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  • Mary Burney


Whether on a port call in Sicily, or touring Italy – the island of Sicily, and specifically, the town of Taormina is a “must-see”. My ship arrived in Messina, the northern port of Sicily in the morning to showers and this beautiful rainbow.

If you look closely at this picture, you’ll see the shadow of the ship on the building. I thought this was pretty neat.

Sicily is brimming with rugged natural beauty, and it has been shaped by countless civilizations, from Greek to Byzantine to Roman. The location of Messina, at the northeast tip of Sicily puts it within just two miles of the Italian mainland and there are countless ferries that make the crossing.

My choice for my day in port was to make the trip to the town of Taormina, about 50 minutes from Messina. Although I thought the ride would go along the coast, I was somewhat dreading it as Sicily has mountains and hills galore. As it turns out, in the late 60’s and early 70’s, tunnels along the coastal road were built and the trip to Taormina included some 30 tunnels in the 50-minute ride. . .so it was a breeze for someone like me who tends to get motion sick on curvy, mountain roads.

Taormina is a hilltop town on the east coast of Sicily. It sits near Mount Etna, an active volcano with trails leading to the summit. Although Mount Etna was hidden in the clouds during my visit, there can be unobstructed views. We did get some great views of the Ionian coast! The narrow, medieval roads are winding and bending, with secluded gardens and terraced vistas featuring stunning panoramas of the coast. I found the town very beautiful and since it seemed we were early arrivals; it wasn’t that busy. It did seem as our time progressed that it got a bit busier and many of the people seemed to be Italian, rather than international tourists so I suspect perhaps Italians make day trips over from mainland Italy.

The town is known for the Teatro Antico di Taormina, an ancient Greco-­Roman theater still used today. It overlooks the Bay of Naxos and the views are beautiful.

And. . .after walking and exploring for several hours it was time to find a café where we had – what else – bruschetta and wine!


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