You can fall in love with Taormina in less than a dayEUROPE, GUEST BLOGGERS, Interesting Towns — By Estrella Azul 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.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).
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.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.
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!).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 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©.