Taormina has three city gates. The two most important ones are the Porta Messina and the Porta Catania. They are located on both sides of the main street of the city, Corso Umberto I. The third one, halfway down this street, is the Torre dell’Orologio, or Porta di Mezzo.
City gates Taormina
The Porta Catania is part of the second city wall that was built around Taormina. It marks the south side of Corso Umberto I. It was built in 1440. The year is indicated by a notch in the aedicule in the centre of the arch. The coat of arms is that of the House of Aragon.
The Porta Catania is also called Porta del Tocco. In Norman times, the public assemblies were held in the little square next to the gate. This used to take place at one o’clock in the afternoon, the “ora del tocco”.
De Porta Messina is de noordelijke ingang tot het historische centrum van de stad en tot de Corso Umberto I. Samen met de Porta Catania maakte de poort deel uit van de Arabische verdedigingswerken van Taormina.
The gate was inaugurated in 1808 by King Ferdinand IV of Bourbon in his own honour. A sign above the gate in fact indicates that the original name was Porta Ferdinandea..
Porta di Mezzo
The third city gate is the Porta di Mezzo, which, as its name indicates, is located between the other two gates. Since the clock was added it has been known under the name Torre dell’Orologio, however.