Sunday, 24 September 2017

Taormina ... the British Legacy

Taormina has always been renowned as a destination for British visitors ever since the 18th Century with many leaving a legacy of history and romance giving the town a quintessential British touch. From the Grand Tour to poets, writers, movie stars and pop idols you can find evidence of the British Isles everywhere.

It all started with the The Grand Tour ..... In the 18th century British aristocracy would embark on what was known as 'The Grand Tour' visiting all of continental Europe enjoying the culture and embarking on purchasing fine works of art and antiques. Taormina was an obligatory stop on The Grand Tour and has played host to foreign visitors ever since. Being the last stop on the tour many decided to stay and make Taormina their home. Visitors chose Taormina for its peaceful location and beautiful landscapes with many drawing inspiration for paintings, poems and novels. They enjoyed Taormina’s glamourous way of life, with afternoon teas and soirees in beautiful villas and lush gardens. One of the first visitors to Sicily partaking in the Grand Tour was a Scottish gentleman called Patrick Brydone, the tour formed the subject of his book 'A Tour of Sicily and Malta' which was composed from letters that he had sent home to his travelling companion William Beckford. The book became a best seller.


D H Lawrence ..... From March 1920 to February 1922 Taormina became home to the author D H Lawrence and his wife Frieda living as the guests of Don Cicco Cacopardo in a house called Fontana Vecchia. The writer fell in love with Taormina and once wrote in a letter to a friend "We love Taormina and in particular our house, I like this place more than any other, I love the sunrise over the open sea to the East". It is said that he wrote Lady Chatterley's Lover here after drawing inspiration from an English noble lady living in the town who fell in love with her Sicilian gardener. Fontana Vecchia also played host to the English musical and playwright critic Howard Agg who recalled his stay in his book 'A Cypress in Sicily' which he wrote in 1967.


Casa Cuseni ..... this enchanting villa was designed and built for the painter Robert Hawthorn Kitson in 1905, his Taorminese house and its lush gardens are designed in an art nouveau way mixed with Sicilian style. The dining room was both conceived and designed by a friend of his Sir Frank Brangwyn who was a pupil of William Morris the famous member of the artistic movement 'Arts and Crafts' and also by Sir Alfred East who at the time was the President of the Royal Society of British Artists. After his death Roberts Kitson's niece Daphne Phelps inherited Casa Cuseni and in order to sustain the enormous cost of the house started to rent out a few of the rooms to illustrious guests who came to write and paint. The house became the favourite place for DH Lawrence and his wife to have their afternoon tea. In later life Daphne wrote a book 'A House in Sicily'. Today Casa Cuseni is a guest house and museum where you can see stunning frescoes in the dining room.


The Public Gardens ..... the gardens of Taormina are one of the most loved and visited sites of the town. The gardens were created by a Scottish lady named Florence Trevelyan who chose to settle in Taormina in the late eighteen hundreds after falling victim to its charm. It is said that she was invited to leave England after a rumoured romantic entanglement with Queen Victoria’s son the Prince of Wales, who was to be the future King Edward VII. Florence married a successful local doctor from Taormina and together they owned many properties and land including Isola Bella and Casa Silva.
Florence was a nature lover and was always accompanied by her beloved dogs and animals. Her Will stated that her numerous animals should be taken care of, in particular her parrots, peacocks, pigeons and canaries so she created the gardens.The bird feeder buildings that today make up most of the gardens were designed by Florence referring to them as “Apiary” (The Hives) using them as an observation point for birds and a serene place to enjoy her English afternoon tea. To locals the buildings are referred to as the curious and eccentric Victorian Follies.


Casa Silva ..... Casa Silva was built in the 1800’s and was once the property of Florence and her husband and was part of the public gardens. The villa was named Casa Silva by two Austrian designers who arrived in Taormina in the early nineteen hundreds who established a firm place in haute couture. Today it is home to ‘Babilonia’ Taormina’s language, culture and art school.


Isola Bella ..... Florence also bought Isola Bella in 1890, the beautiful rocky outcrop only attached to the mainland by a narrow sandy path off the coast below Taormina, she built a house and established a garden there. In among the native Mediterranean plants, she planted non-native trees, rare shrubs and grasses. It also became the home of various sea birds and some interesting lizards. It is with thanks to her that we have such a beautiful island in Taormina. Isola Bella is now protected by WWF and it has been declared a Nature Reserve thanks to its beauty and untouched nature.
Miss Hill ..... In 1920 DH Lawrence sent home to England samples of embroidery made by the women of Taormina. Miss Mabel Hill, a daughter of a Welsh ship owner  who arrived in Taormina at the end of the eighteen hundreds fell in love with their beautiful creations and started an embroidery school in Taormina known as ‘Miss Hills School of Lace”. There are today shops on Corso Umberto and Via Teatro Greco who still follow in her footsteps.


The Ashbee Hotel ..... In 1907 construction began on Villa San Giorgio now The Ashbee Hotel. The villa was designed by English architect Charles Robert Ashbee, founder of English Arts and Crafts and was commissioned by Colonel Thomas Bradney Shaw-Hellier who was once the director of the Royal Military School of Music. He chose Taormina as a quiet, secluded location for rest and meditation. The villa was built on a plot of land that Colonel Shaw-Hellier had purchased which had a view across the Straits of Messina behind the Church of San Pancrazio which is built on the ruins of a Greek temple. A collection of photographs showing the visit of Charles Robert Ashbee to Taormina and the design work and construction of the Villa San Giorgio is kept in the National Library of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Additionally original drawings and sketches of the villa are held in the Drawings Collection of the Royal Institute of British Architects as well as in the English home of Colonel Shaw-Hillier at Wodehouse, Wombourne, Staffordshire. It was here at Villa San Giorgio that Colonel Montgomery made his headquarters during World War II and you can envisage him standing looking through his binoculars across the Straits of Messina. The Ashbee Hotel is a gorgeous luxurious and elegant hotel oozing Englishness and you can eat wonderfully in its St. George Restaurant.

St. George's Anglican Church ..... Situated on Via Pirandello you will find the Anglican Church of St George. Before the completion of this beautiful church in 1922 for the English speaking community of Taormina church services would be held in their private houses. Sir Edward and Lady Mabel Hill offered a private chapel which was in their house but it eventually became too small for the growing community so Sir Edward decided to purchase some land and build a church on it. English speaking services are still held there today and at Christmas the carol service is not to be missed. The church makes a perfect venue for destination weddings in Taormina.


Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton ..... The film Cleopatra is best remembered for the affair between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton who fell in love on set. Whilst filming the blockbuster movie the couple snuck away and no one knew where they had gone. They were in fact sipping cocktails at the Wunderbar Caffe in Piazza Aprile IX and staying at the Grand Timeo Hotel where it is said that on another visit Elizabeth broke a guitar by smashing it on Richard's head during a row. In a excerpt from his diary written in Taormina on 30th July 1967 he wrote "A slow day, marking time, with a walk in which we bought sunglasses at a little shop. As we left the crowd which had gathered applauded us. Elizabeth thought it very sweet, which indeed it was. We dined in somnolence and some self-satisfaction as we compared our ancestors and former wives and husbands. Elizabeth has become very slim and I can barely keep my hands off her. She is at the moment among the most dishiest girls I’ve ever seen. The most. I mean dishiest".

Villa Angela ..... In the 1980's pop stars were charmed by Taormina with one so much that he bought a hotel. Scottish singer songwriter Jim Kerr the lead singer of the band Simple Minds fell in love with Sicily when he visited on tour, and later set up Hotel Villa Angela on the hillside above Taormina. He was not the only one, Mick Hucknall, the singer of Simply Red, bought an elegant country house at the foot of Mount Etna looking out over the volcano and the sea.Mick Hucknall first spent a holiday in Sicily and fell in love with the country house. He bought the property and cultivated the “Il Cantante” (translated into English "The Singer") vineyard on the hillside around Mount Etna together with the wine grower Salvo Foti. Many British bands and artists have performed at the ancient Greek theatre of Taormina, most recently, Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Elton John and Boy George.

Villa Brittania ..... located in front of Fontana Vecchia you will find Villa Britannia. The owners Anglo/Sicilian Louisa and her partner Marco have lovingly refurbished the villa with vintage, designer and antique furniture together with art and sculptures by local artists. The villa is surrounded by a beautiful garden which hosts an ancient Roman soldiers tomb. Villa Britannia is also home to one of the best Sicilian cookery classes in Taormina. Aside from cookery classes the Villa has two beautiful suites with one aptly named the DH Lawrence suite. Louisa and Marco are the perfect hosts and also offer wine tasting creating ambient evenings reminiscent of the times of Taormina's golden age.


The English Roses of Sicily ..... and finally my British legacy would not be complete without mentioning all my lovely Ex-Pat British friends who look after us so well. Most of whom came to Sicily in the 1970's and 80's and fell in love not only with Sicily but also the charms of the Sicilian men, marrying, starting families and deciding to stay on our beautiful island. Some even starred in a documentary for the 1980's daytime TV show 'Pebble Mill' in a feature called 'The English Roses of Sicily'. They enjoy coffee mornings together every week and I love listening to the tales of their Sicilian life whilst enjoying a mug of English tea and biscuits. I love them all to bits.


Walking tours are the perfect experience to discover
the history and ambience of Taormina.

Taormina Cult is a trail through Taormina showing  "21 places where the muses found their home". It is a thematic route through and around the town which includes culture, history, literature, cinema and art and gives honour to Taormina’s glorious past. For the less energetic you can follow the trail with a guide in a Ape Calesse, a three wheel vehicle which is an icon of Italian style and design.

For more posts about Taormina and its history search my Blog archive

 To discover more British history in Sicily read my previous Blog post:
"Nelson's Castle"

Links:

www.casacuseni.it
www.babilonia.it
www.theashbeehotel.com
www.anglicanchurchtaormina.it
www.villaangela.com
www.villabritannia.com





Thank you for following me at
White Almond Sicily

I am also a contributor to

For NEW Blog updates and all things Sicilian
follow me on Facebook at

You can also follow me on
Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google + and LinkedIn

For Travel Design, Travel Tips and Recommendations

Love Sarah x



Sunday, 17 September 2017

Nelson's Castle


The English Gardens
Nelson's Column in London is one of the most famous monuments in the world, but have you ever heard of Nelson's Castle? Well, it exists, and it is in Sicily!

One autumnal day, we decided to take a road trip to seek out Castello Nelson also known as Castello di Maniace.

Off the beaten track and tucked away in the shadow of Mount Etna, the castle is located near the beautiful town of Bronte and takes approximately 2 hours by car from Taormina passing through the stunning Alcantara Valley and the medieval towns of Francavilla di Sicilia, Castiglione di Sicilia, Randazzo and of course Bronte which is famous for its pistachio production.

It is a spectacular drive through fruit orchards, olive groves, past vineyards and pistachio trees, often having to stop to let shepherds with their herds of cows, goats or sheep pass by, a traffic jam Sicilian style.

On arrival as we pulled into the car park everywhere looked abandoned and closed. We parked the car and decided to walk and investigate.

We found a little kiosk selling snacks and drinks, from here we purchased our tickets and were advised that  someone would come along with the keys to the castle and let us in.


A lady came along with a huge set of keys and opened the iron gates that were adorned with ornate N’s, she let us in to the main courtyard and opened the castle’s main door and left us alone …. We had the whole of Nelson’s castle and estate to ourselves to explore.

The castle (a former monastery) and the estate was given to Lord Nelson as part of his dukedom by the King of Naples, Ferdinand I in gratitude for British help overcoming the Neapolitan revolution of 1799 and for bringing the royal family back to safety in Palermo. The Royals were not the only people to be saved, Lady Hamilton was also a passenger and it was in Sicily that she became Nelson's mistress.

Nelson never actually saw or visited his castle,
nor did his heir and brother William. However his daughter Charlotte married into another famous naval family, the Hoods and she started a close connection between the family and Castello di Nelson which lasted up until 1981.

It is now owned by the Commune of Bronte.

On entering the courtyard there is a stunning Celtic cross (another gift). To your right a Norman church and left the entrance to the house. Once inside the house it could be easily mistaken for an English country residence. 

Main House
The same Englishness is also evident in the well-tended gardens which are surrounded by woodlands. In the gardens there are box hedges and magnolias happily living alongside exotic palm trees and the odd curious cat.

Inside the house there are relics of Nelson’s family, along the main corridor there are portraits of Lord Nelson’s descendants, autographed letters by the English royal family including a letter from Queen Elizabeth I inviting members of Nelson's family to her Coronation. There are also medals, naval battle plans and military orders.

On display there are two crystal glasses and the bottle that Nelson used just before his death during the battle of Trafalgar aboard HMS Victory. 

The Bottle and Glasses used just before Nelsons death
Nelson had planned many renovations to the house in the hope that he and Lady Hamilton would one day retire to Bronte and live a peaceful and quiet life away from whispers and gossip.

Having the whole house to ourselves was an amazing opportunity and we felt overwhelmed but eventually we had to leave, so we locked the door and returned the keys.

Close to the castle is an English cemetery however this is private as it still belongs to Nelson’s descendants.

One other connection to the castle is the literary sisters, Anne, Charlotte and Emily Bronte, their father the Reverend Patrick Prunty had such a huge obsession for Nelson that he changed his surname to Bronte.

The castle certainly is a hidden gem in Sicily oozing a quintessentially English touch and is a perfect place to visit combined with a visit to the beautiful towns of the Alcantara Valley.

As public transport is limited to Castello Nelson I would advise hiring a car or a private driver.

NEXT Blog post coming soon: "Taormina ... the British Legacy"


Main Corridor

Drawing Room

View towards Mount Etna

Sicilian Traffic 

Traffic Jam in Randazzo

Thank you for following me at White Almond Sicily

For NEW Blog updates and all things Sicilian

You can also follow me on
Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google + and Linkedin

I am also a contributor to www.timesofsicily.com

for Travel Advice and Reccomendations


Love Sarah x

Friday, 8 September 2017

The Coast of the Cyclops

The coastline from Aci Castello just north of Catania to Aci Trezza, south of Taormina is called Riviera dei Ciclopi (The Riviera of the Cyclops) and it is an area of outstanding beauty, full of myths and legends.

Whenever we fancy a short road trip this is one of the places we head for and sometimes when we drive home from a shopping trip to Catania we forego the autostrada and take the coastal road home, it takes a lot longer but it is well worth it for the dramatic views.

The coastline of North Eastern Sicily is also known as the Riveria of Lemons, given the significance of citrus groves. The coastline rises to dizzying heights of 120 meters at the nature reserve Timpa di Acireale, just above the coastal villages of Santa Maria La Scala and Santa Tecla.

Aci Castello
Starting from Catania, Aci Castello is a seaside village built around a picturesque square, where an ancient Norman castle is perched on a rock overlooking the sea. Built by King Tancredi in 1189 on Roman ruins, it became a prison during the reign of the Bourbons. You can visit the museum in the castle and admire a collection of minerals and fascinating archaeological remains. There are some ancient stairs that lead up to the summit where you can enjoy a special view of Isole dei Ciclopi (Cyclops Islands) the jagged rocks that emerge in the distance from the sea at Aci Trezza.

Aci Trezza is an ancient fishing village where the three rocks stand prominently in the sea. The legendary rocks were said to be thrown by the Cyclop Polyphemus.

In Homer’s The Odyssey, after being blinded by Ulysses, Polyphemus broke rocks from Mount Etna and threw them at Ulysses and his men in a fit of anger as they escaped on their ship. Polyphemus had been holding them hostage in his Mount Etna cave eating them one by one, they escaped by clinging to the bellies of his flock of sheep as the sheep left the cave to graze. Polyphemus had previously asked Ulysses what his name was and Ulysses replied “Nobody” so as they escaped the other cyclops on the volcano asked Polyphemus who had blinded him and he shouted “Nobody did it”.

Polythemus
A grant recently provided by the Ministry of the Environment and Land Protection has protected the islands. The main island, Lachea is now a marine reserve. You can reach the islands by getting a boat ride from one of the local fishermen who will take you there for a couple of euros. You can swim in the transparent waters behind the rocks and experience an amazing view of Mount Etna from the sea. Also an incredible experience is on board a glass bottomed boat, where you can get close to the sea and see the fishes beneath you, whilst enjoying the natural beauty. 

The town of Acireale is high above the rocky coast and is well worth a visit. From the public gardens you look down towards the Riveria dei Ciclopi. The town was built on old lava streams and has a beautiful piazza with a Baroque style cathedral. In Roman times it was known as a spa town and the thermal baths are still used today. It is also well known for its Sicilian puppet theatre and museum and also for its Carnevale in early spring which is said to be the best in Sicily.

In this region the myth of Aci and Galatea comes alive. In ancient times there lived Aci, a handsome shepherd who fell in love with Galatea, a beautiful sea nymph with whom Polyphemus the Cyclop was infatuated with. Polyphemus was jealous of the two lovers so he murdered Aci by throwing him against a large rock. The Gods took pity on Aci and transformed him into a river so that Galatea could swim in it and be with her beloved.  Aci also gave his name to the three towns on the coast.
Aci and the sea nymph Galatea


The river Aci had its mouth at Capo Mulini, a small fishing village which has intimate restaurants serving seafood and fish that could not be any fresher, this is where we always stop for lunch. The waters off the coast of Capo Mulini were the scene for naval battles that were fought between Carthage and Syracuse and later the Roman civil wars.

The Coast of the Cyclops certainly is an area full of stunning beauty, landscape, geology, history, myths and legends.

Why not combine a visit  to the Riviera of the Cyclops with a visit to the City of Catania.


Photo Gallery

Cyclops Islands, Aci Trezza

The Norman Castle, Aci Castello

Polythemus and Ulysses, The Odyssey

My Polyphemus, on our roof terrace facing Etna

... another Daisy adventure 

Cyclop Islands from Acireale


Thank you for following me at White Almond Sicily

For NEW Blog updates and all things Sicilian

You can also follow me on
Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google + and Linkedin

I am also a contributor to www.timesofsicily.com



Love Sarah x

Friday, 25 August 2017

Taormina ... 21 Excursions and Experiences

Taormina is Sicily's first true holiday resort and has been drawing visitors to the island for centuries, all of whom fall in love with its sparkling and colourful beauty. Taormina makes a fabulous holiday with glorious hotels, restaurants and shops as well as gorgeous beaches and beautiful gardens. It is a great base for exploring the rest of the island and boasts a micro-climate all year round.

One of the things I love most about writing my Blog is the amount of lovely emails I receive and it is such a pleasure and honour when people ask my advice on things to do and excursions to book whilst staying in Taormina.

Whether you join a guided group bus tour, book a private driver or hire a car there are many wonderful things to experience on the eastern side of Sicily from Taormina.

So by popular demand and in no particular order here are 21 recommendations for excursions and experiences you will love whilst staying in Taormina and its surrounding area.

1) Mount Etna
Dominating the eastern side of the island, Mount Etna is Europe's largest volcano, with several vast craters and a height of 3,330 metres, it remains one of the world's most active volcanos. For visitors it offers breathtaking views, great hiking and you might just see an eruption of bright red sparks and lava. Etna can be experienced in many ways. Tour companies or private drivers can take you up by coach or car where you can then purchase a ticket to explore the rest of the volcano by cable car and book an alpine guide. Another exciting adventure is to explore the volcano in a 4x4 Jeep with a trained guide where you will experience the volcano off road. Remember to bring warm clothes and sturdy shoes on your trip.
2) Syracuse
Founded in 733BC by Corinthian settlers, Syracuse became one of the first Greek colonies on the island. Visit the Archaeological Park where you will see its ancient Greek Theatre, Latomies (stone quarries), the Roman Amphitheatre and the Ear of Dionysius. Then continue to the charming island of Ortigia to visit the Spring of Arethua, the Temple of Apollo which is the the oldest Greek temple in Sicily dating around 565 BC and the Piazza Duomo with its beautiful cathedral with plenty of time for lunch.
3) The Aeolian Islands
With a mixture of history, small town atmosphere, superb cuisine and natural beauty, each of these islands has its own character. Guided group tours can be booked to visit Lipari and Vulcano or Panarea and Stromboli. Lipari is bright white, Vulcano still has sulphur emissions seeping out of its main crater, the island boasts mud baths and hot bubbles in the sea. Panarea is the most chic and exclusive and Stromboli has been active for more than two millennia, spewing sparks and red hot rocks into the air. Alternatively you can book a private boat tour which includes a captain, guide and lunch.
4) Agrigento and Piazza Armerina
The town of “Akrgas” was founded by the Greeks in 581 BC. It contains the remains of one of the richest colonies of Magna Graecia. You will visit the Valley of the Temples and will be fascinated by the beauty and grandeur of these temples because each has its own history and meaning. In Piazza Armerina visit the Villa Romana del Casale, the finest surviving Roman mosaics in the world which cover the floors of a once Roman official's hunting villa.
5) Palermo and Cefalu
A long day trip from Taormina, Palermo is the capital city of Sicily. Settled by the Phoenicians in the 8th Century BC, Palermo fell first to the Romans, then the Arabs who chose Palermo for their capital, making the city one of the most magnificent and powerful in the world. This splendour was compounded during Norman reign. Palermo is full of stunning architecture displaying a mixture of east and west and its food markets boast some of the best street food in the world. Cefalu is a small fishing village on the northern coast, now a busy resort thanks to its great beaches and it boasts a beautiful cathedral with stunning Byzantine mosaics.
6) The Baroque South East
When visiting Sicily a trip to the South East corner is a must do, the landscape is very much different from the rest of the island yet this small corner is rich in sights. The towns of Ragusa, Noto, Palazzolo Acreide, Scicli and Modica have all been declared as UNESCO World Heritage sites on the merits of their Baroque architecture and town planning, the result of the rebuilding after the destruction of the 1693 earthquake. Chocolate tasting in Modica is highly recommended for chocoholics.
7) Catania with a Street Food Tour
Sicily's second largest city has had its share of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, although Catania is rich in monuments dating back to its Greek foundations the city seen today was built mostly after the earthquake of 1693. The city is lively and cosmopolitan and its fish market is well worth a visit and a Street Food tour is a must.
8) The Godfather Tour
Fans of The Godfather trilogy directed by Francis Ford Coppola are in for a real treat when visiting Taormina as many of the movie locations are within easy reach. Visit the towns of Forza d'Agro and Savoca. Stop to enjoy a typical Sicilian granite in the famous Bar Vitelli in Savoca which set the scene for the marriage proposal between Michael Corleone and Apollonia.
9) The Inspector Montalbano Filming Locations Tour
Inspector Montalbano is a fictional character created by the author Andrea Camillieri in a series of novels. The character was then adapted for TV and the main character Salvo Montalbano works in the fictional town of Vigata in the equally fictional district of Montelusa. On this tour you will visit Punta Secca the location of Inspector Montalbano's house in the series and the towns of Ragusa and Scicli which are depicted as Vigata in the series.
10) Sicilia Outlet Village
Sicilia Outlet Village offers an open air shopping experience boasting famous brands at reduced prices. Situated in the stunning mountainous region of Enna the outlet village has great modern architecture set as a real village with cobbled streets, designer boutiques, shops selling local produce and restaurants and cafes.
11) Boat Tours
With more than 1000 kilometres of stunning coastline Sicily is the perfect island for boat trips. Whether you want to experience Taormina's coastline in a small fishing vessel, a sailing boat or a private yacht, there are many coves and grottos to discover. Swimming and snorkelling in the marine reserve of Isola Bella is an experience that will stay with you for a lifetime.
12) Mountain Biking
Close to Taormina you will find the Alcantara Valley. The park of Alcantara covers a large region and is well known in particular for its gorges and ravines. The ravines reach over 25 metres high and give life to an exciting spectacular canyon named Gole Alcantara which is gushing with icy cold water. The valley boasts stunning paths and mountain roads that make it perfect for discovering on two wheels.
13) Etnaland
Etnaland is a trilling day out for all the family. The Themepark is amazing with exciting roller coasters, spectacular rides and magical areas for children. The Aquapark has thrilling rides, slides, pools and relaxation areas creating a splash of fun for all ages.
14) Cookery Classes
Sicily is where Europe ends and Africa begins. It began its history as part of ancient Greece and soon became part of the Roman Empire. Thereafter the island was invaded by the Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, French, Spanish and Bourbons before unifying with Italy. Each conquest left its mark on the island and its cuisine. A cookery class is the perfect experience to learn to make traditional Sicilian dishes.
15) Walking and Trekking
Sicily is Italy’s largest region and is also it’s most varied, there is endless coastlines, rugged mountains, fields, volcanos and towns with wonderful history and architecture influenced by the many powers who have invaded the island, making the perfect location for walking and trekking. Or why not stay close to home in Taormina and partake in a historical walking tour of the town or join a food and wine walking tour.
16) Horse Riding and Donkey Trekking
One of the most exciting ways to discover Sicily is on horseback, whether it is through its countryside, on Mount Etna or on a beach your four legged friend will help create an amazing experience. Alternatively why not join a donkey trekking tour.
17) Taormina Cult Trail
Taormina Cult is a trail through Taormina showing  "21 places where the muses found their home". It is a thematic route through and around the town which includes culture, history, literature, cinema and art and gives honour to Taormina’s glorious past. For the less energetic you can follow the trail with a guide in a Ape Calesse, a three wheel vehicle which is an icon of Italian style and design.
18) Wine Tasting
The wine industry in Sicily has been going through a period of rapid change over the past twenty years. The popularity and prestige of Sicilian wine is rapidly on the increase. One of the best experiences is wine tasting in a winery on the slopes of Mount Etna. There are many to choose from or why not take the 'Train of the Wines of Etna' which is a unique way to experience wine tasting travelling the slopes of Etna by the Ferrovia Circumetnea and taking the 'Wine Bus' you can visit the "Strade del Vino dell'Etna" (the roads of Etna's wines) and freely discover the most beautiful wineries of Mount Etna.
19) Hop on Hop off Bus
This hop-on, hop-off bus tour of Taormina allows you to see the highlights and landmarks of Letojanni, Castelmola, Giardini Naxos, and Taormina. Stay on the bus for the full 115-minute tour, or hop off to explore further at any stop. Your ticket is valid for 24 hours, and audio commentary is available in seven languages. You can even extend your ticket to Forza d'Agro and Savoca to visit the filming locations of The Godfather Trilogy.
20) Diving
The sea around Sicily is a precious museum under the surface. On the sea floor near Capo Taormina lie the remains of two ship wrecks, Roman columns dating over 2000 years and an underwater archaeological area all which live amongst varied colourful sea life, corals and sponges. The ultimate experience is exploring the Sicilian sea, choose from scuba diving tours or snorkelling or learn to dive with PADI certified instructors.
21) Helicopter Tour
For pure indulgence take a helicopter tour enjoying views from the top of Mount Etna's craters. During the tour you can also admire the Valle del Bove which extends along the eastern slopes of Etna. The tour continues in the direction of Taormina, where you can enjoy a breathless and beautiful view of Taormina and the ancient Greek Theatre and surroundings.

So these are JUST 21 Excursions and Experiences to love on your holiday to Taormina
but there are so many more .....................

Please feel free to contact me for my recommendations,
I only recommend the finest contacts with local inside knowledge.

This Blog post is dedicated to all my wonderful friends in the
Tourism Industry in Sicily who work so hard
and with so much passion to make visitors dream holidays
to the island a memory that will last forever




Villa Almond Taormina


A beautiful house close to Taormina
available for year round rental
Perfect for exploring
the eastern coast of Sicily
and dipping your toes in the Ionian Sea.

for the owners contact details

______________________________________________________

Thank you for following me at
White Almond Sicily BlogSpot

I am also a contributor to

For NEW Blog updates and all things Sicilian
follow me on Facebook at

You can also follow me on
Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google + and LinkedIn

for Trip Advice and Recommendations


Love Sarah x