Boasting that rare ability to be homey and charming, yet cool and sexy at the same time, Taormina in Sicily would be one of those guys who can pull off noting his mum as his best friend and still score with the ladies.
Unfortunately there’s not much room for anyone when the beaches fill to the brim in summer, so a visit outside the peak months is your best bet if you’re looking to get intimate with Taormina. Take a stroll through the perfectly preserved medieval streets and up Corso Umberto Iwhile eating a gelsi, and visit the magical hillside towns of Savoca and Forza D’Agrò close by. Follow up with a visit to one of the many wineries for a delicious taste of local culture. Taormina may be homely and charming, but it’s definitely no hillbilly.
Taormina’s Top 10
10. Chiesa San Giuseppe This rococo church will just about charm your pants off if you let it.
5. Villa Comunale Sweet little hanging gardens that are the pride of the city.
9. Palazzo Corvaja Even the tourist office is housed in a pretty spectacular old building.
4. Cathedral You’ll find this slice of history on the eastern side of Piazza del Duomo.
8. Torre dell’Orogio What’s the time, Mr Wolf? Time to shut up and absorb the history of this monument.
3. Monte Tauro Worth it just for the views. The peak is almost 400m (1,312 feet) above town.
7. Palazzo Ciampoli This architectural splendour is now the Hotel Palazzo Vecchio.
2. Piazza del Duomo Cathedral Dating back to the 13th century. Is that a centaur with the breasts of an angel?
6. Badia Vecchia Norman-Arab elements deck this place out in historical splendour.
1. Teatro Greco Undisputedly the best thing to see in Taormina. Suspended between the sky and the sea, this theatre is hard to beat.
- Greek Amphitheatre - This ancient Greek site dates back to the 3rd century BC.
- Palazzo Corvaja - This ancient castle draws visitors due to its extraordinary architecture and manicured grounds.
- Olive Tree Row of Remembrance - This monument commemorates Taormina citizens who have died in wars.
- Human Torpedo - This display of a manned torpedo shows how these secret weapons were used during WWII.
- Villa Comunale - The ancient ruins in this garden tell the story of Lady Florence Trevelyan Cacciola, who came from Scotland.
Taormina Art & Culture
- Taormina’s City Gardens - These lovely gardens are a great example of the Mediterranean style of gardening.
- St George’s Church - The architecture of this church, built in the 1920s by the English, make this one of the main attractions of Taormina.
- Porta Ferdinanda - This gate was built in 1808 and is a beautiful example of Italian architecture.
- Theotokos - This Byzantine mosaic icon is perfectly preserved and is a breathtaking work of art.
- St Giuseppe Church - The relief on this 17th century church is meant to resemble the mountains that surround it.
- Corso Umberto - This famous shopping street features a wide array of boutiques and restaurants.
- Caffe Wunderbar - The great views of downtown Taormina make a great place to have a cup of coffee and watch the people stroll by.
- Via Luigi Pirandello - This shopping street features high-end boutiques.
- Cosmopolitan Da Pippo - This is a great place in Taormina to buy wine or specialty food items.
- Bar Europa - This specialty store features cooking supplies, aprons and local wine.
Gay & Lesbian Taormina
- Hotel Villa Schuler - This charming hotel in Taormina caters to a sophisticated clientele and has modern rooms with all the amenities.
- Shatulle - This gay bar is known for the photos and paintings that line its walls.
- Isoco Guesthouse - All of the rooms in this famous guesthouse are named after famous gay artists and photographers.
- Bar Turrisi - This gay bar was designed using a particular part of the male anatomy as its feature.
- Granduca - This gay-friendly restaurant occupies a restored 15th-century building.
- Legendary Sicily - This popular tour company takes visitors from Taormina to the lava flow caves by four-wheel drive jeep.
- Giardino Pubblico - The lovely manicured gardens of this park make for a great place to walk.
- Circumetnea Railway - One of the best ways to see the outdoor splendour of the area is to jump aboard this scenic railroad.
- Mazzaro Bay - The boat rides around this bay are a great way to take in a sunrise or sunset.
- Isola Bella - The pristine beaches at this nearby island are a great place to relax and enjoy the sun.
- Play a game of football at the Taormina Sporting Club.
- Catch a game at the Teatro Antico di Taormina.
- Play a round of golf at the Il Picciolo Golf Club.
- Get fit at the Palestra Quarus Health Club.
- Trek to the top of Mount Etna near Taormina.
Christmas and Easter are huge celebrations, so you’ll find a lot of festivities and gaudy decorations around April and December.
In the lead up to Lent, the town holds huge feasts complete with markets and local produce for sale.
December sees a celebration of local produce with the Wild Boar Feast. You may as well loosen those jeans now!
Also in December is the Nut Feast. Paying no heed to the ‘waste not, want not’ philosophy, locals throw nuts onto the street after a huge procession through town.
Film Festival Taormina and Taormina Arte are popular, but since the dates change each year, you’ll need to check to find out exactly when they’ll be!
When To Go
October and November are lovely times to visit. The crowds are smaller, but the days are still nice and warm.
- Hiring a car is probably not necessary, unless you want to take a scenic drive to the top of Mount Tauro.
- Taormina’s bus network is extensive and cheap, so take advantage of it as much possible.
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