From Taormina to Catania, admiring the beauties of Eastern Sicily
Writers of the caliber of Goethe, Maupassant, Lawrence and Wilde, stylists such as Dior, and a whole string of kings, princes and noblewomen have all spent at least one holiday in the famous Sicilian city of Taormina.
History in the making
The town's fashionable beaches are reason enough to choose Taormina as perfect seaside holiday destination, to which we should add the various traces of the city's Hellenic origins and, in particular, its magnificent Greek theater complete with two impressive Corinthian columns.
More than just a few hours could be spent admiring the beautiful churches and elegant patrician town houses lining the streets of the historic center. Whilst the medieval Palazzo Corvaja, constructed so as to resemble a castle, offers an eclectic display of Arabian, Norman and Gothic architectural styles, Taormina's 14th century Cathedral is, arguably, the most impressive of all the city's houses of worship.
Want to witness the treasures of ancient Taormina? pop into the city's Antiquarium museum
Gardens and gorge
Just a few kilometers from Taormina, lies Naxos, also known as Giardini-Naxos, famous for its glorious sea and impressive Archaeological Area, complete with tombs dating back to the bronze age and the ruins of a temple built in 5th century B.C.
The historic center of Giardini Naxos is home to both the Church of Santa Maria Raccomandata and the imposing Schisò Castle.
Another reason why so many tourists come to Giardini Naxos is the town's vicinity to the Gole dell'Alcantara, a spectacular gorge through which the Alcantara river flows
On the road to Catania, there are two towns which more than deserve a visit: Arcireale and Acicastello.
Acireale is famous for its sulfurous thermal waters but also for its historic center, where to admire numerous baroque masterpieces, from the Cathedral to the Palazzo Musmeci.
The Norman Castle, built entirely with black volcanic rock, is the symbol of Acicastello, a hill top town boasting spectacular views of the Cyclops Riviera.
Mount Etna, Sicily's constantly active, 3300m high volcano, dominates the bay of Catania. The Mount Etna National Park, created so as to protect the unique natural environment surrounding the crater, provides amazing trekking and biking terrain'''.
Visiting the park in winter? Hitch a ride by cable car, to the black tip of the crater, and experience the thrill of skiing down the slopes of the volcano!
Elephant and castle
The historic center of Catania merits a detailed tour. The city's most famous landmark has to be the volcanic stone elephant supporting an Egyptian obelisk, situated in the central Piazza Duomo, directly opposite one of Catania's most interesting churches: the majestic baroque cathedral dedicated to Saint Agata.
Frederick II of Swabia's 13th century Ursino Castle was one of the very few constructions to survive the devastating earthquake and 10m high tsunami of 1693. Today the massif, four-towered fortress houses Catania's Civic Museum, in which to observe numerous archaeological exhibits.
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