Taormina & Castelmola
Beautifully located on Mount Tauro with Etna brooding in the background, Taormina's quaint side streets offer an intoxicating slice of La Dolce Vita. Nowadays unlike other Sicilian towns, even Palermo, Taormina is a shoppers' paradise.
Experience a wonderful day trip and walk around this cliff-top fascinating town with us. Your day begins when your english speaking driver greets you at your port of call or place of stay. After a leisurely drive through the beautiful Sicilian landscape you'll reach one of the most beautiful bays in the world: Isola Bella below Taormina. Here you can walk down to the fabulous rocky shore and into the emerald blue-green waters of the Ionian sea, a magical spot to relax and soak up the Sicilian sun. This little corner of Sicily will sweep you off your feet.
Your driver will then take you up on a scenic drive to get to Taormina's main street while providing a lot of information about things to do and where to go. After a series of switchbacks, before reaching the town, we'll pull over at the Ooh-Ah point that offers dramatic views of the sicilian coast and the Italian peninsula.
Once arrived in Corso Umberto, the main street of Taormina, you will be free to walk around and check out the most important monuments: the superb Greek-Roman theater, Corvaja Palace, the Cathedral and the Public Garden. Then you can enjoy a typical Sicilian lunch in one of the fine restaurants and local eateries. The tour continues when your driver picks you up at the designated meeting point to venture into Castelmola, a village perched above Taormina. Warm friendly people and spectacular panoramas characterize this lovely hamlet that is considered one of the most beautiful villages in Italy.
Ancient Tauromenion was founded by colonists from Naxos in the IV century B.C. During the greek era the city was prosperous and played an important role during the war against the Mamertines. The city continued to form a part of the kingdom of Syracuse until the death of Hieron and it only passed under the government of Rome when the whole island of Sicily was reduced to a Roman province. After the fall of the Roman Empire, due to its strategic position, it was one of the last places retained by Byzantines who were ousted by the Fatimids in 962, after a siege of 30 weeks. Muslim rule of the town lasted until 1078, when it was captured by the Norman count Roger I of Sicily who re-christianized it again.
After the fall of the Normans and of their German heirs, the Hohenstaufen, Taormina followed the history of Sicily under the Angevins and then the Crown of Aragon. As a matter of fact, King Martin II was elected here by the Sicilian Parliament in 1410. Taormina remained under the Spanish rule until the arrival of the Borbouns dinasty which lasted until 1860. With the arrival of Garibaldi in Sicily, Taormina, like the rest of the island, underwent a forced annexation to a new unitary State: Italy.
In the 18th century, when Italy was a mandatory stop in the so called Grand Tour, Taormina was included in its itinerary because of the great Greek, Roman, Arab, Norman and Spanish monuments the city had to offer.
During the early 20th century the town became a colony of expatriate artists, writers and intellectuals. During the 50's Taormina became one of the most important tourist destinations in the world where important celebrities have spent pleasant and memorable holidays.