is on Sicily’s eastern coast, overlooking the turquoise
Ionian Sea. The beautiful town is built right into a cliff,
and every year thousands of tourists descend upon the
otherwise sleepy village to revel in the perfect weather and
The town’s relaxed image belies a
turbulent past, when Sicily passed through more hands than a
hot potato. In succession, the Greeks, Romans, Vandals, Arabs,
Normans, Swabians, and Bourbons have all controlled Sicily
since it was first settled by the Phoenicians over two
thousand years ago.
Looming ominously beyond Taormina’s fun
loving landscape is Mt. Etna, Europe’s largest active
volcano. Active may be an understatement, as the volcano
erupted over sixty times in just six months in early 2000.
Some of Mt. Etna’s eruptions have sent pillars of ash two
miles into the sky, temporarily blocking the sun like a solar
eclipse. A day trip to Mt. Etna’s base is always
fascinating. It isn’t often that you get so close to
nature’s sheer power. But remember to check with the local
tourist office before heading too close.
The city of Taormina itself doesn’t spend
too much time agonizing over Mt. Etna. It’s too busy
enjoying its gorgeous beaches, its myriad of dining options,
and its vibrant nightlife to notice. You will find it easy to
let your cares drift away into the Ionian Sea, as you fall
into Taormina’s seductive trance.