You can see the Ionian coast, Calabrian coast, and the massive Etna from one glance.
The small village located above Taormina is a genuine natural terrace made from the remains of a Norman castle. It has a concave, smooth, and similar shape to a millstone (grindstone). It is therefore easy to determine the source of the name. It is an instant condensation of “Castle” and “Mola”.
We can see the remnants of the norman walls from the entire fortress. The plaque, which dates back to the tenth century and features Greek-Byzantine engravings, is located on the cathedral’s facade. It states that “This castle was constructed under Costantino. He was a patrician and strategist from Sicily.”
This is most likely Costantino Caramalo who, in the ninth century, defended the city, bastion, and territory against Arab attacks. Historiographically, the centrality of Mola’s castle is proven not only in Middle Ages but also in the Wars between the French and Spanish. . The entrance to the village used to be marked by a gate that was carved into the rock at the base of a staircase made of white lava stone. In 1927, the gate was moved to the castle. Today, the village’s entrance is marked by an arch at the top of a limestone staircase.
The square is made up of a mosaic of white volcanic stone and is bordered by shaded and tree-lined pavements. These open onto the lookout, where you can view Taormina. The urban design of the square is generally very good. Street names, street numbers, and signs almost always are in stone or wrought iron. The frames of the doors and windows are made from Taormina stones. Light colors are used to cover the houses, which range in color from antique rose to delicate yellow. Everything is exactly as you would expect in a Sicilian village, except for some buildings that were not original to the area.
The church S. Antonino is located overlooking the village square. It was built in 1898 and is now used as a municipal auditorium. The Casa Sterrantino portal is just a few steps away from the church.
The historic Caffe S. Giorgio was founded in 1700 by monks. This building, which was used as a tavern and has an album that contains the signatures from famous Castelmola residents, also houses, the unique almond wine. Don Vincenzo Blandano was the original owner of the cafe. He used to greet people who came to the village. This drink is made with orange and almond essences. It was probably one of his inventions.
You can continue below by going down Via De Gasperi which is the main street of the village. Along the shops selling souvenirs, lace, and embroidery, you will cross the Bar Turrisi, which exhibits with the same ease phalluses made of clay, wood, and ceramic as a sign that there is abundance and good fortune, according to the Hellenic tradition. The common dichotomy of Sicily’s land is that the profane meets the sacred, arriving at Piazza Duomo in front of the Parish. On the other side of the square, you can see Mount Etna as well as the bay of Naxos from the entrance. The layers of different historical periods can be seen as you enter the church. Many times, more modern forms can be seen in sections that range from Romanesque to Gothic. There are four marble altars and a beautiful pulpit, as well as a wooden statue depicting Mary Magdalene.
The small church San Biagio stands out in a picturesque landscape. It was founded by San Pancrazio, a Taormina evangelist, and is perhaps the oldest building in the city.
It is amazing to see the fresco from the church’s eighteenth century. Not to be missed: The tanks that hold water from 367 BC, and the old Saraceni Gate.
Before leaving, taste the mandorle (almonds) agghiazzati with sugar, mostarda di fichi e i fichi d’india.
The charming landscape is overlooked by the small Church of San Biagio, which stands out. It’s the oldest church in the area, possibly founded after the arrival in Taormina of San Pancrazio for his evangelizing mission.
It is amazing to see the fresco from the church dating back to the eighteenth century. The water tanks dating back to 367 BC, as well as the Saraceni Gate, are worth a visit.