Taormina the most beautiful town in Sicily, an old hilltop town full of history and culture and by the sea. Taormina is famous for its beauty, its incredible heritage in history, archaeology and architecture, as well as for its reputation in welcoming travellers. Taormina is perfectly situated to offer students easy access to the beautiful and historically important treasures of Sicily.
The village of Taormina is perched on a cliff overlooking the Ionian sea. Besides the ancient Greek theatre, it has many old churches, lively bars, fine restaurants, and antique shops. Taormina is approximately a forty-five minute drive away from Europe’s largest active volcano, Mount Etna.
Just south of Taormina is the Isola Bella, a nature reserve; and further south, situated beside a bay, is the popular seaside resort of Giardini Naxos. Isola Bella, the Bay of Mazzarrò, the Bay of Giardini Naxos, the Beach of Spisone, those are among the most famous beaches in Italy. Tours of the Capo Sant’ Andrea grottos are also available.
For walkers, the surroundings of Taormina are also a beautiful paradise. There are several trails leading down to the sea and up to the picturesque village of Castelmola, and to the top of the highest mountain in the area, Monte Venere, where one of the three Greek temples of Venus is rumoured to have existed.
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what to see in Taormina
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Taormina’s first important tourist was Johann Wolfgang Goethe who dedicated exalting pages to the city in his book entitled Italian Journey, but perhaps it was the German painter Otto Geleng’s views that made its beauty talked about throughout Europe and turned the site into a famous tourist center. The artist arrived in Sicily at the age of 20 in search of new subjects for his paintings. On his way through Taormina he was so enamoured by the landscape that he decided to stop for part of the winter. Geleng began to paint everything that Taormina offered: ruins, sea, mountains, none of which were familiar to the rest of Europe. When his paintings were later exhibited in Berlin and Paris, many critics accused Geleng of having an ‘unbridled imagination’. At that, Geleng challenged them all to go to Taormina with him, promising that he would pay everyone’s expenses if he were not telling the truth.
During the early 20th century the town became a colony of expatriate artists, writers, and intellectuals. D. H. Lawrence stayed here at the “Fontana Vecchia” from 1920 to 1922, and wrote a number of his poems, novels (probably including also Lady Chatterley’s Lover), short stories, and essays, and a travel book. Thirty years later, from April 1950 through September 1951, the same villa was home to Truman Capote, who wrote of his stay in the essay “Fontana Vecchia.” Charles Webster Leadbeater, the theosophical author, found out that Taormina had the right magnetics fields for Jiddu Krishnamurti to develop his talents, so the young Krishnamurti dwelt here from time to time. Halldór Laxness, the Icelandic author who won the Nobel prize for literature in 1955, worked here on the first modern Icelandic novel, Vefarinn mikli frá Kasmír. Between 1948 and 1999 the English writer Daphne Phelps lived in the Casa Cuseni designed and built by Robert Hawthorn Kitson in 1905, and entertained various friends including Bertrand Russell, Roald Dahl, and Tennessee Williams.
Many manifestations and events are organized during the summer in Taormina. The exceptional stage for pop and classical concerts, opera and important performances often recorded by television is the ancient Greek Theatre. Since 1983, the mostkkk important performances are realized by Taormina Arte, the cultural institution which organizes one of the most famous music, theatre and dance festivals. Within the program of Taormina Arte there is the Taormina Film Fest, the well-known cinema festival, dating from 1960.
Access to the beaches is very easy. From the center of Taormina, in 2 minutes, a cable-car connects Taormina to the beaches. Isola Bella, the Bay of Mazzarrò, the Bay of Giardini Naxos, the Beach of Spisone, those are among the most famous beaches in Italy.
Taormina plays a fundamental role as one of the most important archaeological locations in Italy. In fact, the Greeks, fathers of Italian and European culture, settled their first colony in Italy exactly here in the Bay of Naxos, in 735 BC.. Taormina is home to one of the most famous Greek Theatres in the world. Here, in summertime the main events of the International Film, Music, Dance and Theatre Festival of Taormina Arte take place.
Along with the different dominations that conquered Sicily, many important monuments and buildings were built in Taormina by the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Arabs, the Swebians, the Normans, the Spanish, the French, and the entire XIX European aristocracy have all left their “footprints”, in Taormina in the form of beautiful buildings, monuments, churches, villas, parks and castles.
Watch our video or take a virtual tour of Taormina or have a look at our photo album, and learn more about the history, the monuments and the views of our town.
Taormina offers many opportunities in the way of hotels, restaurants, bars, discos, entertainment and sports.
With the aim of offering to you a wider cultural experience during your stay in Taormina and in Sicily, our Centre for Italian Studies offers a variety of “Italian plus…” programs, including:
or Italian culture courses:
Taormina can be the base for a more intensive tour of Sicily. We would love to welcome you soon and help you have an unforgettable personal, cultural and educational experience with us in Taormina, in Sicily!
For other information about Taormina, visit
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|TAORMINA ART FESTIVAL||www.tao-arte.com|
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“Boy Scout in Taormina” Documentary film by Ugo Saitta (1948)