You can fall in love with Taormina in less than a day

GUEST BLOGGERS, EUROPE, Interesting Towns — By on May 11, 2011 at 01:02

By guest blogger Estrella Azul. Photos Copyright © Estrella Azul.

Last November I had the wonderful opportunity of visiting Sicily with a friend. We were there for a week and traveled to quite a few places in North and East Sicily, including Siracusa, Catania, Taormina, Cefalu, Palermo, Monreale, Ragalna, Messina, Petralia Soprana and Belpasso.

The trip was more than I ever expected it to be. Everyone I met was super nice, all the places I visited were amazing and are now etched into my heart forever.

One of the places that stands out most is Taormina.

The author's view of Taormina from the Greek amphitheater ruins

The author's view of Taormina from the Greek amphitheater ruins

Settled on a cliff overlooking the Ionian sea from various terrace levels, Taormina is a small town in the Province of Messina on the east coast of Sicily, which we accessed via the highway from Catania from the south.

I learned a lot about Taormina from my friend’s guide books—I love doing research!

Taormina is a popular tourist destination, and I could easily see why as we walked around town for a couple of hours. It offers everything one could desire from a vacation: great weather, mountains, beaches and ruins – all resulting in astonishing landscapes. No wonder writers, artists and intellectuals—Oscar Wilde, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Richard Wagner and D. H. Lawrence, to name just a few—loved and were inspired by this town.

I could have stayed there forever myself, enjoying the view, given that I’d have enough pens and paper.

Some of the things that struck me as I walked through town were the old structures, columns, archways and statues that give Taormina its delightful antique feeling; the narrow avenues and step streets with multicolored flowers filling the balconies; the tessellated pavements that give off a romantic vibe (even if you’re walking down said streets alone).

Beautiful stairways and architecture of Taormina, Sicily

Beautiful stairways and architecture of Taormina, Sicily

The town offers a multitude of antique shops and charming gift shops filled with typical Sicilian products, such as hand-crafted ceramics, wooden and wrought-iron products. And of course tons of postcards like the ones I purchased and now have under the sheet of glass covering my desk.

Love padlock

Love padlock

In one of the piazzas where we stopped to admire the view, I noticed some padlocks fastened on the railings. My friend told me they’re called “love padlocks.”

I hadn’t heard of the love padlock tradition before seeing these, but I found out it’s a custom in various places all over the world (Wikipedia said so). I love how they symbolize eternal love.

The most impressive monument I saw in Taormina was the Ancient theatre. Its positioning on the cliff offers an amazing view from any angle! It is one of Sicily’s most celebrated ruins, which left me awestruck—not only by its beauty but also by its level of preservation.

Its layout and setting are in accordance with those of Greek amphitheatres, and it is even known as the Ancient Greek Theatre, yet it seems to have been enlarged and rebuilt for the most part in brick by the Romans on the old Greek theatre’s foundation.

The Ancient Greek Theatre

The Ancient theatre of Taormina (aka teatro greco)

Unfortunately, most of the original seats have disappeared, yet the forestage with the back wall of the scene and its adjuncts are remarkably well preserved. The Ancient amphitheatre is still frequently used for theatrical shows and musical performances (I heard Elton John had a concert there not long before our visit).

Taormina is also where I first walked to a beach again after a trip to the Black Sea when I was around three years old. Needless to say, I can’t remember anything from that particular trip. The beach was one of my best experiences even though it was quite windy by the time we got there (and, I kid you not, I still have sand in my shoes and coat pockets!).

My heart in the sand

Heart in the sand

Despite the wind and the weather starting to get chilly, the water of the Ionian Sea was remarkably warm—I just had to check.

I took a picture of a heart in the sand. A heart on the beach: There’s something in this picture that makes me think of not losing hope; even though the waves will wash over that heart and in a few moments there will be no further trace of it.

As we headed back to the car—and a few days later as the plane took off from the runway—I felt sad to leave this wonderful place behind. I fell in love so many times during this trip my heart felt like it could explode at any second!

——
Estrella Azul
Estrella Azul is a young emerging writer, passionate about reading, floral art and photography, with an artistic personality and a soulful outlook on life. To read more of her creative writing, her thoughts and daily happenings, visit Life’s a stage – WebBlog©.


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    19 Comments

  • Estrella Azul
    Twitter: EstrellaAzul
    says:

    Milli, it’s so great being here, sharing one small part of my trip with you and your readers. Love how the post looks on your website! 🙂
    Thank you so much for this opportunity!

    • Milli Thornton
      Twitter: millivrstravels
      says:

      I’m proud to have your story and photos on Milliver’s and I’m pleased you love how it turned out.

      Thank you for writing about this adventure. You’ve made me want to experience Taormina. 🙂

  • Janel
    Twitter: JanelGr
    says:

    What a beautiful, magical city. Estrella, I am so glad you got to visit there!

  • Lara Dunning says:

    Wonderful post. I haven’t been there, but you captured the essence of how you felt when you were there and how it inspired you. Now I want to go!

  • Estrella Azul
    Twitter: EstrellaAzul
    says:

    @ Milli and Lara
    Thank you! I’m glad my post made you want to visit – it’s a truly magical place!

    @ Janel
    Thanks for being so sweet, I’m ecstatic that I got to visit. Glad you enjoyed the post!

  • j says:

    WOW! Beautiful pictures, beautiful words. I’m dazzled!

  • Estrella Azul
    Twitter: EstrellaAzul
    says:

    @ j
    I’m so glad to read this – dazzling was one of my goals 😉

  • Just walking where “writers, artists and intellectuals—Oscar Wilde, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Richard Wagner and D. H. Lawrence” walked would be exciting, but to add to that the landscape you paint through your personal experience brings Taormina alive for your readers in an intimate way. It makes one want to go there someday!

    I enjoyed your pictures along with the story of your visit and thank you so much for sharing this on Milliver’s. I’m a heart person with a collection of hearts in paper, cloth, glass, metal and photos, so, you know, my favorite picture is the heart on the beach. I love the way you ended your story with that…

    catherine

    • Estrella Azul
      Twitter: EstrellaAzul
      says:

      Catherine, I know, and so many other artists and writers have walked through Taormina – it adds to the magical feeling of the place as you’re walking down the narrow streets and looking out at the sea.
      It makes me so happy to read your comment, and am so glad my description of Taormina makes you want to visit. It was a pleasure to share this with everyone here at Milliver’s Travels.

      Glad you liked the heart in the sand photo, it’s one of my favorites and I was happy my friend let me borrow her camera to take it (my batteries were dead by the time we got to the beach – I took too many photos of the rest of Taormina) 🙂

  • Darlene says:

    What a wonderful post Estrella! It looks like an incredibly beautiful place to visit and I’d love to go someday and I’m so glad you got to travel there and experience it for yourself.

    • Estrella Azul
      Twitter: EstrellaAzul
      says:

      Thanks, Darlene, glad to see you enjoyed the post! And thank you, I’m also incredibly grateful that I was able to experience a little bit of Sicily.

  • Ann
    Twitter: AnnHolly
    says:

    *sigh* when I lived in Sicily, Taormina was one of my favorite cities…there was this restaurant off the main street that you went down a set of steps and it was tucked in a street corner with no sign…anyway, they made the BEST fresh tomato soup with homemade garlic croutons and a drizzle of dark, rich, nutty olive oil. If I close my eyes and click my heels three times…

    • Estrella Azul
      Twitter: EstrellaAzul
      says:

      Wow, you lived in Sicily? Wish I could!
      *sigh* you just reminded me of this restaurant we went down a set of steps to get to and had the best panini in the world.
      How did that clicking your heels three times go? I need to know the secret to that if it worked 😉

      • Ann
        Twitter: AnnHolly
        says:

        Hi Estrella – I loved Sicily. I was there from 93 to 96. I lived in a town called Motta St. Anastasia – between Catania & Bel Paso, right at the foot of Mt. Etna. It was a ton of fun and we explored a lot of Italy and all of Sicily.

        The clicking of the heels didn’t work – I was wearing the wrong shoes.

        Did you get to Caltagrone? That was probably my favorite town. When my son visited, I took him up to the top of an old church bell tower and paid the nuns to ring the bells….a once in a life time experience! But the town is known for their amazing pottery….and food!

        • Estrella Azul
          Twitter: EstrellaAzul
          says:

          We stayed in Belpasso and had an amazing view of Mt. Etna from the porch, such a wonderful view to wake up to!
          I haven’t visited Caltagrone, but my friend who bought some pottery from there said it was really nice. Now I have two good reviews of the place, I must visit if I ever manage to go back for another holiday.
          Going up to the top of the church bell tower seems wonderful (I’ve only been here in my hometown and it wasn’t as interesting, I’m sure) 🙂

          Too bad for the clicking of the heels, remember to wear the right shoes next time 😉

          • Ann
            Twitter: AnnHolly
            says:

            Did you get to the Condorelli candy factory in Belpasso? (completely mis-spelled earlier!). Their candy is amazing and famous through out Europe. Believe it or not – you can order it on Amazon!

            • Estrella Azul
              Twitter: EstrellaAzul
              says:

              Don’t worry about it, I also misspell it sometimes, thinking about the name like I would in Spanish.
              Haven’t been to the Condorelli factory, but I have tasted the chocolate. Amazing doesn’t even begin to cover it! And the gelato… my goodness!

              (yes, now I’m craving Sicilian chocolate…) *sneaks off to visit the neighbor who just came back from Italy*

  • Si Salter says:

    Hi, love this post. I hope you don’t mind I’ve added the link and a few lines to my post: STEP 292 – Visit the Ancient Greek Theatre of Taormina, Sicily. Hopefully you may get some more page views.

    We would love you to join our STEPS challenge and share more stories from your journey. You might even make our Top 100 travellers and become our ‘most travelled’

    Thanks again and happy travels.

    Si

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