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Curtain up for Taormina – Sicily's Breathtaking Beauty

Updated: Feb 1

Discover the picturesque Taormina on the Italian island of Sicily with the breathtaking backdrop of Mount Etna and the azure sea. Immerse yourself in history, nature and Italian cuisine!

“Imagine you are sitting here more than 1200 years ago, the sun is just setting off behind the mountains with a final golden glow, below you can see the azure blue of the sea and then an actor enters the stage and the opera begins. “
Taormina Sicily Etna volcano sunset Teatro Greco

A Greek amphitheater in Italy

Luigi - his Italian travel guide - takes a look at his audience: a group of American students who are currently more busy taking selfies. He briefly raises his eyes to ask for help from heaven and then begins to thunder in a theatrical voice:“Later, when the Romans expanded the original Greek theater, which is why it is called “Teatro Greco,” they were here But above all, gladiator fights were fought. Imagine how men protected only by a loincloth and armed with a sword had to fight for their lives against starving animals.

Lions roared, spectators cheered and the gladiators screamed! Her blood seeped into the sandy soil right here.

Suddenly the young people are hanging on his every word... “And now imagine that the volcano Etna (which is just blowing a puff of smoke into the sky and looks as if no water could cloud it) is also contributing to the spectacle: with banging explosions and fire, which he impressively throws into the sky, while glowing red lava slowly finds its way down to the sea." Luigi sighs with eerie satisfaction. "That was a spectacle.

In Taormina in Sicily, everything is big theater

Taormina Sicily Volcano Etna Teatro Greco

Even without gladiators, lions and an acute volcanic eruption, the small town, which is crammed like an eagle's nest on the slope of Monte Tauro 200 meters above the Bay of Naxos, still manages to captivate every visitor today. There is everything a visitor could desire here: chic villas, captivatingly smelling lemon trees, slightly dilapidated churches, souvenirs, Italian ice cream, mountains, sea, history, a bubbling, active volcano and, on top of that, the spectacular scenery, which – without exaggerating – makes Taormina one of the most beautiful towns in the world: Italy, like something out of a picture book!

You could admire the backdrop of the theater for hours without getting bored. Each step offers a completely new perspective, each time of day a completely different atmosphere: in the morning the ruins are wonderfully illuminated by the sun, in the afternoon it bathes the mountains in golden light. Mount Etna towers above everything, seemingly within reach.

At 3300-3500 meters, depending on activity, Mount Etna is the highest active volcano in Europe.
Especially beautiful in spring

When spring weather is already prevailing on the coast and the trees are blooming, it is still deep winter weather at the summit. Seen from the theater, the mountain's snowtop offers the perfect contrast between untamed wildness and millennia-old culture.

Click on the first picture to start the photo series:

City tour in Taormina

If you can separate yourself from this scenery, you should let yourself drift through the small streets. The Corso Umberto is the promenade that leads across from Porta Messina to Porta Catania. OnPiazza IX. In April, there are tourists milling about admiring the church of San Agostino and the Torre dell'Orologio clock tower, children riding wildly on their bicycles and skateboards between serious-looking, grey-haired Signoras dressed in black but they don't allow themselves to be distracted from their lunchtime chat.

If you can, you should visit the coastal town outside of the summer months and therefore the high season, when thousands of day-trippers and cruise tourists crowd through the narrow streets.

It's hard to imagine that the city, located on the east coast of Sicily, fell into a long slumber after being destroyed by the Arabs in the 9th century.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was one of the first tourists whose visit in 1787 put Taormina back on the travel list - especially for artists - and actually triggered the first tourism boom that continues to this day. The German painter Otto Geleng was also partly responsible, whose numerous landscape paintings of Taormina and the surrounding area made the place known far beyond Sicily. The photographer Wilhelm von Gloeden attracted the attention of the free thinkers of the time. He had staged the almost forgotten shepherd and fisherman's nest in his own way: he had adolescent boys pose, sometimes with and sometimes without antique loincloths, on jagged rocks, on crumbling viewing terraces or in front of the remaining columns of the now famous theater, which other artists like Oscar Wilde and D. H. Lawrenceattracted. The English who settled here at the end of the 19th century created the artfully landscaped public garden “Giardino Pubblico” which features tree species from all over the world. If you walk through the beds bordered by rosemary and bougainvillea to the magnificent viewing terrace, many a tourist still feels called to take up his easel - which doesn't seem surprising given the picturesque view.

My tip: visit the amphitheater as late in the day as possible. Firstly, there will be fewer tourists and secondly, the sun will set behind Etna. A spectacular setting!
Taormina Sicily Isola Bella beach Italy rocks

While Luigi's gaze wanders dreamily into the distance, his students are pushing for new adventures, and so the group climbs steep steps to the Madonna della Rocca Chapel. The Castello right next door offers a literally breathtaking view of the buildings clinging to the steep mountainside, the amphitheater and the sea - which the young Americans yearn for after the sweaty climb. Luigi has mercy and together they wind their way back down to the city along winding paths.

Dolce Vita with Etna ice cream on Isola Bella

The first refreshment comes in the form of a famous Italian ice cream: the best seller is the “Etna” variety, a mixture of almond, pistachios and candied churches. With the ice cream in hand, we continue towards the sea: a staircase half overgrown with flowers leads steeply down to Isola Bella - a name that is almost an understatement. Pine trees provide shade on the pebble beach, and the bathing bays are bordered by rocky peninsulas. A postcard idyll with rare animal and plant species, accessible via a narrow sandbank. The English bred the exotic trees here in the 19th century, which were then planted in the Giardino Pubblico. In 1998 it was declared a nature reserve by the WWF. The young people don't care much about any of this at the moment, in a matter of seconds they have torn off their clothes to splash around in the turquoise blue lagoon and Luigi also sighs in delight as he takes off his shoes and stretches his feet into the sea. A young American in his group comes up to him enthusiastically. “Well, I have to say, this is the most beautiful place I've ever been to in my life.” The Italian tour guide smiles with satisfaction: his mission was successful... but to be honest: nowhere in the world is this easier.


The websites (English) and offer a good overview of possible leisure activities.

Get there:

From Frankfurt, Lufthansa and Ryanair offer direct flights to Catania. From there, either with a rental car (although parking spaces are rare in Taormina), for example via www.billiger-mietwagen .de booked, with the public bus (, or an airport transfer (e.g.: Some hotels also offer a free shuttle.


The Four star Hotel Villa Paradiso impresses with its central location right on the Giardino Pubblico and the view of the bay of Naxos. Double room with breakfast from 120€. Via Roma, 2 98039 Taormina, Tel: +39 (0)94223921,

Breakfast terrace Donna Carmela view Etna Sicily Italy
Donna Carmela breakfast terrace

Half an hour from Taormina lies the Donna Carmela in the middle of a vast Mediterranean landscape garden. Some of the rooms have a wonderful view of Mount Etna and the sea. Double room with an exceptionally rich breakfast from €100 in the low season. As a bonus, the hotel offers free transfers from the airport and to Taormina.

Contrada Grotte, 7 Carruba di Riposto, Tel. +39 (0)95 80938,


The Restaurant Al Giardino, which is painted with pretty plant frescoes, is located directly behind the public park in Taormina. The house specialty is fish and seafood, but there is also pasta.

Via Bagnoli Croci, 84, 98039 Taormina, Tel: +39 (0)339 3001720

For crispy pizza we recommend La Napoletana. The pizzeria is located in a small alley that leads from Corso Umberto to the Del Varó O Della Visitazione church.

Piazza Varò, 98039 Taormina, Tel: +39 (0)942 628049

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