The 15 best sights of Taormina – description, photos, map

15 Taormina sights worth visiting

What to see in Taormina

Located on the mountainside, the town is one of the most popular summer vacation spots in Sicily. Let’s face it: Taormina is quite expensive and crowded, but it’s still worth a visit, if only to see its ancient Greek theater, mingle with the locals, and admire the stunning scenery.

The city was founded in the 4th century BC and reached its peak under the reign of King Gelon II of Greece. Under the Romans Taormina continued to grow and develop, and then in 1087 the Normans came here and the whole region was consigned to oblivion. The process of “reincarnation” of the city as a popular tourist destination goes back to the 17th century, when the Grand Tours became fashionable among northern Europeans. A great admirer of this city was D. H. Lawrence, who lived here from 1920 to 1923.

Taormina gets extremely crowded in July and August and from November to the beginning of Easter, life virtually comes to a standstill. Ideally you should come here in April, May, September or October.

Ancient Theatre

Ancient Theatre

Ancient Theatre.

If you don’t know what to see in Taormina in the first place, you should start with the ancient theater, because the main architectural object of this town is the majestic building of the II century B.C. situated on a 200 meters high hill. From the southern side of the theater there is a magnificent view of Mount Etna.

It is the second largest ancient Greek theater in Sicily (after Syracuse) and the first in terms of its incredible location. In the summer, concerts and festival events are held here. To avoid the crowds of tourists, it is advisable to visit this place early in the morning.

Address: Teatro Antico di Taormina, Via del Teatro Greco, Taormina, Messina, Italy.

Villa Comunale Gardens

Villa Comunale Gardens

The gardens of Villa Comunale | Photo: Gabriella Alu’ / Flickr.

If you want to hide from the crowds of tourists, you should go to the public gardens at Villa Comunale. Created by Englishwoman Florence Trevelyan in the late 19th century, this stunning place is a blooming paradise of tropical plants and exotic flowers surrounding all sorts of quirky structures. There is a playground for the children.

Address: Giardini della Villa Comunale, Via Bagnoli Croci, Taormina, Messina, Italy.

Via Corso Umberto

Via Corso Umberto I

Via Corso Umberto.

When you come to Taormina, you can’t resist the temptation to stroll down this gorgeous pedestrian street dotted with fashionable boutiques. Start your walk at Palazzo Corvaja, built in the 10th century, then head southwest towards Piazza IX Aprile, which offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the city.

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Opposite the piazza you’ll see the lovely 17th century church of San Giuseppe. Continue west past the twelfth-century clock tower towards Piazza del Duomo, where there is an ornate Baroque fountain (1635) depicting the symbol of Taormina, a two-legged centaur with a bust of an angel.

Congratulations, you are in Borgo Medievale, the oldest quarter of the city. On the east side of the Piazza del Duomo is the 13th century cathedral. In the fifteenth century, Spanish aristocrats ordered the facade of this building to be reconstructed to conform to Renaissance fashions.

To the north of the Corso, very close to the Hotel El Jebel, is the 14th century palazzo Ciampoli. On the south side (near Porta Catania) you will find Palazzo Duca di Santo Stefano, a 13th century palace once inhabited by the noble Spanish family, the De Spuches. Looking at its Norman Gothic style windows and interesting Arabic accents, you can understand why this ancient building is considered one of the architectural “gems” of Taormina.

Address: Scesa Morgana, 1, 98039 Taormina ME, Italy.

Tauro Hill

Tauro Hill

Mount Tauro.

The short 20-minute climb to the top of Mount Tauro (378 m) is not comparable to conquering the Himalayas, but it is still considered quite steep and the last steps are not easy. The reward is a breathtaking, panoramic view of Taormina’s rooftops, its Greek theater, and its beautiful coastline.

From Via Circonvallazione, signs lead us to the small church of Madonna della Rocca. Founded by Abbot Francesco Raineri in 1640, this church was built inside a grotto. According to legend, a young shepherd once took refuge here during a sudden storm and the Virgin Mary appeared to him in this spot with the baby Jesus.

The view from the church terrace is truly divine, overlooking Taormina and the deep blue Ionian Sea. Climbing up the mountain, you’ll come across the ruins of the Saracen castle, once built on the site of an ancient Greek acropolis. You will not be allowed to enter the castle itself – there is a lock on its gates, but you will have something to see from this altitude.

Address: Castello di Taormina, Via Madonna della Rocca, Taormina, Messina, Italy.

Castelmola

View from Castelmola

View from Castelmola.| Photo: simplethrill / Flickr.

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If you want to enjoy stunning views of the coast and Mount Etna, head to this lovely hilltop village with the ruins of an old castle. If you’re in good shape, you could try walking up here (it takes about an hour) – it would be a good workout for your legs, plus you’ll have time to enjoy the stunning panoramas.

Alternatively take the Interbus bus which runs every hour (round trip for about € 1.90/ 3; travel time 15 minutes).

Once there, be sure to stop by the four-story local bar with a rather interesting decoration called “Bar Turrisi”, where you can taste amazing almond wine.

Address: Castello di Mola, SP10, Castelmola, Messina, Italy.

Sanctuary of the Madonna della Rocca

Sanctuary of Madonna della Rocca

Sanctuary of the Madonna della Rocca.

This small church, built literally inside Mount Tauro, was founded by Abbot Francesco Raineri around 1640. According to legend, a young shepherd once took refuge here during a sudden storm and in this grotto the Virgin Mary appeared to him with the child Jesus.

The panorama from the church terrace is truly divine, overlooking Taormina and the deep blue Ionian Sea.

Address: Chiesa Madonna della Rocca, Taormina, Messina, Italy.

Mazzaro Beach

View of Mazzaro Beach

View of Mazzaro Beach.| Photo: Tatiana Roza / Flickr.

This is the closest beach to Taormina, right under the town. It is full of all kinds of bars and restaurants, and private individuals charge for the use of umbrellas and sun loungers (usually about 10 euros per person per day). To get to Mazzaro, take the cable car from Taormina.

GPS coordinates: 37°51’16.2″N 15°18’05.3″E.

Island of Isola Bella

Isola Bella Island

Isola Bella Island | Photo: mariocutroneo / Flickr.

Just southwest of Mazzaro Beach is the tiny Isola Bella Island, a beautiful nature preserve located in a picturesque cove with fishing boats. It was once home to the famous Englishwoman Florence Trevelyan, the same one who built Villa Communale. You can reach the island on foot through a narrow strip of sand (don’t forget to take off your shoes).

Address: Isola Bella, Taormina, Messina, Italy.

Church of San Giuseppe

San Giuseppe Church

Church of San Giuseppe.| Photo: Michele Ursino / Flickr.

The picturesque church of San Giuseppe, standing near Piazza IX Aprile was opened at the beginning of the 18th century. The central portal is finished in noble marble, while those on the sides are made of local stone. The single-nave interior of the church is decorated by a whimsical Rococo painting with floral motifs and cherubs.

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Address: Chiesa di San Giuseppe, Piazza IX Aprile, Taormina, Messina, Italy.

Palazzo Duca di Santo Stefano

Palazzo Duca di Santo Stefano

Palazzo Duca di Santo Stefano.

This 13th-century palace, located just behind Corso Umberto near the Porta Catania gate, was once the home of a noble Spanish family, the De Spuches. The windows in Norman Gothic style and the distinctive Arab motifs of the facade make this palace very special.

Address: Comune Di Taormina – Palazzo Duchi Di Santo Stefano, Taormina, Messina, Italy.

Saracen Castle

Ascent to the Saracen Castle

Ascent to Saracen Castle | Photo: Terry Feuerborn / Flickr.

At the top of Mount Tauro you can find the ruins of Saracen Castle, built between the 11th and 12th centuries. The castle was built on the site of an ancient Greek acropolis. Tourists are not allowed to enter.

Address: Castello Saraceno Casteltaormina via Crucis – Stairs to the castle of Taormina, Salita Castello, Taormina, Messina, Italy.

Clock Tower

Clock Tower

Clock Tower.

This twelfth century clock tower, west of the main square Piazza IX Aprile, can be considered the conventional border beyond which begins Borgo Medievale, the oldest quarter of Taormina.

Address: Torre dell’orologio e Porta di mezzo, Corso Umberto, Taormina, Messina, Italy.

Palazzo Corvaja

Palazzo Corvaja

Дворец Корвайя. | Фото: János Korom Dr. >13 Millio / Flickr.

Today, this 10th-century palazzo, decorated with Arabic decorative elements, houses a tourist information office and occasionally hosts exhibitions.

Address: Palazzo Corvaja, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, Taormina, Messina, Italy.

Palazzo Ciampoli

Palazzo Ciampoli

Palazzo Ciampoli. | Photo: Christophe PINARD / Flickr.

Palazzo Ciampoli built in the 14th century stands next to the Hotel El Jebel.

Address: Palazzo Ciampoli, Salita Ciampoli, Taormina, Messina, Italy.

Porta Messina

Porta Messina

Porta Messina. | Photo: Herbert Frank / Flickr.

When King Ferdinand IV opened this gate in 1808, it was called Porta Ferdinand, but it was later renamed Porta Messina. This distant event is commemorated on a plaque above the gate arch.

Address: Porta Messina, Corso Umberto, Taormina, Messina, Italy.

Attractions of Taormina

Greek Theater Maffei`s Restaurant in Taormina

The site contains Taormina attractions – photos, descriptions and travel tips. The list is based on popular travel guides and presented by type, name and rating. Here you can find answers to questions: what to see in Taormina, where to go and where are the popular and interesting places in Taormina.

Greek Theatre

Greek theater (photo)

The theater in Taormina is an ancient structure, built in the 3rd century B.C. The stage with good acoustics and the grandstands, which can seat 10,000 spectators, are still intact and are still used for different events.

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The building has been excellently preserved, despite the fact that no restoration work was carried out after the Romans had converted it for gladiatorial fights in the first century AD and until the 19th century. Today the building is in excellent condition and is used for various film festivals, concerts and other events.

Coordinates: 37.85238600,15.29223300

The Baroque Fountain of the Ponies in Taormina

The Baroque Fountain of the Ponies is located in Taormina, in the square in front of the Saint Nicholas cathedral, on three concentric segments built in 1635 in local marble and on each of its four sides there are small pillars supporting cups dominated by mythical ponies whose mouths contain water that fountains. The composition of the fountain is a basket of fruits, on which the centaur, the coat of arms of Taormina, is high, but in this case, the centaur is a woman, she holds a scepter in one hand and a power in the other.

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Maffei’s Restaurant in Taormina

Maffei`s Restaurant in Taormina (photo)

Maffei’s is one of the best fish restaurants in Taormina but with a pity – the number of seats is very limited and there are hardly a dozen tables for lunch in this place so you better reserve a table in advance. The Maffei’s location is close to the San Domenico Palace Hotel, the setting for the movie “The Adventure” by the legendary Antonioni.

In photo mode you can view Taormina sights by photo only.

Piazza IX Aprile

Piazza IX Aprile, is a square that evokes delight, so picturesque is the landscape, evokes feelings that are impossible to convey. Here are the most beautiful churches of Sant’Agostino, San Giuseppe, the best Sicilian resort of Taormina and the most delightful cafes. The Odeon, the Polazzo Corvaja, the first Parliament of the island, the Clock Tower and other sights are at hand and the viewpoint with its view over the Giardinni Naxos is a short distance away.

Clock Tower of Taormina

In April 9 square in Taormina Sicily the Clock Tower is a unique monument with a gate in the center of Porta di Mezzo that leads to a quarter of medieval buildings, an interesting architectural and landscape phenomenon.

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Taormina Market

The Taormina market is small but pleasant. To find it, duck into the arch just after the grocery store in viale San Pancrazio (that’s the square you reach from via Pirandello, which leads from the cable car and the bus station). It’s open, like all markets, until 12-13pm. There are two fish stalls, but it’s a really good choice. Two stalls with meat and poultry. Many fruits and vegetables. A lot of flowers. Convenient for those who live in or near Taormina.

Church of San Pancrazio

The amazingly beautiful Church of San Pancrazio is on the ruins of a Greek temple. The church was erected in the mid-16th century, the building was built in honor of the patron saint of Taormina, St. Pancrazio. The church symbolizes the original Italian culture. The interior decoration of the church is striking in its diversity and elegance. Among the unique elements of the decor, some of the main ones are the preserved marble and stone masonry on the floor and walls, as well as amazingly beautiful frescoes that depict a martyr. The church is striking in its sophistication, richness, beauty and grandeur.

Viewpoint in Taormina

An observation platform overlooking Giardini Naxos, in Taormina, one of the most beautiful resorts in Sicily.

The viewpoint overlooks the sandy beach of Giardini Naxos, overlooking the picturesque promontory and the admirable Ionian Sea.

Giardini Naxos is a small resort town located on the slope of Mount Tauro, on the east coast of Sicily, one of the most refined resorts of the Ionian coast.

The most popular attractions in Taormina with descriptions and photos for every taste. Choose the best places to visit Taormina’s famous places on our website.

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