially a defensive tower along the city walls. The exterior is notable for its Gothic architecture with additional elements that were added later on during renovations, while the interior houses Taormina’s Archeological Museum.
The best place to shop in Taormina is along Corso Umberto I. Lined along this main street of the city are a variety of shops, restaurants, pastry shops, cafés, and more. From boutique fashions to local handicrafts, travelers can likely find anything they are looking for on Corso Umberto I.
FAMILIES AND KIDS
The city’s location on the coast offers travelers the chance to enjoy beaches, the perfect family activity. Taormina’s main beach, Mazarrò Beach, is easily reached and features stunningly clear water. Other beach destinations include Isola Bella and the seaside resort Letojanni. Seaside excursions can take travelers to various coastal sites, such as the Blue Grotto near Isola Bella.
Smaller than the famous Greek Theater, but similarly historic, are the ruins of the Roman Odeon Theater. This is a very small theater built in 21 BC.
One of Taormina’s most interesting day trips is the short trip to Castelmola. This small village is perched atop a high hill three miles outside of the city. It is one of Sicily’s most unique places to visit because it features medieval ruins, an ancient acropolis, and one-of-a-kind views. In fact, the views from Castelmola are considered by some to be the best in the world. Particularly beautiful at sunset, it is a must-see if nearby.
Another day trip to take from Taormina is to Sicily’s oldest Greek city, Naxos. Not far from Taormina, the city is locally called Giardini Naxos. It is a seaside resort known for beaches, nightlife, and some fantastic Greek archaeological sites.
Taormina is sure to delight travelers of all ages with its rugged beauty, historic monuments, and flavorful cuisine. After indulging in Sicily’s tranquil atmosphere, it will be difficult to leave!
"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
In summary, it was a GREAT trip! I am very happy that we went through you to plan everything for us. Everything went as planned with no surp