Taormina is located on the slopes of Monte Tauro and is a popular tourist spot, especially during summer. It is known for its breathtaking views of Mount Etna. This stretch is a top destination in Sicily due to its beautiful natural surroundings and the proximity of coastal towns along the Ionian Sea.
The Greek Theater of Taormina
The main attraction of Taormina is the Greek Theater. It is second in Sicily to the one in Syracuse. The original structure dates back to the 3rd Century B.C. It was expanded by the Romans in the 3rd Century A.D., who made it an amphitheater. It was divided into three sections: the orchestra, the stage, and the cavea (auditorium), which could hold 5,400 people.
This theater hosts several summer concerts each year due to its outstanding acoustics. It is a stunning location with breathtaking views of the coast and Mount Etna as the backdrop, making it an unforgettable experience.
Piazza del Duomo, Taormina
This picturesque piazza is home to the Duomo, a Gothic-style building, and the Baroque fountain. The Duomo, dedicated to St. Nicholas was built in the 13th century. However, it has been extensively restored over the years. Its interior is a Latin cross, with a nave and 2 aisles. Six monolithic pillars support it.
You can see the “non-made Madonna” with a silver mantle when you enter. It is hidden in a well by Arab invaders to show that it is an icon of miraculous power not made by humans.
Piazza IX Aprile, Taormina
This elegant piazza is extremely popular, and rightly so. It offers stunning views of the Greek Theater, Giardini Naxos bay, and Mount Etna. The terrace-shaped piazza draws crowds who congregate close to the railings to enjoy the stunning views and get a shot with this incredible backdrop.
You will find the Church of St. Joseph in the piazza as well as an ex-church, St. Augustine, which has been converted into the town library. The clock tower is located north of the piazza. It dates back to the 12th century. This reconstruction was made from the original destroyed one during the French invasion of 17 century.
What happened on the 9th of April to give the piazza its name? This was the day that Garibaldi landed at Marsala in order to liberate Sicily from Bourbons. The piazza was named to commemorate Garibaldi’s landing.
You might be thinking that Naxos sounds very Italian. Giardini Naxos was founded in 735 B.C. It was the first Greek colony established in Sicily. The colony was named Naxos after an Aegean island.
The Arabs introduced citrus fruit cultivation during the Byzantine period. Giardini (gardens) is the Arabic name. It is today a busy beach resort, with 2.5 miles of sandy beaches.
One of the most striking sights is the group of rocks called the Islands of the Cyclops, or Faragilioni of Acitrezza. These rocks were formed by lava flows in the Gulf of Acritrezza. Legend has it that these rocks were thrown at Ulysses by Polyphemus, the Cyclops or Faragilioni of Acitrezza by the cyclops Polyphemus after being blinded with a stake through his eye.
The protected marine reserve was established in 1989 to protect the islands’ rich fauna, stunning landscapes, and abundance of fossils.
Aci Castello is one of nine towns that bear “Aci” as their name. Its name comes from the Norman castle built in the 12th century on a rock. The castle, which was built in Roman times, has been a fortress. It witnessed the battle between the Aragonese of Sicily and the Angevins of Naples. In 1787, it was used as a prison by the Bourbons. It is now a museum with small botanical gardens and archaeological remains.
Take a look at the video to see what we found while exploring Acicastello. This vibrant scene will give you a sense of Sicily’s local life and traditions.