It is not the first time we choose Sicily from the whole variety of summer destinations. There are clear prerequisites for this: clean sea, great hotels, interesting places to visit and… Taormina. The very fact of its presence on the island makes it easier to take decisions about the trip – apart from all the delights of Sicily, visiting Taormina is an independent event, which you will remember [for the long winter evenings :)].
Like last time, we stayed at Naxos Beach Resort because it has a very comfortable equipped beach, water sports, and it is located a 10-minute drive from Taormina. Thus, in the afternoon you can spend time on the beach in the classical sense, and the evenings in Taormina with all its advantages.
This time we decided to diversify our stay in Sicily a trip to the filming locations of The Godfather movie. The idea was interesting – visiting small local villages allowed us to travel 50 years back – everything is preserved that well. The feeling that the time had stopped, never left us the whole trip. It is difficult to convey in words what you feel, passing through the streets of an ancient village, which has no obvious signs of the modern world – illuminated signboards, noisy tourist cafes with music, shops of global brands. Of course, we also visited the famous Vitelli bar, having ordered there lemon granite based on the recipes of the Sicilian grandmothers (obviously, we took a ton of photos). Some of the scenes of the film was filmed in Savoca, part of the Forza D’agro, and during the tour we moved from one village to another and the surrounding area, receiving an unforgettable experience.
We also visited the local amusement park – Etnaland, a pleasant feature of which is the opportunity to visit it at night. On the one hand, it is not hot, on the other – there are no crowds of children with parents who we would have to stand in queues with. This night visit to the amusement park left a ton of impressions, it really resembled the Hollywood horror comedy Zombieland, and zombies began to appear behind every empty attraction …
In Taormina there is an ancient Opera outdoor theater, which hosts screenings of famous operas. This time we watched Aida. You can’t say that we are some great connoisseurs of opera, but when you look at it in an antique theater in the open air, you see the ancient columns as scenery, and in the background you watch the volcano Etna, you unwittingly get imbued by the set. At the last visit to this theater we were luckier, we watched Tosca against the backdrop of the volcanic eruption, and the sensations were unforgettable: night sky covered with stars, classic performance with wonderful vocals and colorful costumes, ancient columns and ancient ruins as scenery, and in the background an orange flame erupting Etna.
As for the volcano, it can be visited in the daytime, but the ascent to the correct accessible point is possible only with a guide. Etna is an active volcano (the highest active one in Europe), however, seeing the eruption with your own eyes, with lava flowing out of the crateris not always possible. This time, there was no lava (Alex visiting us was not lucky). But the previous time we had the pleasure to witness it from a safe distance. As locals say, about once in 150 years Etna destroys a local settlement. At the same time, as the guide told us, the lava moves at a high speed only in the beginning, close to the crater, and then, stacking on the slope, begins to slow down significantly, which gives a certain period to the people for the gathering and evacuation. So if there is any threat to the town of Zafferana Etnea on the slopes of Etna, the residents have every chance to get away safely.
By the way, the special composition of soil in the area of Etna causes specific content of minerals in local wines, giving them a unique flavor. We tasted wines from local grapes Nero d’avola, used for the production of red wine, and it’s something wonderful. Generally, the local wines have a very rich taste, apparently, the reason for that is Etna.
Well, back to Taormina, I want to begin to list all its advantages, which are numerous. It is the fact of its location on the top of the mountain, and its rich historical heritage, and a perfectly preserved architectural ensemble, where all its parts are harmoniously combined with each other, and an abundance of incredibly delicious restaurants and busy bars, where everyone will find something for his taste. Staying at a hotel on the coast, in the town of Giardini Naxos, we spent every evening in Taormina, and each time discovered something new. I am sure that at any opportunity will come here again. By the way, on the advice of the manager Alex’s in Taormina, we have discovered several establishments “for locals”, which showed us the city from a new side. And for those who would prefer another little town or village, there is a wide choice of the hotels in Sicily with private beach.