Posted by: travelrat | September 19, 2017


Taormina 02

Taormina: 2006

When we arrived in Sicily, one of the first things we noticed about Messina were the posters saying ‘No to the Bridge’ … in Italian of course! It seems that plans were well advanced to link Sicily with the mainland, and it would seem most Sicilians wanted none of it.

(The project was, in fact, abandoned shortly afterwards, but resuscitated in 2008. It was discontinued again in 2013, owing to lack of funds)

We didn’t stay in Messina very long. We were told that, because of a succession of earthquakes, most of what is to be seen is fairly modern. A hike to the summit of Mount Etna was on offer, but those who took it pronounced themselves disappointed, as the top was covered in cloud.

We went to Taormina, a hillside town overlooking the sea, founded in the way-back-when by the Greeks. Our bus dropped us in a multi-storey car park, the supporting pillars of which bore distinct scars of battle, and we made our way to the roof … from where we would climb uphill to the town itself. I did say it was a hillside town! And, I’ve got to say .. that’s the best view from the roof of a multi-storey car park I’ve ever seen!

Most of what’s to be seen lies in the main street, between the Messina Gate and the Syracuse Gate. In this largely pedestrianised street souvenir shops rub shoulders with boutiques and more traditional shops … there are even ‘if you have to ask how much, you can’t afford it’ clothes shops. But, they didn’t see any need to rip the heart out of the place in the search for ‘modernity’.

Taormina 11

Glancing landwards, narrow alleys and steep steps lead dramatically uphill, while, mainly outside the churches, the street opens out into a piazza, with views of the sea. There’s usually a café or two here, too.

Just outside the town, there’s the ‘Greek Theatre’ … although the Romans adapted it later to suit their style of theatre. It’s not quite right to call it ‘ruined’, though, for it’s still used for the occasional performance. And, if you get bored with the production, there’s a stunning view of Mount Etna … or there would be, if it wasn’t for the haze!

Greek Theatre, Taormina 03



  1. Ah! My favourite part of Italy (if one can call it Italian as it is so different). I love Taormina and actually stayed in a Pensionne in that main street over one of the shops, the Hotel Victoria in which Oscar Wilde stayed when he did his version of the Grand Tour. With good sound-proofing it was the perfect spot for a few days before moving on to another town in Sicily.
    I didn’t hang about Messina either, mainly because it was raining heavy black ash and I didn’t fancy that!

    • Did you get any honey? It gets its orangey flavour because they keep thir hives in orange groves. My daughter said both Pooh Bear and Paddington would like it! 🙂

      • Missed the honey. I spent my money on the orange slices dipped in chocolate, along with some lovely marzipan I found in a shop in Corso Italia.

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