Taormina is a popular resort town in Sicily with many interesting sights and attractions. Taormina has remnants of its Greek and Roman past, a medieval quarter and castle ruins, and modern shops and restaurants. Perched on the side of Monte Tauro, the town offers fantastic views of the coast and Mt. Etna volcano as well as good hiking paths. Below the town are excellent beaches where you can swim in the clear sea water.
What to See in Taormina
- Greek Theater: Taormina's Greek theater was built in the third century BC, renovated by the Romans, and is now used for summer performances. The theater, built into the hillside, has excellent acoustics and spectacular views of the sea and Mt. Etna.
- Medieval Quarter: A clock tower gate serves as the starting point for Taormina's picturesque medieval section with its narrow streets and old shops now selling modern clothing, crafts, and souvenirs.
- Corso Umberto: The lively main street through town, Corso Umberto, is lined with shops and bars. Along the street are people-filled squares good for enjoying an outdoor drink and people-watching. One of the best squares is Piazza IX Aprile with great sea views.
- Piazza Vittorio Emanuele: Taormina's tourist office is in the unique Palazzo Corvaja, a mix of Arab, Norman, and Catalan-Gothic architecture. The palazzo also houses the Museum of Sicilian Arts and Traditions (closed Mondays). In the square are Santa Caterina Church and remains of a small Roman theater.
- Piazza del Duomo: A Baroque fountain with a centaur, the symbol of Taormina, is at the center of Piazza del Duomo. The Church of San Nicola, also called the fortress cathedral, was built in 1400 over an older church. It has pink marble columns and interesting carvings. Its main portal was rebuilt in 1636 and has a Renaissance-style rosette.
- Regional Archaeological Museum: Inside Palazzo Badia Vecchia on a Roman bath site, the museum has finds from Greek and Roman sites.
- Medieval Castle and Madonna della Rocca: The ruins of a medieval castle are in a picturesque position at the top of Monte Tauro where you'll find outstanding views. There's also a sanctuary from 1640, Madonna della Rocca.
- Public Gardens: Another good view spot is the public gardens, Via Bagnoli Croce, with flowers and exotic plants.
- Beaches: Below Taormina are beaches, coves, and a peaceful sea perfect for swimming. There are paths between the town and the coast. There's also a cable car to Mazzaro, the beach resort just below Taormina, from Via L Pirandello. Buses run to beaches, too.
- Giardini-Naxos: Excavations of the first Greek colony on Sicily can be visited at Giardini-Naxos. There's part of a Greek temple and a museum, too.
- Isola Bella: The beautiful nature reserve of Isola Bella is just south of Taormina. A small finger of land connects the island to the beach below Taormina.
- Mount Etna: There are many day tours available to Mount Etna. The scenic Circumetnea Railroad circles Mount Etna and stops at several villages. Mount Etna offers good hiking and skiing.