Tomorrow we farewell Taormina, after a fun-filled fortnight exploring this lively city and its surrounds.

We’ve had an action-packed few weeks. We learnt how to cook traditional Sicilian food, including caponata and hand-rolled macaroni. We went on a walking tour and heard all about the city’s culture and history. We walked up the north-east side of Mt Etna, and then enjoyed lunch at a nearby winery. We waded through the very cold water at the magnificent Alcantara Gorge. We took a ferry to the tiny Aeolian Islands of Liperi and Vulcano. We saw a local Opera production and sipped prosecco on the rooftop overlooking the town. We caught a bus to Castelmola, a cute village perched on top of the hill overlooking Taormina, where we spent a pleasant few hours exploring, and then walked the very steep path down when our return bus didn’t show up.

Sicilian cooking class

Climbing Mt Etna

Castelmola

Alcantara Gorge

Aeolian Islands of Liperi and Vulcano

Yesterday we walked down hundreds of stairs to Isola Bella, a tiny island that sits just off the rocky beach below Taormina. 7.50 euros gets you a beach lounge chair, a shade umbrella and wifi for a whole day, so we spent a lazy afternoon reading, listening to music and enjoying the spectacular view.

Isola Bella

Taormina is perched on the side of a hill. The main street  – Corso Umberto – stretches for about a kilometre between two stone arches – Porta Messina and Porta Catania – both part of the ancient city walls. It is lined with shops, restaurants and cafes, including the famous WunderBar, once a popular haunt for Liz Taylor, Richard Burton and Cary Grant when Taormina was a playground for the rich and famous.

We’ve been staying near the less touristy Porta Catania, with easy access to the local supermarket and pasticceria (bakery). Stairs are strategically placed throughout the town to make it easier(!!) to get around.  Our apartment overlooks the city, so we’ve had to walk down quite a few stairs to visit the town centre, and of course up again to come home.  We’ve become used to the climb and it makes us feel a little less guilty for eating too much pasta and drinking too many glasses of wine. The upside is that we have an amazing view of Mt Etna from our balcony.

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Tomorrow the city goes into lockdown for the G7 meeting, so our departure is very well timed. Next stop … Gozo, Malta.

Around Taormina

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