Fun & Weird

A Day in Taormina, Sicily

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I had originally planned to visit ruins in Siracusa on my second day in Sicily, but lost my nerve after thinking navigating solo through the traffic and reading about rental car damage and theft. I’d done so well the day before on my Mt Etna wine tasting, but that was due to Valerie’s encouragement and I wasn’t looking forward to the stress of driving alone.

Zash Country Boutique Hotel Sicily Infinity Pool Etna view

So after lingering by Zash’s pool in the sunshine, I finally packed up and decided that laid back Taormina would be a better choice. All I wanted to do was sit somewhere in the sun and actually relax and Taormina had some famous gardens overlooking the sea that sounded fantastic.

seaside road to TaorminaUnfortunately I hadn’t accounted for the hairpin hill side turns and narrow sea-side streets it took to get there. Turns so tight my GPS was telling me to do a U-Turn as soon as possible. At one point I turned right 3 feet too soon and took a detour into a hospital parking lot much to the amusement of the attendant.

Hairpin turns on road to Taormina parking garage

By the time I got to the parking garage I was twitching and had to sit for about 10 minutes to calm down. Taormina is so narrow and populated that all visitors (except residents and hotel guests) must park in one of two parking lots and walk into town. I had chosen the one with the least walking, but scariest hills apparently.

Somewhat recovered, I strolled down the scenic Corso Umberto pedestrian walk, idly looking at high end store and kitschy souvenir shops alike til I made it to the Teatro Greco, which you may have already guessed, was the amphitheater from 700 BC.

Taormina Corso Umberto shops

Taormina Duomo

Taormina Corso Umberto corner

It offered amazing, almost 360 views of the town and sea and a good chance to try out my selfie stick.

Awkward but non-selfie

Taormina Sicily View from Teatro Greco

But when I found myself critically comparing the amphitheater to the coliseum in Rome, I realized I was more tired than I thought and decided to head to the gardens.Taormina Sicily Teatro Greco

Villa Comunale was barely a 10 minute walk and just as quirky as all the reviews had promised. Donated to the city by the eccentric Lady Trevelyan, it boasted entertaining follies in addition to plenty of scenic benches.

Taormina Sicily Villa Comunale garden structures

I had read criticisms of the parrots kept caged there, but all I saw was an empty enclosure.

 

I settled on a bench and read for an hour finally beginning to relax (and even break a sweat) in the warm November sunshine. A good sign it was time to eat. The highly ranked (on Trip Advisor) Delmon was closed, but two doors down was another restaurant, Al Giardino, proclaiming its TripAdvisor awards, so I decided to risk it.

Taormina Sicily Ristorante Al Giardino wine

Instead of the tourist trap I expected, I found excellent food and friendly service. Full to bursting I headed back to the garden for an hour to take in the coastline before heading back to the car.Taormina Sicily Keri Villa Comunale Gardens

The parking garage was having issues – the automatic payment machine was broken and the gate unmanned, but they finally got a work around in place. Navigating the narrow confines of the exit ramp destroyed my nerves yet again, so it was rather an anxious drive back to the airport.

More from this trip:

JFK Flagship Lounge
American Airlines Economy JFK-MXP
Diplomatic Suite at the Sheraton Malpensa Airport
Getting from Malpensa to Linate Airport
Alitalia Economy LIN-CTA
You Get What You Pay for at the Sheraton Catania
Wine Tasting on Mount Etna
Charming Stay at Zash Country Boutique Hotel

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Living for the little (and big things) that make life so fun, especially mistake deals and crazy last minute weekend mileage runs across the world. www.twitter.com/klatravel

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