The town of Taormina offers several “must sees” including the Greek Theater and the Public Gardens. The Greek Theater, Teatro Greco Taormina, was built by the Greeks, possibly in the 3rd Century BC, and rebuilt and expanded by the Romans. The arena is spectacular and is still a venue for all kinds of entertainment ranging from rock to classical music, ballet, and theatrical performances. It is also the home of the Taormina Film Festival. The views over the Bay of Naxos and up to Mt. Etna are amazing. There will be lots and lots of other people sharing the sights at this don’t miss site, possibly the most famous and certainly among the most visited in Sicily. Even when it’s crowded, it is worth waiting to enter and enjoy the setting. Please visit teatrogrecotaormina.com for hours of operation, ticket pricing and event information.
After braving the crowds, go next door to the luxurious Grand Hotel Timeo at Via Teatro Greco, 59. If you are staying here, you are indeed fortunate. While we did not, several friends have and loved it. Even if you are not a guest, you can relax with a drink or coffee on their expansive verandah—and once again, enjoy the incredible views. There are many, many lodging options in Taormina at all price points. The Grand Timeo is among the more expensive choices, but it is a very grand property and if you want a location in the heart of Taormina and price is not a consideration, why not?
The public gardens, Giardini della Villa Comunale, located on Via Bagnoli Croce are gorgeous and blissfully peaceful. Even though they are quite near to the Greek Theater, you’ll rarely encounter crowds while strolling the lovely manicured grounds, which also afford spectacular views.
The gardens were the creation of Lady Florence Trevelyan, an Englishwoman known for her dalliances as well as her botanical interests. Lady Trevelyan included a number of “follies,” buildings included for visual interest but no other real purpose, in her gardens.
Along with beautiful Mediterranean and exotic flowers, plants and trees that keep the garden colorful all year long, you’ll find a human driven “torpedo” from World War II at Taormina’s Giardini della Villa Comunale. The craft, which operators in the Italian Navy referred to as the Maiale (pig) was electronically propelled and driven by two crewmen in dive suits who steered the torpedo to an enemy ship, detached the warhead, and affixed it to the enemy ship’s hull. Mission accomplished, the divers rode away on the torpedo before the explosion. An interesting find in the public gardens!
Next, we’ll join the crowds and see the town.