Taormina is a beautiful hilltop town that offers plenty of charming spots to take in the Sicilian island vibes, with sweeping Ionian seascapes and Mt. Etna serving as backdrop. Teatro Antico (the historical centre) is the heart of the town where the main walking street of Corso Umberto leads you to most of the interesting landmarks and dramatic viewpoints.
The most notable landmark is the Greek Theatre, with ruins and stage pillars that perfectly frame the blue waters of the Ionian. If you fancy a swim in the calm waves, head down to the coves and pebbled islet coast of Isola Bella. Historical churches dot the main street and rocky hillsides above, and there’s cool spots to head to after the sun sets. Here are great things to do in Taormina in a day or two, well worth the hour’s train ride south from Messina in north-eastern Sicily.
What are the best things to do in Taormina?
You can take in Taormina’s blend of antiquity and modern buzz at this arched stone gateway. It’s also where you can start strolling down Corso Umberto, the main walking street, and reach the viewpoint square of Piazza Aprile midway. Porta Messina is one among 2 of the once fortified town’s portals, the other being Porta Catania that’s around 800 metres on the southwestern end of the Corso. The blue Interbus coach from the train station can take you up to Porta Messina.
This grand Medieval stone fortress-like building’s just a minutes’ walk down from Porta Messina. It has an inner courtyard featuring old Christian reliefs and arched windows with a bit of Arabic influence. Palazzo Corvaja now functions as a museum and art gallery, frequently holding painting and multimedia exhibitions. From the outside, it stands large and tall, retaining much of its ancient architectural features – in contrast to the surrounding modern buildings within the piazza. This partly makes it popular for pre-wedding shoots.
Shop along Corso Umberto
From either of the town’s 2 stone portals, you’ll find yourself walking along the pedestrian-only shopping haven of Corso Umberto. It’s a pleasant cobblestoned route lined with flowers, but can be get quite busy with the summer crowds. This can be good if you like people watching – there’s plenty of cafés along the course where you can sit and enjoy a coffee. Speciality shops range from fashion to jewellery, while most have displays filled with souvenirs. It’s charming during sunset time, with fewer tour groups.
Sightseeing at Piazza IX Aprile
Halfway down Corso Umberto, you’ll come across this spacious and beautifully chequered-tiled piazza. It can provide you with a pause and relief from the usually crowded street, with a prize view as its bonus. From the piazza’s southern side, you can take in the sweeping seascape of the Ionian Sea. The other sides are bordered by historical landmarks, namely the baroque San Giuseppe church, the Church of St. Augustine, and the striking fortress-like clock tower. The square’s gorgeous, both day and night.