10 things to see absolutely in Taormina

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Joel Fulleda

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Taormina is one of the most beautiful pearls of the Sicilian land, located near Mount Etna.
Facing the Ionian Sea, it preserves the ancient Greek imprint intact of the city.
Famous above all for its Hellenistic theater, the beauty of which was listed by Johann Woolfgang von Goethe, this city embeds its most beautiful treasures within a breathtaking landscape typically Sicilian, characterized by majestic plants of prickly pears, rocky caves and strips of turquoise sea.

Here are the 10 absolutely unmissable attractions of this city.


  1. Ancient Theatre
  2. Duomo
  3. Covaja Palace
  4. Municipal villa and its gardens
  5. Beautiful island
  6. Corso Umberto I
  7. Dukes of Santo Stefano palace
  8. Square IX April
  9. Madonna della Rocca Church
  10. Etna volcano
  11. User questions and comments

1 - Ancient Theater

One of the most fascinating places in the city, was built by the Greeks in the third century BC and enlarged by the Romans in the second century AD, who transformed it into an arena used for gladiator fights and hunting shows.

Located on a promontory and dug directly into the rock, it offers a suggestive view of the Ionian coast of Sicily and Mount Etna.

The theater is still home to numerous artistic events, among which the most famous is certainly the "Taormina Arte, international festival of the arts", which usually takes place in summer.

  • it is about 1 km from Porta Catania, reachable on foot in 16 minutes or with the red circular towards the Lumbi parking lot, it starts from Porta Catania and stops near via Teatro Greco (€ 1,10) - Get directions
  • indicatively from 9:00 to 16:00, they are subject to variations, for info consult the official website
  • € 10,00 (full), € 5,00 (reduced), € 5,00 (audio guide)
  • Taormina: walking tour with visit to the Greek Theater

2 - Cathedral

Dedicated to San Nicola, the cathedral was built in 1400 on the remains of an ancient thirteenth-century church.
Suggestive and impressive, its portal dates back to 1636; the building has a Latin cross plan and has three naves separated by pink marble columns, which legend tells were taken from the Ancient Greek Theater.

Molto the chapels are important placed on the sides of the main altar: that of the Sacrament, datable to the end of the 600th century, in Baroque style, and that of the Madonna delle Grazie, datable to 1747, in Gothic style.

Inside there are some works of art dating back to the Byzantine and Renaissance periods. The most important is the Polyptych by Antonello de Saliba, dating back to 1504.

  • it is a 2 minute walk from Porta Catania - Get directions
  • 8 pm (CET)
  • free

3 - Corvaja Palace

Located in the center of Taormina, this noble palace it is a real symbol of the city. It was built during the Arab era (th century) and only later underwent the Norman, Gothic, Catalan and Chiaramonte influences.

During the fifteenth century, the palace it was the seat of the Parliament and later it was inhabited by the Corvaja family, until the Second World War. Even today, on the main facade, you can admire the engravings that describe the important virtues possessed by the lord who lived there: faith, justice, fortitude and temperance.

It is currently seat of the Sicilian Museum of Popular Art and Traditions and there is also a tourist information office.

  • easily reachable on foot, in 10 minutes (750 meters) from Porta Catania, or with the red circular towards Porta Catania (€ 1,10) - Get directions
  • in the morning 9: 00-13: 00 and in the afternoon 16: 00-20: 00. Closed on Mondays
  • € 2,60 (internal), € 1,30 (under 12, over 60, teachers in business and groups up to 10 people, with reservations required)

4 - Municipal villa and its gardens

Certainly one of the greenest and most beautiful places in the whole city.
Formerly inhabited by Lady Florence Trevelyan: a Scottish noblewoman who married Salvatore Cacciola, mayor of Taormina, in 1884, became the property of the municipality in 1922 and is today one of the most beautiful attractions.

Perfect for a walk in the fresh air, among fragrant flowers and palm trees from all over the world, offers a wonderful view of Mount Etna, as well as the opportunity to admire the numerous exotic structures that the noblewoman had built there then. The most characteristic is undoubtedly "The Beehives": a beehive-shaped pavilion.

  • is located in via Bagnoli Croci, about 850 meters from Porta Catania, reachable by red circular bus towards the Lumbi car park (€ 1,10) - Get directions
  • 9:00-24:00 (estate); 9:00-20:00 (inverno)
  • free

5 - Isola Bella

This island, rich in vegetation, it is one of the most suggestive attractions of the city.
A small offshoot of land, whose enchanting beauty was celebrated by the most refined pens of European literature: from Goethe to Byron; it was declared a nature reserve in 1998 and consists of terraces covered with luxuriant plants, typical of the Mediterranean scrub.

Depending on the tides, the strip of sand that connects the islet to the mainland resurfaces or remains covered by the crystalline waters of the Sicilian Ionian coast.
Together with the Greek Theater, Isola Bella has become the symbol of the wonderful city of Taormina.

  • by cable car from via Pirandello to Mazzarò (€ 3,00), or by bus with the green line (€ 1,10), or alternatively on foot: from via Pirandello to Belvedere Isola Bella, where you will have to take the path leading to the entrance to the islet - Get directions
  • every day, from 9:00 am until one hour before sunset, closed on Mondays. The cable car is open 9: 00-20: 00 on Mondays, the other days 8: 00-22: 00
  • € 4,00 (full); € 2,00 (reduced); € 1,00 (residents in the province of Messina); simple cable car ticket € 3,00

6 - Corso Umberto I

Bordered by Porta Messina to the north and Porta Catania to the south, this ancient axis from the Greco-Roman era is today the most important street of the city.

Metropolitan celebration of Sicilian shopping and gastronomic culture, thanks to the numerous shops, restaurants and cafes.
Street presents artistic and architectural testimonies, medieval churches and picturesque squares that overlook them crowded with people, languages ​​and dialects from all over Italy and the world.

A walk along this street will give the tourist an authentic glimpse of the city and its ancient past.

  • is the main street, it starts from Porta Catania - Get directions
  • always accessible

7 - Palazzo Duchi di Santo Stefano

Seat of the Mazzullo Foundation, which exhibits the artist's works, this fourteenth-century gothic style building it belonged to the De Spuches family, dukes of Santo Stefano, and is one of the most important manifestations of Norman art of Taormina.

The structure overlooks a garden full of plants of all kinds, where it will be possible to admire an ancient well that at the time of the dukes was used for collecting rainwater.
Severely hit by the bombings of 1943, the building was rebuilt by the Superintendence of Fine Arts of Catania.

  • is located close to Porta Catania, reachable via the red circular that starts from the Lumbi car park towards Porta Catania (€ 1,10) - Get directions
  • 9:30-12:30, 15:30-18:30 (inverno); 9:30-12:30, 16:30-20:00 (estate)
  • free

8 - Piazza IX Aprile

One of the most beautiful views of Taormina is the one offered by this enchanting square: a real worldly center of the city, which directly overlooks the gulf.

Numerous churches overlook it, among the most important: the baroque church of San Giuseppe and the Gothic church of Sant'Agostino. The Clock Tower is famous, which forms the entrance to the old city.

The name of the square derives from the news of Garibaldi's landing in Marsala, aimed at the liberation of Sicily from the Bourbons, on April 9, 1860.

  • reachable on foot via Corso Umberto, walking 350 meters from Porta Catania - Get directions
  • always open

9 - Church of the Madonna della Rocca

Located on the mountain overlooking Taormina, this suggestive church, was founded by the abbot Francesco Raineri, around 1640.
From modest features, the origin of the church is linked to an ancient legend which tells of an apparition of the Madonna to a shepherd boy who took refuge from the storm, right in a cave near the top on which the church stands today.

Consisting of a single compartment, it is still today aattraction full of spiritual charm.
Outside it, there is an open space in which a cross in reinforced concrete was built, which still today overlooks the city, remaining visible from everywhere. The feast of the Madonna della Rocca occurs every year, on the third Sunday of September.

  • reachable via the green line towards Madonna della Rocca (€ 1,10) - Get directions
  • in winter 9: 30-12: 30, in summer 9: 30-12: 30/16: 00-19: 30
  • free

10 - Etna Volcano

An excursion to Etna is a must, after all the wonderful views that the city offers on the volcano.
situated about an hour away, it will be easily accessible by car or through the numerous organized tours that depart from Taormina.

The tours include adventurous off-road routes on the slopes of this magnificent active volcano! With suitable clothing and equipment, an excursion to Mount Etna will be a truly unforgettable experience, among sylvan craters and silent nature, winding paths and breathtaking landscapes; knowing the ancient history of the volcano and the many myths and legends that have always accompanied its existence.

  • reachable by the A18 Catania-Messina motorway. At the last exit Gravina di Catania follow signs for Nicolosi-Etna sud. Alternatively, tours depart from the Interbus Terminal Taormina Piazza Luigi Pirandello or hotel pickup is included - Get directions
  • always open
  • the tour starts from € 99,00

Plan your stay in Taormina

Taormina is certainly one of the most popular tourist destinations in Sicily. It is not very cheap, however, it is full of offers for tourists.
Seaside, historical and multicultural lounge, there are many hotels and b & bs suitable for all budgets and to any travel and holiday formula.

The nearest airport is Catania Fontanarossa (64 km), from which the city is easily reachable by the SAIS, Interbus or Etna Trasporti buses which all stop at the terminus in via Pirandello.
The best time to save is the mid-seasons, the temperature is mild and the costs are less expensive than the high season.

Entirely crossed by an efficient transport network that connects its neighborhoods and hidden alleys, it is equally well connected to neighboring towns and cities, for "hit and run" trips out of town.

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