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Taormina is in the province of Messina, together with the beautiful Aeolian Islands and the ancient city of Milazzo. It can be reached via highway from Messina to the North and Catania to the South. Taormina has been a very popular destination with tourists since the 19th century. It has beautiful beaches (accessible via a Funicular) by the Ionian Sea, which is remarkably warm and has a high salt content.
In ancient times, Taormina was a Greek colony (Tauromenium), dating from about 400 BC. It finally succumbed to Roman authority in 212 BC during the Second Punic War.
Isola Bella is a stunning nature reserve that is just south of Taormina. Tours of the Capo Sant’ Andrea grottos are also available. Taormina is built on an extremely hilly coast and is approximately a forty-five minute drive away from Europe’s largest active volcano, Mount Etna.
The remains of the teatro greco, the “Greek theater”, are not actually Greek, as the theater was rebuilt by the Romans in the 2nd century BC on the site of the original theater. With a diameter of 109 metres (after an expansion in the 2nd century), this theater is the second largest of its kind in Sicily. It is frequently used for operatic and theatrical performances, as well as for concerts.
In the late 19th century, Taormina gained some prominence as the place where Wilhelm von Gloeden worked for most of his life as a photographer of predominantly male nudes.
During the early 20th century, the town became a colony for expatriate artists, writers, and intellectuals. D H Lawrence stayed here at the Fontana Vecchia from 1920 to 1922, where he wrote a number of his poems, novels, short stories and essays.
Hot to get there
Look for flights to Catania. From there, you can rent a car to drive to Taormina.
There are regular buses to and from Messina and Catania.
There are regular trains to and from Messina and Catania. However, the station (called Taormina-Giardini) is on the seafront 1.5 miles (about 2 Km) below the center. There are some local buses available, but it’s often more convenient to take a long-distance bus from the center straight to/from your destination.
Sights & activities
Isola Bella is a stunning nature reserve that is just south of Taormina. Tours of the Capo Sant’ Andrea grottos are also available. Taormina is built on an extremely hilly coast and is approximately a forty-five minute drive away from Mount Etna.
The remains of the teatro greco, the “Greek theater”, are not actually Greek, as the theater was rebuilt by the Romans in the 2nd century BC on the site of the original theater. With a diameter of 119 yards (109 meters) after an expansion in the 2nd century, this theater is the second largest of its kind in Sicily; it is frequently used for operatic and theatrical performances, as well as for concerts.
There are plenty of souvenir shops. Look for Limoncello – the sweet lemon alcohol served chilled after a meal is refreshing and widely sold.
Wander up and down the main street, Corso Umberto I.
Taormina has plenty of restaurants. Swordfish is recommended. Ristorante La Griglia (Corso Umberto I, 54) offers a good selection of Sicilian cuisine.
Spring and fall are the best seasons to visit Taormina. July and August are the warmest months with temperatures reaching up to 104°F. For more information, visit the Weather page.
The Taormina Film Festival has been held for over fifty years, with international film stars viewing films on a screen erected in the Greek theater.
Castelmola, a hilltop village 3 miles (about 5 Km) away, offers spectacular views. Several buses go up to the village, but if you have the time, enjoy the walk back down.
Plenty of agencies offer day-trips to Mount Etna. You are not allowed to walk to the top, but the lava flows are still impressive. It is over 3000m high, so wear warm clothes – it can be cold even in summer and the top is often covered in clouds.
Note: This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article “Metasyntactic variable” and Creative Commons by Commons Deed. This information was accurate when it was posted, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses/establishments in question before planning your trip.