Writers and famous people of the past left only positive reviews about Taormina. For example, the Frenchman Guy de Maupassant, exclaimed that this resort is worthy of exceptional attention.
"Even if fate gives you just one day in Sicily, spend it in Taormina!"
The writer was undoubtedly right, a journey along a mountain road in the heart of the city to the main attractions is a pleasant adventure in itself. The slope of the roadway is not so large, the desired location is 200 meters above sea level. Saturated greens, colored with colorful strokes of flowering branches, makes a great impression. Like the glare of the sun reflected in the azure waters of the Ionian Sea.
What is a must see in Taormina?
Churches and cathedrals
In the city center, the traveler will have the opportunity to look at the local Duomo - Cathedral. Built in the 15th century, this cathedral replaced the early medieval church dedicated to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker. St. Nicholas became the patron saint of the new Duomo, so the full name sounds like the Cathedral of St. Nicholas (Dom San Nicolò). In comparison with the famous Duomo of Florence and Rome, the local cathedral makes a modest impression. But for residents of the city, it is a symbol of spirituality and faith.
On Cathedral Square, right in front of Dom San Nicolò is a picturesque fountain. The three-tiered pedestal is crowned with an entertaining figure - the crowned centaur. This unusual character is a symbol of Taormina.
A leisurely walk around the city will lead the traveler to April 9th. Against the background of a small open space covered with colorful tiles, the mountains majestically rise. Having managed to tear his eyes away from this breathtaking panorama, the viewer, to his surprise, will find medieval buildings in the foreground.
From clock tower Torre del 'Oroolgio (Torre dell'Orologio), standing on the side of the square, blows with harsh force and antiquity. It was designed back in the 12th century in a typical fortification style. Now it is somewhat enlivened by the scenery of the adjacent restaurant. Standing nearby St. Augustine's Church (San Agostino) looks more elegant. It was also built at the beginning of the 15th century, as a symbol of the deliverance of the city from the plague epidemic. For a long time the church of St. Augustine does not fulfill its direct duties, it began to serve Taormina as a library. Opposite it is another small church dedicated to Saint Giuseppe.
Near the Roman Odeon, tourists can admire Church of St. Catherine of Alexandria. The building dates from the 17th century and is best known for the statue of the Great Martyr, fortified above the entrance to the church. The Anglican is very harmoniously blended into the landscapes of Taormina Church of St. Georgebuilt at the beginning of the XX century. The temple dedicated to St. George the Victorious stands at the edge of the terrace, which offers breathtaking views of the sea and mountains.
Another wonder of religious subjects is located high in the mountains. Church of Mother of God in the rock (Madonna della Rocca), partially uses a niche in Mount Tauro. It was created in the middle of the XVII century and since then, it has attracted the attention of pilgrims and ordinary tourists.
It is worth noting that most of Taormina's architectural sights are modest in size. This fact is true for religious buildings, it also applies to secular buildings. The whole city is filled with spirituality and indescribable comfort. Any buildings and constructions would inevitably be lost against the backdrop of the Apennine mountain range. The inhabitants of Taormina subtly felt this moment and did not even try to influence the size of others, they take simplicity and grace for their souls.
Palace of Corvaggio located in the city center and is its hallmark. Arabs who had been operating in the city for 10-11 centuries had a hand in the construction of the palazzo. A massive reconstruction overtook the palace in the 15th century. It has been specially converted for the needs of the Sicilian Parliament. The palace owes its name to the most eminent and oldest family that stood at the origins of the rule of the city. As for the architectural style of construction, it is difficult to characterize it in one word. A bizarre combination of Arabic, Romanesque, Norman styles bring unforgettable accents.
Central Tower of the Palace of Corvaggio - This is a unique example of Arabian architecture in modern Europe. The eastern arches of the entrance portals and windows inevitably give rise to the idea of fairy tales "1000 and one night." The patterned crown of the Arab tower looks fragile compared to later buildings.
The left wing of the castle dates back to the medieval period. It is decorated with a staircase decorated with relief paintings of biblical themes. The right wing is the newest part of the palazzo. It served as the seat of Parliament. In the mid-20th century, this part of the castle was reoriented for the headquarters of several travel agencies.
Palazzo duca di santo stefano
Palazzo duca di santo stefano - Residence of the Spanish Duke of Santo Stefano in Taormina. The palace appeared on the orders of the Duke of De Spuches in the 14th century. Although the appearance of the building is influenced by Romanesque architecture, Gothic elements give the final impression. Double arches of windows are made in a typical Gothic manner. Elongated lancet arches decorated with symbolic hectograms. At the very roof of the building there is a layered frieze of contrasting stones. Chains of black lava and white stone give the Palace of the Duke of Santo Stefano a festive look.
This building was badly damaged during the war during the Second World War. However, through the efforts of the Catholic Church, which took the palace under its care, all of its beauty took on its original appearance.
Old Palace (Palazzo Vecchio)
Taormina, like Florence, has its own Old Palace (Palazzo Vecchio). This title was awarded to the most ancient palace of the city - Palazzo Ciampoli. A memorable plaque mounted on the wall of the palazzo informs that construction work in the building began in the 15th century. However, the real date of the creation of the palace is lost in the bowels of the 13th century.
All subsequent work expanded the originally modest castle and changed its appearance in every way. According to some reports, the original owners of the castle were Corvaja, who subsequently ceded the old residence to the family of Cimpoli. In the area of the 20th century, within the walls of the Palace of Cimpoli was a hotel that until now has not survived.
Old Monastery (Palazzo Badia Vecchia)
Completes our review of Taormina castles - the Palazzo Old Monastery, whose building dates from the 14th century. Today, the small palace building houses a museum dedicated to archaeological finds. And in the past, this palace served for the needs of the Catholic Abbey. In appearance, it resembles a typical fortification tower, which is enlivened by the double windows inherent in the Gothic. A contrasting lava and tile of Syracuse stone fashionable in the Middle Ages elegantly encircles the palazzo.
Monuments of antiquity
The evidence of the culture of Ancient Greece and Rome is carefully preserved by the city municipality and is available for public viewing. The remains of the Greek Theater (Teatro Greco), cause conflicting feelings. The surviving fragments allow tourists to independently evaluate the scope of the ancient builders (III century BC). The diameter of the open theater was 109 meters, the stands accommodated up to 10 thousand spectators.
The construction of such a vast theater on the side of the mountain required considerable efforts, such as the arrangement of the site with 100,000 cubic meters of limestone! At the same time, the past millennia did not spare such a grandiose construction. A wonderful view of the sea and the surrounding nature is able to please the eye with unchanging power.
In contrast to the Greek whopper, the Roman Odeon (open theater) has a very modest size. It was designed for 200 people and, most likely, was used for meetings of the city council. In Taormina's chronicles, the initiator of the construction of the Odeon is the Roman consul and politician Octavian Augustus (I century BC).
Another evidence of the greatness of the Roman Empire in the city is the ruins of Naumakhia. This term in ancient Rome designated a place for water battles of gladiators. A peculiar pool with a diameter of almost 122 meters and a depth of 5 meters was used for spectacular battles in the water.
Nature and climate
Finally, I would like to note the main attraction of Taormina, which is available to everyone and everyone on an absolutely free basis - this is the amazing beauty of nature and the world. From the height of the city, tourists can freely view the torn bends of the mountains, the endless expanse of the silky sea. In fine weather, an incomparable view of the active volcano Etna opens. Also, do not forget about the stunning air filled with the purity of mountain air mixed with salty sea winds. During the period of active flowering of bushes and trees, incredible aromas soar through the streets of Taormina.
Take a look at the city garden or at one of Taormina's many exhibitions and events. A lot of unexpected and positive experiences will overwhelm you. Otherwise, why else travel, if not in an effort to change the gray everyday life for the holidays boiling with a full life! Have a wonderful holiday!