Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Taken In By Taormina


It is my belief that no trip to Sicily should be without a stop in what is one of the prettiest towns I have ever seen! Taormina is one of Sicily’s top travel destinations and now it is also mine! This small wonder curves around the side of a mountain 1000 feet above the Ionian Sea, in the Province of Messina. It is charming as all-get-out and is filled with so many rare and wonderful things to see that you will want to plan at least two days to truly enjoy it. Thankfully, we only live about forty-five minutes away, which has given me the opportunity to see the town a few times each season. It’s magical any time of year, but I have to say that fall and spring have been the best times to travel there, as winter can be surprisingly cold and summer brings far too many tourists for me to take in all the beauty Taormina has to offer.

View of Giardini Naxos, where the Greeks first landed in Sicily

It’s no wonder so many writers, artists, photographers and poets have been smitten by Taormina, and it is no wonder that the Greeks chose to build the most spectacular theater I have seen right into the peak of the mountain. The breathtaking views of the tip-end of Calabria, mainland Italy’s “boot”, and Mount Etna will leave you wondering if there is way you can sell off your assets, leave your life behind, and find a small apartment somewhere along the terrace above the sparkling Ionian Sea!

Isola Bella and The Ionian Sea

A double rainbow looking towards Messina and Calabria...THIS WAS MAGICAL!
The Greek Theater built in the 3rd century BC

Before I arrived in Sicily, my mom gave me Daphne Phelps’ book “A House in Sicily”. I wouldn’t put this on my favorite list of books, but it did describe the fascinating life Daphne led in Taormina after she inherited Casa Cuseni, a grand villa that was left to her by her uncle when he passed away. In 1948, Daphne arrived from England with the sole purpose of selling the house, but ended up staying for fifty years...not surprisingly! She, too, was taken in by Taormina and did everything she could to maintain the villa and stay until her death in 2005. Today, Casa Cuseni, which is a place I have yet to discover, is now planned to be opened as a museum. This will certainly make for another excuse for me to go to Taormina!

I will leave you will these photos to gaze upon in hopes that you discover something about Taormina that tugs on your spirit.

 The Fountain in the Botanical Garden

Shopping along Taormina's Corso Umberto

 A rare photo of me walking along the back streets of Taormina

One of the many beautiful balconies

The Pastrecceria shops just off the Corso Umberto...so sweet!

The Church of San Guiseppe below the town of Castelmola

 The Cafe Wunderbar, which was one of Tennessee Williams favorite spots to hangout.


Mount Etna with a spark of lava...TRULY MAGNIFICENT! 

Favorite Restaurant: Trattoria Da Nino
Favorite Place to Stay: Hotel Villa Paradiso

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