A couple of hundred years ago, when the first holiday-makers crossed the Stretto di Messina between Sicily and mainland Italy in search of a relaxing new escape, the town of Taormina fast became the darling destination of European socialites. As the word spread, this inspirational town became a muse to writers and artists from Oscar Wilde to Gustav Klimt - here in the present day, it has now earned a reputation for being one of the most popular towns in Sicily.
What to see and do
With its historical sights, coastal proximity and the awe-inspiring silhouette of Mount Etna smoking serenely against the sky, there are a range of things to do in Taormina to suit all manner of tastes.
Sicily’s history is made up of a rich tapestry of cultural influences. The Ancient Greeks, Byzantines and Romans have all left their architectural mark on the town as have the Arab, Norman and European conquerors. Winding, romantic streets are lined with picturesque, restored buildings, mansions and churches – Taormina is a window to Sicily's past.
The Teatro Greco
The diamond in the crown of Taormina's historical sights, the Teatro Greco is an ancient amphitheatre, perched on the hill with a breath-taking, panoramic view out over the sparkling sea, the bay of Naxos and the towering Mount Etna. Constructed in the third century BC, it is built from bricks of Taormina stone and is one of the largest of its kind in Sicily. It is thought that in Roman times the theatre was extended, though the seats still bear Greek inscriptions.