Perched on a rocky plateau 200 m above sea level. Taormina has a beautiful location, overlooking the sea and Mount Etna. Destination for travelers since the 700, although only in the last three decades of the nineteenth century, it experienced a remarkable development of tourism. Many foreigners, especially British and German, have decided to build villas in the town and many personalities there, including Emperor Wilhelm II and King Edward VII famous families (the Rothschilds, the Krupps). The mild climate, scenic beauty and serene outlook have made Taormina famous throughout the world.
Originally Greek (Hellenistic period) was transformed and enlarged by the Romans. The building that we see today dates from the second century. AD. The theater was built using the natural lie of the land a few steps of the auditorium were derived directly from the rock, the greek theater complied with the classic, semicircular with an orchestra for the musicians, chours and dancers, the Romans removed the first tier of steps to transform the orchestra into an arena (circular), better suited to accommodate circus games, and added a corridor for entry of the gladiators and wild animals. The red brick, white marble columns of which still adorn the scene, the intense blue of the sky are the dominant colors of this oasis of peace. From the top of the auditorium can be admired in all its splendor the beautiful picture that you get a view: the majestic presence of Mount Etna, often covered in snow from the top, gently sloping and seems almost merges with the sea that laps the coast forming here delightful coves. The magic is repeated all along the top of the auditorium to the left end, where you can embrace with a look also to Taormina. The theater, fully functional, hosted in the past the David di Donatello, one of the most important events in the Italian film, and today is home to Taormina Arte, an international festival of film, theater, ballet and symphonic music that plays during the summer months.
Corso Umberto I
It 'nice to walk along this quiet road, slightly uphill, close to Porta Messina downstream and upstream from Porta Catania and lined with elegant shops, restaurants and cafes. On either side of the street (especially in the first section on the left) extends an intricate network of narrow streets that offer unexpected sights and smells, such as the fruit of marzipan and almond paste in the pastry. Before the 'beginning of the course, just outside Porta Messina, is the seventeenth-century Church of St. Pancrazio, according to tradition the first bishop of Taormina, which was built on the ruins of a temple dedicated to Zeus Serapis (see the remains embedded in the wall of the left wall of the church). It has a nice portal in Taormina stone, flanked by two niches with statues of saints. Along the street there are three beautiful squares. Piazza Vittorio Emanuele. Coincides with the ancient city's forum. Behind the Church of St. Catherine, the beautiful Baroque portal pink marble and stone of Taormina, the ancient ruins are still visible. These are the remains of an Odeon, a small covered theater from the Roman period (first century AD). Red brick.
Palazzo Corvaja. The original center, the square tower in the central (inner courtyard), dating back to the Arab period. In the thirteenth century. is added to the left wing and the stairs leading to first floor, while the right wing back to the fifteenth century. Been abandoned and left to decay for several years, was completely restored at the end of World War II. You may notice the different styles that have followed. Arabic is the crowning of the tower, the Catalan-Gothic mullioned windows of the hall (which dates from the thirteenth century.) And the beautiful gateway to the palace (the scale above it is decorated with bas-reliefs with scenes from Genesis, unfortunately damaged), Norman hall of the Parliament (right wing), so called because here, in the fifteenth century, the Sicilian Parliament. Inside the courtyard, on the right are the premises occupied by APT, where you can admire beautiful puppets and beautiful Sicilian carts, intricately carved wood and wrought iron. The careful observation of these masterpieces of tradition can reveal a host of details that escape at first glance.
Naumachie. They are in a side street on the left. The name refers to the simulated naval combat loved by the Romans. But here is faced with a series of blind arches, red-brick Roman. It was probably the retaining wall of a large reservoir of water and was part of a rectangular building, possibly a gymnasium.
Piazza IX Aprile. It 's a lovely piazza with a balcony overlooking the sea and it enjoys a beautiful view over the bay and Mount Etna. The other three sides are enclosed by the church of S. Giuseppe (XVII sec.), With a bare facade of S. Augustine (now a library) and the clock tower, which opens on the road arc and giving access to the town of the fifteenth century. The building we see today is the end of '600, a time when the watch was also added, but the foundations of the tower seem to even go back to the sixth century. A.D. when the tower was perhaps part of a defensive wall. The square is one of the venues and parking busiest, also due to the many cafes with outdoor seating.
Piazza Duomo. In the center stands a beautiful Baroque fountain in Taormina stone with a circular base. The largest basin in the east that opens once served as watering hole. In the middle, elevated position, is the emblem of the city, a centaur, but here shown in a female form with, instead of the usual four legs, two arms holding an orb and scepter, symbols of power.
Duomo. The building, dedicated to St. Nicholas of Bari, dating from the thirteenth century. The simple façade. And 'adorned by a Renaissance doorway between two single and topped by a rosette. The crowning battlements gave her the name of cathedral-fortress, the left side has a fine pointed arch portal decorated with vines, which marks the border and in the transept, a rosette. Interior. The building is Gothic, Latin cross with a nave that is side-aisles by pointed arches. The latter, supported by monolithic columns of pink marble, which are topped with single-light the nave. About 2 ° in the south aisle altar you can admire a beautiful sixteenth-century polyptych by Antonello de Saliba.
I Palazzi di Taormina.
The historic center of Taormina is full of beautiful buildings that have some traits in common: Gothic-influenced Arab-Norman: use of black lava rock, alternating with white stone of Syracuse to form decorative geometric designs, highlight bows, arches and doorways . These simple ideas animate the façade of the most interesting town of Taormina.
Palazzo di S. Stefano. Just before the port of Catania, take the left, because of the Ghetto. The beautiful building dates from the fifteenth century. Built for the Dukes of St. Stephen Spuches family of Spanish origin, has a massive structure resembling a house-fortress. The decorative element that characterizes it is a band that runs along the top edge, two-color (black and white lava stone of Syracuse), forming a beautiful geometric pattern of lozenges. The two levels which are marked by divided light windows that are enriched in the upper one, an arc elaborato.Il palace is now headquarters of the Fondazione Mazzullo, with a permanent exhibition of sculptures and drawings by the granites (but hosts temporary exhibitions, for Christmas one of terracotta nativity scenes). In the works of lava stone, granite and bronze. And 'the note of recurring pain, especially in the series of Shootings, mutilated torsos and incomplete, yet rich in expressiveness and Wounded Cat, as sketched in stone, while hitting the impenetrability of the faces of female busts sometimes just blanks, sometimes Amazon modeled as perfectly elegant and Sappho.
Badia Vecchia. It is located along Via Dionisio I. The name probably derives from the incorrect assumption that it was an abbey. The building resembles that of the Dukes of St. Strange in the massive structure, style and two-tone frieze which here runs between the first and second floors, forming lace-like. On the frieze beautiful mullioned windows.
Palazzo Ciampoli. Is the background to climb the steps of the Palazzo Ciampoli, right corner of Corso Umberto I, just before Piazza Duomo. The facade of this building, unfortunately in a state of deterioration and debased by the sign of a disco, there was a few years ago (today is instead a hotel), is divided into two orders by a decorative band chiseled in stone, the handsome pointed arch doorway is surmounted by a shield which bears the date of construction of the building: 1412.
I giardini di Villa Comunale - Via Roma. Flowers and plants of great variety, from the mundane to the exotic, grow in this park is a private time, where the owners erected several unusual in eclectic style with a touch of exoticism. The most unusual is all arches and arches that make it seem, at first glance, like a beehive, a name that actually has been given (The Beehives) by the owner, Lady Florence Trevelyan, an enthusiastic ornithologist , who used these places for bird watching. The little road that borders the sea side, you can enjoy a beautiful view of Mount Etna and the south coast.
Le spiagge. Taormina is situated high on the headland, but his foot has some beautiful beaches. The small bay of Mazzaro is closed south of Cape St. Andrew, rich in caves, among which is the Blue Grotto. The voices of fishermen calling on the trip echoes across the beaches. Beyond the headland extends a gracious bay closed Isola Bella that narrow strip of land connects the shore. The most extensive beaches, Spisone and Mazzeo, but north of Mazzaro.
Castello. 4 km along the road to Castel Mola. The trail is on the right. And 'possiblle reach the castle on foot, through the "castle hill", a path with steps running from Taormina, Via Ring Road (1 mile AR) or via Salita Branco, which starts from Qietro the Capuchins. It is recommended to avoid hiking in the warmer months. Sanctuary of the Madonna della Rocca. From the terrace before the church has a beautiful view of the theater of Taormina and the city. Then walk to the castle, a medieval fortification built on the ruins of the ancient acropolis. Building, trapezoidal, are still visible mainly outer walls and the remains of a tower. Even from here you can enjoy a picturesque view of the theater and Taormina.
Castel Mola. 5 km north-west. This village nestled behind a panoramic position in Taormina is built around the lovely little square of the cathedral from which extends an intricate network of narrow streets paved. In many aspects, especially from the piazza of S. Tony, you can enjoy a beautiful view suIl'Etna, on the North Coast and beaches that stretch to the foot of Taormina. On the right side of this square, a flight, access to which is the ancient arched entrance to the city moved here to build the road, leads to the ruins of the castle, which are conserved features of sixteenth-century walls and where there is a Venus beautiful mountain view, behind the cemetery, and Ziretto, below. Of Norman origin, the Church of the Annunciation, adjoining the cemetery, which, while totally rebuilt, retains a portal finely decorated with white stone. Typical of the area is the production of almond wine, a fortified wine which some residents of Castel Mola you attribute the authorship of the invention.
A grain of truth in the legend there: a Greek colony was founded here in the eighth century really. B.C. and had a quiet life until Dionysius, tyrant of Syracuse, decided in 403 BC to expand in this part of the island: the defeat of the colonists were allowed to settle on the plateau of Mount Tauro (200 m above sea level), formerly occupied by siculi.E 'from this moment that we have news of the settlement of Tauromenion, modern Taormina. First allied with Rome, then conquered by Octavian, became the capital of Byzantine Sicily to the fall of the Roman Empire. With the arrival of the Arabs was destroyed, but soon rebuilt and in 1079 it was conquered by the Norman Roger de Hauteville, under whom he had a long period of prosperity. In later centuries enjoyed, over the Spanish, the French and then the Bourbon until