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CruiseDirection - Magazine May 2019

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The country of Italy is filled with magic, myth, legend, and history and the city of Taormina on the island of Sicily is no exception to this rule. Located on a hill over Monte Tauro, Taormina has a grand view of the surrounding area and of Mount Etna – Europe’s highest active volcano. Its favourable position means it has beautiful weather and the city is truly a prime tourist destination. Many ancient races, including the Greeks and the Romans, all at one point or another claimed this city as their own, and its unique architecture shows it.  

If you are into architecture, then you will want to visit the Greek Theatre, the Roman ‘Naumachiae’ and the 13th century Cathedral of Saint Nicola. Other important sites are the 14th century Palazzo Corvaja and the 16th century Palace of the Dukes of Saint Stefano. The public gardens and the ancient abbey of ‘Badia Vecchia’ are two more areas that will satisfy your inner architect. Of course there are plenty more places to see, but these particular sites have exceptional architectural significance in the city.

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Why visit Taormina ?

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Beautiful weather

A grand view of the surrounding area and of Mount Etna

Taormina has become a resort area and famous people from 1700s artists to modern day authors and celebrities have come here for Mediterranean holidays. There are plenty of hotels and self-catering facilities to choose from. If you simply want to relax during your time at Taormina, you can take a stroll through the pedestrian areas of the old town and soak up the ambience. You could take in a performance at the Greek Theatre, view the art exhibits in the local palazzo and churches, shop along the ‘Corso Umberto’ that is filled with classical music cafes and shops selling pastries, or visit one of the city’s many museums.  

Nature lovers will enjoy the many trails that lead into the surrounding countryside, exploring the many public gardens, or simply sitting to enjoy the tranquil views of the Mediterranean while listening to the birds circling overhead. Sports enthusiasts can golf at the city’s 18-hole golf course or swim, scuba dive, sail, fish and windsurf off the coast. And, of course, there is sunbathing on the beach almost all year long. Many of the hotels offer spa treatments and beauty programmes and there are Beauty Farms in the town centre for a touch of luxury.  

The Messina and Catania gates in Taormina are the ancient entrances to the city and remnants of the old wall fortification system can still be seen nearby. The Barocco style fountain in the piazza duomo is a wondrous marble edifice with a mythological horse prancing from the water. This was built in 1635. In the Cathedral of Taormina is the Byzantine Madonna, which was found inside an old wall where tradition states angels placed it. The Gymnasium ruins can still be viewed today and many places within it are still recognisable. It was used to train the original Olympic athletes. And the Antiquarium is a small archaeological museum in the Antique Theatre with relics from the area.  

There are plenty of churches and other sites in this ancient Sicilian city, but the views are just as spectacular as the historical monuments, and no matter where you go, make sure you take your camera, as you never know what you might see and want to remember.

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