20 Apr Taormina: Sicily’s most expensive views
Since the ancient times Taormina was a place where the wealthy would come to relax and enjoy magic views and serenity. It became very popular with the rich teens of the 19th century after Goethe’s “Italian journey” was published. Since then nothing changed, but how did we end up in this upper class place?
How to get there?
Taormina looked gorgeous in photos so you could say we were just like 19th century teens, but influenced by Instagram rather than Goethe. We took a bus instead of the train since Taormina lies on top of the hill and the train station is at the bottom, which means we would have to walk, take a bus or taxi to get to the top.
Place is close to Catania, the buses and trains go there regularly and the tickets are not expensive. Buses leave from the main station, the one with a concrete wall around it. We couldn’t understand the clerk who sold us the tickets which station to go to, since there are 2-3 bus terminals around the ticket office.
First impression of Toarmina was a crazy bus ride on the narrow, steep and curvy road, it looked impossible for two buses to pass each other but Italians know how to navigate those kinds of roads. The views were just stunning.
What to do?
Well not much. Our Etna guide Luca gave us advice not to go there and visit some of the inland villages, such as the one where the Godfather was filmed, but ticket to Tormina was cheap and it was close. He told us to bring our food and not buy souvenirs since everything is 3 times more expensive. So we packed our lunches and went there.
And it was expensive! I must admit it is beautiful, a city on top of the hill, with amazing shops and artwork from local artists. It is a postcard place.
One thing everyone should visit when in Taormina is the grand ancient Theater, Teatro di Taormina. I couldn’t wait for us to get there, I just wanted to enter this grand Greek theater (second largest in Sicily) that has the best views. The next day John Legend had his concert here, I just can’t imagine how spectacular that must have been. But as everything here we couldn’t afford to enter the Theater, the ticket was 10€ and that didn’t fit our budget. So we just turned around and decided to walk, and for now it is free.
Taormina is a great place to walk, get lost in the small streets, window shop and relax. The public gardens of Villa Comunale di Taormina offer you peace and views to die for. Just a few steps away from the hustle and bustle of the touristic center. From there we decide to walk down to the shore.
The most popular attraction is the Isola Bella. A nature reserve on an island, that you can walk to through the water or across the natural bridge. We come down to the Isola Bella beach with so much expectation. We read so many articles about the best beach ever, and we were disappointed. It was loud, crowded and the rocks were so uncomfortable. Without the sunbed it is impossible to lay down. The see is shallow and filled with sharp rocks so it is not for swimming either. We bought 2 very expensive beers, and decided to go up with the cable car so that we wouldn’t miss the earlier bus back to Catania.
All in all, we had a nice time, we had some sit backs and couldn’t enjoy this place that was far out of our league. But if you have deeper pockets and can come here out of the season I bet you could have an amazing time.