Place to visit when in Taormina

 

Taormina Attractions: Map

 

Main Monuments in Taormina

Greek Roman Theatre | Roman Odeon

Santa Caterina Church | Corso Umberto Street

Villa Comunale

 

Museum in Taormina

Archaeological Museum

 

Taormina attractions nearby

Castelmola | Isola Bella | Mt Etna Volcano

 

Restaurants in Taormina

 

Baronessa Restaurant | Casa Grugno Restaurant

 

Licchio's Restaurant | Il Barcaiolo Restaurant

 

Nightlife in Taormina

La Giara Restaurant Piano-Bar

 

Greek-Roman Theatre

Main Monuments in Taormina

ENG: Greek-Roman Theatre

ITA: Teatro Greco-Romano

Via del Teatro Greco

Tel.: (+39) 094223605

This is Taormina's most visited monument, offering a view of rare beauty of the seacoast and Mount Etna. In the Hellenistic period, the Greeks hewed the theater out of the rocky slope of Mount Tauro; the Romans remodeled and modified it greatly. What remains today dates from the 2nd century A.D. The conquering Arabs, who seemed intent on devastating the town, slashed away at it in the 10th century. That leaves us with a rather sparse and dusty ruin, less evocative than the Greek theater in Catania. On the premises is a display of artifacts from the classical and early Christian periods. Today, the Greek Amphitheater is the site of the annual Taormina film festival. The ruins lie on the upper reaches of Taormina, few steps from the Grand Hotel Timeo.

Taormina Greek-Roman Theatre open:

Mon-Sun: 09:00 to 1 hour before sunset

Taormina Greek-Roman Theatre admission: charge

 

Roman Odeon

Main Monuments in Taormina

ENG: Roman Odeon

ITA: Odeon Romano

Behind the tourist office, on the other side of Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, is the Roman Odeon, a small theater partly covered by the church of Santa Caterina next door. The Romans constructed this theater around A.D. 21. Much smaller than the Greek theater and with similar architecture, it was discovered in 1892 by a blacksmith digging in the area. A peristyle (colonnade) was also discovered here, perhaps all that was left of a Greek temple dedicated to Aphrodite.

Taormina Roman Odeon open: always

Taormina Roman Odeon admission: free

 

Saint Caterina Church

Main Monuments in Taormina

ENG: Saint Caterina Church

ITA: Chiesa di Santa Caterina

Chiesa Santa Caterina is located in Piazza Santa Caterina, off Corso Umberto I (tel. +39 0942-23123), was consecrated to St. Catherine of Alexandria (exact consecration date unknown); it may have been built in the mid-17th century. It sits on a piazza that abuts the highest point of the town's main street, Corso Umberto I. Within its severely dignified exterior are baroque detailing and a trussed wood-beamed ceiling. Chiesa Santa Caterina is the temporary replacement for Taormina's cathedral, which will be closed for some time.

Taormina Santa Caterina Church open: daily

9am to noon and 4pm to 7pm

Taormina Santa Caterina Church admission: tips

 

Corso Umberto Street

Main Monuments in Taormina

ENG: Corso Umberto Street

ITA: Corso Umberto

Corso Umberto, Taormina’s main street, draws a semicircle in the old city and links Porta Catania in the south with Porta Messina in the north. The street is narrow and has a medieval appearance; it is lined with buildings, many of which are quite ancient. Numerous doorways and windows are typical of the architecture of the fifteenth century which splendid Gothic forms. From the Corso many lanes and alleys, some spanned by arches, lead to other lanes above and below, giving picturesque glimpses of the luxuriant hillside. Occasionally one finds small squares or landings with bars or cafes. Every little nook or cranny seems to have a few tables and chairs and offers meals to the tourists. 
Corso Umberto opens up to create Piazza IX aprile, a huge square with a blue checkered tile floor and a banister directly overlooking the ravine and the arbor. Because of its strategic position the piazza is the main focus of social gatherings. Looking out over the iron balustrade surrounding the square we can admire Mount Etna: the sight of the snowy mountain right above the blue sea is one of the most beautiful I have seen.
Taormina Corso Umberto Street open: always

Taormina Corso Umberto Street admission: none

 

Villa Comunale

Main Monuments in Taormina

ENG/ITA: Villa Comunale

A local sightseeing oddity here is Villa Comunale, sometimes called Parco Duca di Cesarò, Via Bagnoli Croce, off Corso Umberto I. One of the most beautiful little parks in all of Sicily, the gardens were the creation of Lady Florence Trevelyan in the late 19th century. This Scottish lady was "invited" to leave Britain after a well-publicized romance with the future king, Edward VII, son of Victoria. She built various amusements in the gardens, including a fanciful stone-and-brick pavilion that might have been conceived as a teahouse.

Taormina Garden open: daily

8:30am to 7pm (6pm in winter)

Taormina Garden admission: none

Archaeological Museum

Museum in Taormina

ENG: Archaeological Museum

ITA: Museo Archeologico

Museo Archeologico di Taormina, in the Palazzo Badia Vecchia, on Via Circonvallazione (tel. +39 0942-620112), is set on the site of the ancient Roman baths. It is a repository for the hundreds of archaeological remnants discovered during excavations in and around the city. Expect pottery shards and lingering artifacts of the ancient Roman world.

Taormina Archaeological Museum open: Tue-Sun

9am to 1pm and 4 to 8pm

Taormina Garden admission: charge


Castelmola

Taormina attractions nearby

Castelmola

It's worth a trip to the nearby village of Castelmola, 3km (2 miles) northwest of Taormina. This is one of the most beautiful places in eastern Sicily, with a panoramic view of Mount Etna on clear days. You might also visit the ruined castello (castle) on the summit of Mount Tauro (390m/1,280 ft.), about 3km (2 miles) northwest of Taormina along the Castelmola road. Hikers can follow a footpath here. Ruins of a former acropolis are visible, but most people come simply for the panoramas.

To get to Castelmola it's quite simple. If you come through the motorway the road 114 the leads you in Taormina and after two kilometers you'll see Taormina's main car park. Carry on towards Castelmola as the signs on the way clearly explain.
After 6 kilometers of steep but easily driving road you will see the parkings of the town, where is possible leave the car and start the walking towards the town. If you don't use the motorway, follow the provincial road 114 towards Taormina.

If you are in Castelmola you cannot forget to go to visit the Bar Turrisi: it is a bar that is passed from generation to generation.

The age of the Cavalier ended in the mid seventies and the age of the Cavalier's son Peppino began. An extravagant character, Peppino almost left the bar to be an actor, but he realised he had to build his life in Castelmola and so he stayed. In 1975 Peppino married his wife Rosa and together they refurbished the bar as it stands today, particularly concentrating on enhancing the interior. They recognised that their era was particularly happy and prolific. Having had three sons within five years, there was one particular symbol that could represent it all: the penis, vulgarly. The idea of the penis has definitely had a big impact on the population, especially on the priest. However, in the following years the symbol was accepted by everyone and became a important part of the bar. In fact, it is present in different shapes, lengths and materials, in wood, ceramics, terracotta, worked iron, pasta and marzipan. The Penis sets the tempo of the bar and the moods of all those within it. The penis is not a vulgar symbol and finds his roots in Greek culture, where the god Priapous represented fertility, freedom, fortune, life and beauty. Greek culture has influenced our own for centuries. Anyway ... we recommend to visit this Bar and in the same time to taste typical Almond Wine very famous in this town. 

Isola Bella
Taormina attractions nearby

Isola Bella

Many visitors to Taormina come for the beach, although the sands aren't exactly at the resort. To reach the best and most popular beach, Lido Mazzarò, you have to go south of town via a cable car (tel. +39 0942-23605) that leaves from Via Pirandello every 15 minutes. A one-way ticket is really cheap. This beach is one of the best equipped in Sicily, with bars, restaurants, and hotels. You can rent beach chairs, umbrellas, and watersports equipment at various kiosks from May to September. To the right of Lido Mazzarò, past the Capo Sant'Andrea headland, is the region's prettiest cove, where twin crescents of beach sweep from a sand spit out to the minuscule Isola Bella islet. You can walk here from the cable car in a minute, but it's more fun to paddle a boat from Mazzarò around Capo Sant'Andrea, which hides a few grottoes with excellent light effects on the seaward side.

Mt Etna Volcano

Taormina attractions nearby

Mt Etna Volcano

23km (14 miles) SW of Taormina, 31km (19 miles) N of Catania, 60km (37 miles) S of Messina
Looming menacingly over the coast of eastern Sicily, Mount Etna is the highest and largest active volcano in Europe -- and we do mean active. The peak has changed in size over the years, but is currently in the neighborhood of 3,292m (10,801 ft.). Etna has been active in modern times (in 1928, the little village of Mascali was buried under its lava), and eruptions in 2001 and 2002 rekindled Sicilian fears.

Etna has figured in history and in Greek mythology. Empedocles, the 5th-century B.C. Greek philosopher, is said to have jumped into its crater as a sign that he was being delivered directly to Mount Olympus to take his seat among the gods. It was under Etna that Zeus crushed the multiheaded dragon Typhoeus, thereby securing domination over Olympus. Hephaestus, the god of fire and blacksmiths, made his headquarters in Etna, aided by the single-eyed Cyclops (go to admire the Cyclops area in Acitrezza far from Taormina just 30 minutes by car. In Acitrezza you can stop also in some Bar to enjoy a delicious ice-cream)

Visitors will have to decide whether to ascend Mount Etna from the northern or southern approach. We prefer the north-facing side, partly because it's cooler, more beautiful, and much richer in wildflowers that thrive in the volcanic soil. The north side is also more heavily forested. The south side, because of the eruptions during the last decade, is mostly covered with barren-looking lava flows. Its access routes are more crowded, and its views less appealing. Nonetheless, many visitors to Catania come up Etna's south side.
If you decide to come up the north side, simply take the highway to its end, Piano Provenzana, which stops at a complex of Alpine-inspired chalets selling souvenirs. During the heat of a Sicilian summer, they appear visibly out of place, but in winter, because of the high altitude (2,700m/8,858 ft.), they function as the centerpiece of a small-scale but thriving ski colony. The ski facilities include five downhill ski lifts and a network of cross-country ski trails.
It is from this artificial-looking alpine hamlet of Piano Provenzana that you buy tickets for bus excursions to the top of Mount Etna. The round-trip lasts 2 hours. Departures are whenever business merits, but in summer, buses leave usually every hour.
At the top, the bus parks near a seismic exploration station, and visitors walk a bit farther to a point near the top, across gravel-covered landscapes of great brutality. There's no fire and brimstone to see -- if there is, and if the crater is active, all bus trips are immediately discontinued. Note that visibility is poor on cloudy days; it's also generally clearer in the mornings....so plan your Etna excursion in the morning and not during afternoon.

If you want a really unforgettable excursion to Etna Volcano you MUST use our Jeep (maximum 4/6 seats) .. only in this case you can have a jeep-driver at your disposal showing you the Best of Etna Volcano. We usually organize some stop for lunch in typical shops or in some farmhouse to taste the real and typical local dishes. Read more on www.taorminaexcursions.com


Baronessa Restaurant

Restaurants in Taormina 

SDG Sicily Driver Guide suggest: Baronessa Restaurant, a great restaurant, charming, delicious meals, romantic atmosphere. The restaurant is located in Corso Umberto 148 and in the hearth of the Taormina shopping center. If you need to contact them by phone the number is +39 0942620163 or by E-mail.


Casa Grugno Restaurant

Restaurants in Taormina 

SDG Sicily Driver Guide suggest: Casa Grugno Restaurant, the most exciting restaurant in Taormina is making a bold statement about modern Sicilian cuisine. Austrian-born chef Andreas Zangerl presides over this increasingly famous place, where the snows of the Austrian Tyrol seem to mingle with the torrid Sicilian scrublands. The setting is a stone-sided house that contains a bar, an ocher dining room outfitted like a trompe l'oeil rendition of Carnevale in Venice, and a walled-in terrace ringed with plants. The hip and alert young staff gets excellent supervision from the town's most successful maître d'hôtel, Stephano Lo Guidice.
The sublime food here is reinvented Sicilian cuisine at its finest, a haute cuisine that draws from a Pan-European sensibility. The fixed-price menus might include tuna steak with sweet-and-sour onion and mint sauce; pasta alla Trapanese (with almonds, tomatoes, and chile peppers); roasted pigeon with lentils from the offshore island of Pantelleria; and an impeccable version of Parmesan eggplant that might be the most deliciously fragrant dish in this part of town. If you need to find this restaurant it is located few minutes walk from the San Domenico Palace Hotel, and exactly in Via Santa Maria de Greci. If you need to contact them by phone the number is +39 094221208.

 

Licchio's Restaurant

Restaurants in Taormina 

SDG Sicily Driver Guide suggest: Licchio's Restaurant, located in an extraordinary location and few minutes walk from Porta Messina (one of the main door to Corso Umberto Street).The restaurant offers traditional menù, local food with fish, meat and great vegetables. The atmosphere is nice, friendly staff and moderate rate. Great also the wines list. If you need to find this restaurant go in Via Patricio number 10 (looking Porta Messina in front of you, go on the right side. 200 metres and you will find the restaurant) or telephone them at the Tel. +39 0942625327.

 

Il Barcaiolo Restaurant

Restaurants in Taormina 

SDG Sicily Driver Guide suggest: Il Barcaiolo Restaurant, for a quintessential casual and authentic experience, visit Il Barcaiolo in Mazzaro – delicious dishes, family cooking, and amazing seafood! To reach this restaurant use a private transportation or a taxi because the location is not in the city centre but in Mazzarò. IMPORTANT to know is the steps ... there's a lot of steps to join the restaurant but when you will arrive there ... is so lovely ... because is located in a small and characteristic bay. Here you can eat a really fresh fish and also a delicious pepper-meat. If you need to go there the address is Via Castelluccio-Spiaggia Mazzarò. The Tel. is +39 0942625633.

 

La Giara Restaurant Piano-Bar

Nightlife in Taormina

SDG Sicily Driver Guide suggest: La Giara Restaurant Piano-Bar.

Glossy, airy, and reminiscent of Rome during the heyday of Gina Lollobrigida, La Giara evokes a warmed-over la dolce vita. The restaurant is almost excessively formal, and it has remained predictably stable since its founding in 1953. Views sweep from the veranda's outdoor tables over the bay of Taormina. The Art Deco ambience is also inviting, with marble floors and columns shaped from stone quarried in the fields outside Syracuse. The pastas are meals in themselves; we're especially fond of the ricotta-stuffed cannelloni and the ravioli stuffed with pesto-flavored eggplant. The fresh fish of the day is grilled to perfection, and meats are cooked equally well. Reservation is Required. You can find this restaurant-piano bar in Vico La Floresta, a narrow street and steps in the middle of Corso Umberto Street. If you need to book a seat please be so kind as to call the Tel. +39 094223360.

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