Although Taormina only has around ten thousand inhabitants, the city is one of Sicily’s most famous attractions. This is due to its natural beauty, the blue sea and the gorgeous palaces and other buildings, including Greek and Roman ruins. Highlights include the cathedral, the Greco-Roman theatre and the Palazzo Corvaja. Taormina is located in the south-eastern part of the province of Messina.
Taormina travel guide
Region: Sicily. Province: Messina. Postcode: 98039. Area code: 0942. Town hall: Corso Umberto I, 219 (tel. +39 09426101). The town’s tourist office is in Piazza Santa Caterina (tel. 094223243).
Tourist tax Taormina
As in many cities in Italy, tourists pay a tourist tax in Taormina. The amount depends on the type of accommodation you sleep in. In a 5-star hotel it is 5 Euros per person per night, in a 4-star hotel it is 3.50 Euros, in a 3-star hotel 2 Euros, in a 2-star hotel 1.50 and everywhere else 1 Euro. Children up to 12 years of age do not pay tourist tax. The Imposta di Soggiorno is only paid for the first 10 nights.
The Corso Umberto I is Taormina’s main street. It is named after King Umberto I, who was on the throne from 1878 to 1900. It is bordered on the north by the Porta Messina and on the south by the Porta Catania. Today, the street is also characterized by its many shops.
The most famous tourist attraction of Taormina is the Greek Roman Theater (Teatro Greco Romano).
The Piazza Duomo was the favourite square of famous artists such as Oscar Wilde, Guy de Maupassant, Richard Wagner and Johannes Brahms. The most striking monuments in this square are the Cathedral, the Palazzo del Comune and the beautiful central fountain.
Another important square is Piazza IV Aprile, which is lined with cafes and offers a magnificent view of Mount Etna, the Bay of Naxos and the ruins of the city’s ancient theater, among others. The most impressive building in this square is the Torre dell’Orologio.
A third interesting square is the Piazza San Domenico de Guzmàn, where six of the city’s streets come together. This street, lined by two rows of trees, gets its name from the former Dominican convent, now the Grand Hotel San Domenico. The German photographer Wilhelm van Gloeden (1856-1931) used to have his studio in the square. He was expecially famous for his pictures of, mostly naked, young boys and men, in settings that were meant to refer to Greek antiquity.
The best known public building in Taormina is the Palazzo Corvaja. The Palazzo Ciampoli was the first mansion built outside the original city walls.
By car/public transport
By car: Both the A18 motorway and the SS114 connect the city to Messina in the north and Catania in the south. Those wishing to travel to Palermo can either drive inland (first down to Catania and then take the A19 towards Enna and then the north coast of the island), or take the SS185 and then the SS113 along the north coast.
Public transport: The city’s train station is called Taormina-Giardini. It is on the Messina-Catania line.
Taormina, province of Messina