The hillside town of Taormina has a striking setting on the side of Monte Tore, with spectacular views over Mount Etna, Europe’s largest volcano. Medieval buildings, pastel-colored homes, bars and cafés line narrow winding streets about 655 feet (200 meters) above sea level. Enjoy the ancient town’s history and architecture, sunbathe on the beach and watch a concert in a 2,000-year-old amphitheater.
Taormina has been a favored haunt of the rich and famous ever since it was part of the Grand Tour of Europe, undertaken by English society elites during the 17th and 18th centuries. Follow in the footsteps of celebrities who have vacationed here including Oscar Wilde, Truman Capote, Francis Ford Coppola and Woody Allen.
In the center of Taormina, visit the Teatro Greco, built by the Greeks in the third century B.C. After Romans claimed the town, the amphitheater was adapted to host gladiatorial combats. Today, the open-air venue with views of Mount Etna is a performance space hosting plays and concerts by international stars.
Make your way to the pedestrianized Corso Umberto I, the town’s main shopping strip. Tour the Palazzo Corvaja at the beginning of the street. The medieval palace houses the tourist office and the Museum of Sicilian Arts and Traditions. At the other end of the street is Piazza Duomo. Photograph its baroque-style fountain, built in 1635. Go inside the cathedral to study its religious artworks.
Reach the town’s beaches by taking the cable car down to the ocean. From the beach, walk to the Isola Bella. The tiny islet has a small beach and nature reserve and is connected to the mainland by a narrow path.
Fly into Catania or Messina and take a bus, train, taxi or rental car to Taormina. You do not need a car if you are staying in the town, as it is easily walkable.
Taormina is a popular vacation spot for its history, ancient Greek concert venue, views and beaches.