My Top 50 Taormina Tips

Piazza IX Aprile, Taormina

As Sicily's first resort and an obligatory stop on the Grand Tour, Taormina has welcomed guests for centuries. The town draped with bougainvillea, offers breathtaking views , an ancient theatre and cafes and terraces overlooking the sea.

It is called an island within an island and the pearl of the Ionian Sea. There are many wonderful things to experience and the following 50 are my favourites.


Taormina

1)      The Greek Theatre, Carved out of the hillside, the theatre seen today was refurbished by the Romans in 1st Century AD. They sacrificed some of the seats and part of the stage to make a circular arena for gladiator games.

2)      Opera and Concerts, Every summer the Greek Theatre is the venue for many performances of concerts and opera, keep posted for dates.

3)      Corso Umberto, The People of Taormina make the passeggiata here on the Corso, beginning at Porto Messina and crossing several lively piazzas towards the end at Porta Catania. Enjoy the plentiful bars, gelaterie and shops.

4)      Piazza IX Aprile, On this lovely square you are spoilt for choice between the sea views and people watching at the many outdoor cafes.

5)      Piazza del Duomo, Here you will find Taormina’s Cathedral. The baroque fountain in the piazza bears the centaur, the symbol of Taormina. It is said that if you drink from here you stay eternally youthful, so keep an empty bottle of water with you.

6)      Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, This piazza boasts the Palazzo Corvaja, an architectural building of Arab, Norman and Gothic elements, it is now the tourist information office. Here also is the Church of Santa Caterina which has visible Roman ruins behind and underneath its floor.

7)      Public Gardens, Giardino Publico, these much loved gardens have sweeping views down to Giardini Naxos, the well-tended gardens have palm, citrus and olive trees, bird of paradise flowers and exotic plants. There is also a war monument and the famous Victorian follies.

8)      Castelmola Walk, From Via Circonvallazione take the Castello path to Castelmola and enjoy the views and a glass of almond wine at Bar Turrisi.

9)      Taormina Mare, Take the cable car down to Mazzaro where there are beaches, grottos, coves and the tiny island Isola Bella.

10)  Isola Bella, Protected as a marine life sanctuary, the waters are crystal clear and you can sunbathe, rent boats, snorkel and scuba dive.

11)  Do a Walking Tour, discover the architecture and history of Taormina with a local guide.

12)  Walk the Taormina Cult Trail, 21 places where the Muses found their home. Copy of map available on request.

13) Discover Taormina's Vicoli (alleys) that lead up and down from Corso Umberto, look out for Vicolo Stretto Taormina's smallest street

14)  San Domenico Palace Hotel, This world famous hotel was converted from a 15th Century convent and is well worth a visit for its beautiful cloisters and gardens.

15)  Visit a ceramic workshop at Kerameion a laboratory that produces beautiful majolica entirely by hand.

16)  Join the evening Passeggiata the nightly stroll on Corso Umberto, see and be seen and the key is to walk very slowly. Dress to impress.

17)  Read A House in Sicily by Daphne Phelps the story of an English lady who inherited Casa Cuseni and the tales of her many famous guests. Casa Cuseni is now a guest house and museum. 

18)  Stop at La Bottega del Formaggio Taormina and taste and buy the best cheeses in Taormina, family run using animals at their farm in the countryside nearby Taormina.

19)  Take a Food & Wine Tour led by a local food-loving guide, meeting Sicilian traders and chefs.

20)  Join a Cookery Class at Villa Britannia, learn to make traditional Sicilian dishes and sweets such as Caponata, Pasta alla Norma and Cannoli.

Food and Drink

21)  Try the traditional Sicilian dish Caponata, a slow cooked mix of aubergine, red peppers, celery, capers, olives, tomatoes and pine nuts, seasoned with red wine vinegar and sugar making it agrodolce (sweet and sour)

22)  Eat Sicilian comfort food Pasta alla Norma, named after the Catania composer Bellini’s opera Norma, it is made with a tomato sauce and aubergine.

23)  Indulge in Cannoli, lightly fried pastry shells filled with sweetened ricotta, chocolate chips, candied fruit or pistachio.

24)  Try Arancini, a Sicilian fast food treat, available in bars. They are balls of risotto rice with a meaty ragu sauce filling, rolled in breadcrumbs and then deep fried.

25)  Enjoy breakfast at The Bam Bar popular with celebrities, try their granite, ice which is added to flavourings such as Lemon, Almond, Coffee and many more.

26)  Have an Aperol Spritz at The Wunderbar, follow in the footsteps of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton and enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail at this famous bar which often has live music in the evening.

27)  Enjoy great hospitality at Ristorante Duca di Cesaro peacefully situated opposite the public gardens, indulge in traditional Sicilian Cuisine.

28)  Eat pizza at Ristorante Pizzeria Taormina a restaurant with a fabulous terrace with stunning views of Mount Etna and the Bay of Naxos.

29)  Head to Morgana Bar for the best after dinner cocktails under the Sicilian night sky.


Giardini Naxos

30)  Take a boat excursion on The Albatros departing from the marina in Giardini Naxos, Captain Luciano takes you across the Bay of Naxos to the marine reserve of Isola Bella, try the Sunset dinner tour with plenty of time for swimming and snorkelling.

31)  Eat traditional Sicilian food at Ristorante Pippo Lupo di Mare

32)  Enjoy the best ice cream at Bar Salamone

33)  If you fancy a meal with a view eat at Ristorante La Cambusa for the best beach views of Taormina.

34)  Visit the Archaeological Park, as the first Greek colony in Sicily this ancient site is not to be missed.

Day Excursions from Taormina

35)  Alcantara Gorges and Medieval towns of the Alcantara Valley.

36)  Catania Sicily’s second largest city is well worth a visit for its markets and architecture, its famous fish market was featured in Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escape TV series

37)  STReat Catania join a tour of Catania’s markets tasting traditional Catania style street food and drink, get a certificate to prove that you ate them all.

38)  The Godfather Tour visit the filming locations of the trilogy and have a granite in the famous Bar Vitelli featured in The Godfather Part I.

39)  In the Footsteps of Inspector Montalbano travel South East and visit the filming locations of the popular television series, visiting Ragusa, the house of Inspector Montalbano and Scicli.

40)  Visit the volcano Mount Etna and feel like you are on top of the world. Explore by jeep and discover terrain and lava flows only a 4x4 can reach.

41)  Go wine tasting at the wonderful Gambino Vini, Sicily’s highest vineyard on the slopes of Mount Etna.

42)  Syracuse visit the beautiful island of Ortygia and the extensive archaeological park and after visit the beautiful tuna fishing village of Marzamemi.

43)  Be amazed by the Valley of Temples in Agrigento

44)  Take a trip to the stunning Aeolian Islands just north of Sicily’s coast, each one has its own character.

45)  Discover Taormina’s coastal roads in a Vintage Fiat 500.


46)  Palermo, Sicily’s capital city, settled by the Phoenicians in 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. Fabulous architecture and history.

47)  Etnaland, a thrilling theme park and aqua park.

48)  Sicilia Outlet Village with top designer brands with discounts of up to 70% all year round.

49)  Have your breath taken away by stunning Baroque architecture in the South Eastern town's of Noto, Ragusa and Scicli followed by chocolate tasting in Modica.

50)  Sicily Horse Riding, from treks on Mount Etna, through woodland or on a beach Horse Riding in Sicily is a magical experience

If you enjoyed this please browse my Blog archive for many more Taormina posts


Photo gallery ... All photos are our own


Eat Caponata

Visit The Kerameion Ceramic Workshop

Stay Eternally Youthful in Piazza Duomo

Vicolo Stretto, Taormina's Smallest Street

Drink Almond Wine in Castelmola

Breakfast at The Bam Bar

Go Shopping on Corso Umberto

Cheese Tasting at La Bottega del Formaggio Taormina

Ristorante Duca di Cesaro opposite The Public Gardens

Pasta all Norma, Sicilian Comfort Food

Arancini, Sicilian Street Food

The Albatros Boat Tour

The Marine Reserve at Isola Bella

Wine Tasting at Gambino Vini on Mount Etna

Restaurant with a View Ristorante Pizzeria Taormina

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