We had a delightful stress free journey to the stunning town of Taormina. The flight was 35 minutes to Catania and a driver met us at the airport to deliver us to the hotel. It took about an hour and it was a surprise to all of us just how high up the hill the heart of the town of Taormina is, and that our hotel was even further above. We stayed in the Villa Ducale and everything about this small boutique hotel was exceptional. The service was exemplary and the views superb. We took a shuttle to the village just in time to catch “the procession.” All the ladies were dressed in black and carried lanterns. They lined the main street clearing a path for the depictions of Christ that were carried through the centre. It seemed like most of the town was involved including the children and the music being performed by the marching band sounded like something straight out of the Godfather. We eventually made our way to the restaurant recommended to us. We even had a local lead us straight to it when we had trouble finding it. Sadly dinner did not go well. It was late, we were tired, and the staff was unfriendly and unaccommodating. That blip of a bad experience was overshadowed though by the rest of our stay.
In the morning we made our way to the cross overlooking all of Taormina. It was a short five-minute walk from our hotel. The views were stunning. We proceeded to walk the 500 stairs down to the main village. We walked through town to the Teatro Greco which is a popular tourist spot but still used for the occasional concert. From there we wandered down further to the city gardens and then all the way down to the beach. The views of the bays and the small island were perfect. We covered a huge distance on the walk and relaxed on the beach with some drinks. The trip back up was easy with the cable cars.
Taormina is one of those wonderful places you hope to discover. It is now one of my favorites and greatly surpassed my expectations. It is known to be the gem of Sicily, but that could probably be expanded to all of Italy. It is well known here though and it is filled with tourists.
We had pizza and wine for lunch, and had a pleasant afternoon wandering the village and relaxing back at the hotel admiring the views from there. That night we had a very special dinner prepared for us at our hotel. A Sicilian cook at the hotel cooked freshly caught fish and clams purchased at the fish market that morning. The clams were served with spaghetti as a primi and the fish was the secondi accompanied by roasted vegetables and a side salad of orange slices with oregano and olive oil. We shared a bottle of wine from vineyards at Mount Etna which we could see in the distance as part of our view. It was the perfect dinner and the best way to finish an amazing day in a phenomenal place.
Photos from our trip have been posted here.