Taormina & Castelmola (7/8 hours)
Meet your driver at the established place. Today you will have the chance to discover two of the most charming Sicilian destinations: Taormina and Castelmola. The first one is certainly the best-known tourist destination of the island, also called “the pearl of the Ionian Sea” because of its natural and artistic treasures. It is located 206 mt a.s.l., perched on the promontory of the Monte Tauro (hence its old name Tauromènion).
The colours of the landscape surrounding Taormina, unique in their combination, range from the green of the hillside to the blue of the sea, from the white of the snow capping Mount Etna to the red of Etna’s lava flows. Needless to say, this landscape has been mesmerizing artists and writers for decades. At the foot of the promontory, stretching into the bay is the small island known as Isola Bella.
This small island belonged to noble and affluent families before the Sicilian department for cultural heritage bought it in 1990 and proclaimed it Protected Natural Reserve in 1998. These are the places where the French director Luc Besson decided to shoot some important scenes from his movie “Le Grand Bleu”, in 1988.
Taormina is considered the capital of high-end shopping and of the “Dolce Vita”. However, beside its crowded main street Corso Umberto with its plethora of shops and panoramic spots that make a perfect setting for a romantic stroll, Taormina also hosts plenty of sights and monuments.
Among them are the Duomo, dedicated to Saint Nicholas from Bari, the Villa Comunale, from where one can enjoy sweeping views of the Bay, and the Greek theatre, dating from the 3rd century b.C. The theatre is open to visitors every day of the year (tickets can be purchased on the spot) and is still used for live performances, concerts and festivals between June and September. Our next stop will be in Castelmola, a small, picturesque medieval village perched 501 metres a.s.l, on a rock looking straight onto the Ionian Sea. Looking south, you can take in the view of Mount Etna and the bay of Giardini Naxos, looking north you will see the Strait of Messina and the Calabria region, on the mainland. You will find benches at the panoramic “piazzetta”, a terrace dedicated to Sant’Antonino, where you can sit down and sip the typical, delicious almond wine.