Exploring Taormina, Sicily!

Gang:

After five days hiking with the stellar Backroads crew through Sicily–including an amazing journey up Mt. Etna the day before the active volcano erupted in a major way!–it was time for me and John to branch out on our own for Madcap adventures in the southern climes of the island. During the Backroads portion of our trip, we met so many wonderful folks and truly enjoyed the active vacation aspect for which the company is known. But we were excited to set our own agenda for the rest of the trip (ie, leisurely, boozy lunches!).

When the Backroads tour ended, we were in Taormina, the glamorous, postcard-perfect town that hugs dramatic cliffs on the east side of the island. Taormina is perhaps the most “jet set” of all Sicilian villages and has long been frequented by the who’s who–from Liz Taylor and Richard Burton to today’s Hollywood A-listers. Taormia is built around a main, pedestrian-friendly thoroughfare with lots of alleys that boasts heaps of exciting shops and eateries and attracts heaps of visitors.

Four nights in Taormina were perfect, and John and I really started to feel like we had fallen into a “local” vibe and would greet shopkeepers and restaurateurs.

Here, a few images from our Taormina escapade…

John and I stayed at the luxe, very expensive Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea hotel, situated on the beach far below Taormina and accessible to the village high above either by shuttle or cable car. The Villa had amazing views and gardens, but it seemed to be lacking a soul and a spirit. And when an iced tea is $13, a “soul” really is necessary. More on this hotel later. I wasn’t smitten…

A wonderful, atmospheric fountain in Taormina’s public gardens. John and I loved the urns scattered about the gardens and the lush, romantic “abandon”.

Sunrise in Taormina! Magical…

A stunning walled, jasmine-scented patio that John and I almost walked past and that stopped us in our tracks. The view! The ironwork! The incredible heady scent! Taormina has so many magical “moments” that are almost postcards come to life.

The charming alleys that empty off Taormina’s bustling main drag, the pedestrian-friendly, shopping-centric Corso Umberto, are packed with wonderful eateries that spill onto the sidewalk and into the streets. We frequented an especially charming spot called the Bistrot du Monde that offered a menu that wasn’t just the typical run-of-the-mill pasta dishes but rather a more thoughtful, imaginative spin to local specialties. The Bistrot was so good that we lunched there three times and marveled at the daily specials.

John and I are mad for the scent of oranges and lemons, and we stocked up on this amazing, beautifully priced cologne that we discovered in a local pharmacy. We have received so many compliments on how we smell back in the States. The fragrance is like a mini vacation in a bottle, and how about the amazing graphics that wrap the packaging. We are suckers for a great font treatment!

A lovely pasta dish at Bistrot du Monde lavished with sardines and breadcrumbs. Amazing and perfectly al dente. Paired with a glass (well, maybe two!) of rosé wine on a clear, blue-sky day, and the afternoon was heaven.

A Hollywood-worthy view onto the sea from Taormina in a garden overflowing with fragrant lemons and hyper-pink bougainvillea. The vistas in Taormina really are otherworldly.

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