We're in Taormina, our first stop in Sicily. The skies promise off-and-on rain so we'll explore the town today and hike tomorrow.
We are staying at Isoco Guest House, a b&b with 5 rooms, each with it's own theme (Keith Haring, Herb Ritts, Botticelli, ...). Paul and I are the last guests of the season. After we check out they will close for the season. Winter in Sicily is balmy compared to Canada, of course, but most tourists would rather be on the island in the sweltering summer. I've read that in summer the streets are packed with tourists but this time of year Taormina is wonderfully free of crowds.
Taormina is a small (11k population), well-preserved medieval town perched on the side of Monte Tauro. It has long been a popular tourist destination, attracting a similar clientèle, and acquiring a similar reputation, to Capri.
Taormina's setting is spectacular. At about 300m elevation it offers expansive views of the east coast of Sicily, the Ionian sea, and Europe's largest volcano, Mount Etna.
On top of the beautiful setting Taormina itself is a feast for the eyes. Taormina features remnants of an old town wall, charming streets, intimate piazze, warm pastel-colored buildings, and balconies overflowing with flowers. Like most old Italian cities, street widths vary from barely two cars wide to maybe a meter wide. This is Italian eye candy.
Taormino is famous for its huge amphitheater, the Teatro Greco, which was built in the 3rd century BC and is still in use today.
After breakfast we walk a short distance down via Cappuccini, pass under one of the old city wall's arches, then down the main street, Corso Umberto.
Corso Umberto is chock-a-block shopping and most is very high end. I find myself admiring an olive trench coat in one window but the 900€ tag gives me pause so I pass it by.
We walk Corso Umberto from one end of the town to the other, stopping in old churches and artsy stores and a pastry shop for cannoli and gelati. Delicious. We return to our b&b to rest up from our strenuous day then head out for dinner. All is good in Taormina.
The photo was taken from our room's balcony.