Taormina is situated on the southern cost of Sicily and faces the Ionian Sea. This town has got a privileged position. At about 200 metres above the sea level, it has appearance of a terrace, enriched by a beautiful landscape, where volcanic Mount Etna is protagonist. The town is characterized by its cultural, naturalistic and historic beauty and also by its gastronomy which is dominated by local sweet cakes and desserts.
Taormina was born in 358 B.C. with the name Tauromenion. It was founded by some Greek refugees, who came from Naxos Island. The town became a typical Greek colony, throught building of the agora, of the acropolis on Mount Tauro, of the Bouleuterion, that was the seat of the town council and of the Theatre. When the Romans arrived, they began renovating all architecture left by the Greeks. As well as realization of many architectural works, which we can appreciate still today, the following Byzantine domination brought a glorious and happy time to town. In the fact, after the fall of Constantinopole, the town Syracuse became less important, so town Taormina became the new capital of important, so Taormina became the new capital city of Eastern Sicily and the seat of archbishop, too. The Arabs, who had been present on the island from the 9th to the 11th century, occupied Taormina, destroying most of the town. They were then replaced by the Normans, who restored Christian religion with the consequent building of many monasteries. The following Spanish domination signalled a less flourishing period, of political and economic stagnation.
A lot of places in Taormina are worth visiting and appreciating. We advise you to start from the Teatro Greco or “Teatro Antico”, the real pride of the town. This theatre dates back to the Hellenistic period (3rd period B.C.) and was later transformed by the Romans into the amphitheatre, where the gladiators’ shows were held. Near the Theatre you can find the ruins of an ancient temple and Antiquarium, the archaeological museum that preserves the finds taken from the town. You have to see also the Naumachie, an artificial lake, where the Romans performed the naval battles. In Taormina you will be able to appreciate some beautiful palaces. The most famous is Pallazo Corvaja, which owes its name to the noble family that had lived there from the 17th to the 19th century. IX April Square is one of the oldest parts of the town, you can admire a beautiful view of the gulch and Etna Volcano. Moreover, we advise you to see the famous Torre dell’Orologio (Clock Tower), the St. Joseph and St. Augistine churches. Finally, the Piazza Duomo, with the beautiful Baroque fountain, which present the symbol of the town, the centaur and the Cathedral dedicated to St.Nicolo (13th century).
Along the lonian coast, in the territory of the Taormina municipality, you can find the Nature Reserve Isobella, a nature foreshortening, situated deep in the Taormina bay, connected to the mainland only through a thin tongue of the sand. Nearby Taormina you can also visit the town Forza d’Agro located on the top of the hill 420 m above the sea level. In this town with rich history beginning also in Greek era can a lover of history and architecture visit several churches from different periods and the Norman castle. This town is also a popular place for filmmakers. In Forza d’Agro were filmed some scenes of the movie by Francis Ford Coppola’s the Godfather. Also a large number of Italian directors took for his movies the most famous scenery of the region of Taormina, one of them is the Oscar-winning Roberto Benigni.
The gastronomic experience is the local cuisine, which is dominated by a number of different kinds of pasta, fish and seafood. A sample is also the local wine, cheese and olive oil. All of this offers in the different treatment the quantity of restaurants, bars and taverns. And who will visit Taormina and its surroundings certainly can’t resist the diverse menu, cakes and desserts, which are prepared according to old recipes and containing influences of the Greek, Arab and Spanish cuisine. Part of the afternoon siesta must therefore be a desert and an excellent Italian coffee.
Taormina and surroundings should visit all those who love the sea, the Sun, history, and good food and drink.