6 days in Sicily-09/24 - 09/29/2017
After lunch we drove from Catania to Taormina. The drive is about 45 minutes and the distance is about 34 miles.
Taormina is one of the most popular and beautiful places in Sicily! Perched on the side of Mountain Tauro, the town offers fantastic views of the coast and Mount Etna volcano. Below the town are excellent beaches so it is no surprise that Taormina is one of Sicily's top travel destinations.
We are now in Taormina and it is impossible to find parking inside the historic center. We were told there is huge parking complex close by but we had to
basically briefly exit the city and then make a U-turn to get back into a huge multi level parking complex (on the left but cannot be seen in this picture.)
The town is breath taking with a view of the ocean in the horizon.
As we got off the parking lot leading to a huge square there was an exhibition of antique cars.
Hoa loves Porches so he took a picture of a few of them.
Here is another antique Porche that is well maintained.
Before we parked out car, we did not know that the historic center is only for pedestrian so we drove as close as we could. Since we could not drive in, we had to take a left to a narrow, one way street, as we did not have other options.
As we were driving up and trying to find a way to get out, we saw a guy making sign for us to stop but we just kept going as we were not sure he was signaling us. As we kept going, the road kept getting narrower to the point that we had to get out of the car (barely any room) to flip in our rear mirrors, if not our car could not go through. We came to a dead end street and now we had to back up the car in order to get out, but it so tight and impossible to move.
To make a long story short, it took Minh and Hoa a lot of coordination to maneuver the car and to make it worse there was a car behind us. He was impatient and he got so mad that he could not move forward. We were able to get out of there but let me tell you it was tense moment!
After parking, it took us less than 5 minutes to get to the historic center in Taormina.
This is the entrance gate and once you enter the gate it is only for pedestrians, no cars are allowed inside as we found it out the hard way.
Once inside we decided to take a coffee break at the first coffee shop we saw.
We had gelato, pastries, and coffee...
We are on way of the Greek theater.
The center of Taormina is incredibly easy to visit, and you can view all the main attractions in under two hours.
Taormina’s Greek Theater sits high above the town’s famous beaches, so you have to climb uphill to see the ruin and to our surprise the view from up there is simply amazing.
Fantastic view of the town of Taormina.
All the houses are build on a plateau over looking the sea and surrounded by mountains.
Nice vista from up above!
Greek Theater of Taormina
As Taormina’s most famous sight, Teatro Greco dates back to the third century BC. The Greeks, under the reign of Hiero II of Syracuse, carved this architectural masterpiece from the hillside. It was used as a theater with the orchestra at the center and a seating capacity of 5000 spectators. The horseshoe-shaped venue had a diameter of 358 feet, and originally had nine sections with eight rows of seats.
Then in the second century AD the Romans rebuilt the theater and changed its appearance drastically, adapting it to be used for gladiators fights and sporting shows using wild animals.
The Romans enlarged the stage and added a partial roof (now destroyed). The Greek theater is without question the most visited sight in Taormina with splendid views toward the Calabrian coast and the spectacular view of Mout Etna.
With a diameter of 120 meters (390 ft.), this theatre is the second largest of its kind in Sicily after the on in Syracuse.
It is frequently used for operatic and theatrical performances and for concerts.
The greater part of the original seats have disappeared, but the wall which surrounded the tiered semicircular seating space is preserved.
Here you can really see the brick walls that are preserved.
The world famous view of Mount Etna and the sea beyond the theatre is breathtaking.
Check out the view of the coast line too... Pretty amazing!
Originally used to stage gladiator shows, with a seating area of up to 10,000, the Greek theater is now home to events ranging from fashion shows and concerts to the prestigious Taormina Film Festival.
Remains of six
column bases and four Corinthian columns that were raised after 1860.
The greek-Roman theater is divided into
three parts: the scene, the orchestra and the auditorium.
The is the scene, which is in front of the auditorium and is the place where the actors performed.
The theater still functions as a very active entertainment venue. Every summer Taormina hosts the Taormina Arte, of music and dance, as well as an annual film festival. Many of the performances occur inside Teatro Greco, as the acoustics are exceptional, and even today, you can hear a stage whisper in the last rows.
View of the theater with the mountains in the backdrop.
As we climbed up the theater, this the back side over looking the sea.
Next...Taormina Historic center/Dinner