For the past two centuries, artists, actors and tastemakers have been drawn to charming Taormina. It’s hardly surprising: with its rustic charm, magical views and Etna’s magnetic forces permeating the air, this is one of the most enchanting places on earth. Stay at Grand Hotel Timeo or Villa Sant’Andrea, both Belmond hotels, for front seats to the action.
Any mention of Taormina conjures images of the Greek Theatre—an archeological treasure right next door to Grand Hotel Timeo. It mystifies in the solitude of early morning, and regularly hosts concerts come sundown. If you get the chance to attend, take it. This stunning setting comes alive to the sound of music.
Piazza IX Aprile is a gorgeous square with cafés and gelaterias. Wander into its two ancient churches and take in Taormina’s diverse architecture. Nearby Corso Umberto offers a perfect slice of retail therapy, whether you’re after the latest Italian fashions or locally made handicrafts. Head to Bam Bar for mouthwatering Sicilian treats.
Hire an Ape Calessino and let its three wheels take you to every corner of town. You’ll want to drive up to the village of Castelmola, where the main square boasts sprawling coastline panoramas. Pick your favourite spot for lunch—the views are a perfect accompaniment.
Using the cable car that runs from Via Nazionale to Mazzarò Bay is one of the best things to do in Taormina. Spend day after day blissfully resting on the private pebble beach at Villa Sant’Andrea—there are plenty of lovely waterside restaurants to discover. Our own Ristorante Oliviero is difficult to beat: the chef’s signature couscous with fresh local fish offers a true taste of the island.
If you want to explore off the Sicilian coast, visit the volcanic Aeolian islands. Sail to the magical island of Filicudi to feast on warm Aeolian hospitality. Visit the fascinating archeological museum at Lipari. Stroll the streets of Stromboli, made famous by the 1950 film of the same name starring Ingrid Bergman. You will be spoilt for choice.
If you’re searching for a more traditional adventure, Mount Etna is a thrilling experience. The craters are reminiscent of Mars and the views are nothing short of spectacular. Sample some of the local honey and stop in at the Planeta winery. The varietals are full-bodied thanks to Etna’s unique mineral rich soil.
Nearby to Toarmina, why not discover the world of Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather trilogy? Discover a traditional way of life at two beautiful hilltop villages that served as filming locations, Forza D’Agrò and Savoca. As you travel around the winding roads, pause at the famous movie locations. These include the Church of Santissima Trinità in Forza D’Agrò, the Church of Santa Lucia and the famous Bar Vitelli in Savoca.
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