The Greek Theater is Taormina‘s most famous and best-preserved monument. It is the second largest theater in Sicily after the one in Syracuse. Accompanying the theater is a small archaeological museum called the Antiquarium. The Teatro Greco-Roman has been used for many years for concerts and other events.
Greek Theater Taormina
Address, opening hours and ticket price
Address: Via del Teatro Greco, 1, 98039 Taormina. Telephone: 094223220. Admission times: From 09:00 to one hour before sunset. Entrance fee: 10 Euro (discount: 5 Euro).
History and description
When the Greek Theater was built, the view was clearly taken into account. The panorama offers a view of the Ionian Sea, with the volcano Etna in the background.
The theater was probably built by Ierone II, a tyrant from the 3rd century B.C. The name of his wife, Philistide, has been carved into several of the theater’s steps.
From the Greek period there are still some pieces of wall with square stones under the cavea and some inscriptions on the limestone seats of the cavea itself. The basis of a small temple on the belvedere also dates from this period.
In the 2nd century AD, so in Roman times, the theatre was completely reconstructed.
The cavea was dug into the hill side. It has a diameter of 109 meters and is divided into nine sections. At the top of the steps, there is a double portico covered with a vault. In the walls of this portico there are 36 alcoves, that probably used to contain statues.
In Roman times, the orchestra of the theater was turned into an arena. To achieve this, the lower rows were transformed into a vaulted corridor. Gladiators fought each other and there were also fights between wild animals. The orchestra has a diameter of 35 meters.
There are three large openings in the stage. These are flanked by columns and niches, the result of a 19th century reconstruction by the architect Francesco Saverio Cavallari.
The audience entered through two large vaulted rooms (one on the east and one on the west side).
At some point in the Middle Ages the two halls were transformed and used as private residences.
The Antiquarium is the small archaeological museum inside the Greek Theater. It exhibits objects that were found over the years in the area around Taormina. Previously, these were on display in the Archaeological Museum of Syracuse.