And here it is. Many long months after the actual occurrence, I am finally writing about the final stop on our grand Italian adventure, although not our grand European adventure. This stop is Taormina, on the east coast of Sicily, a stone’s throw away from Mount Etna. It is a very, very old place. It was originally settled by the greeks who built a giant amphitheatre on top of a mountain in the most scenic of all places, with a direct view of the smouldering Mount Etna besides the sea. The Romans came later and gave it a facelift, and this is the version that still exists today in surprisingly good form.
The town of Taormina itself also has a very rich culture with incredible ceramics everywhere – we all wanted to buy a ceramic head that is used as a plant pot. I still think Mum & Dad should have. There is excellent food here too. So many restaurants. Unfortunately, there are also so many people. So. Many. People. The cruise ships stop off at Catania just down the road and the tiny medieval streets are filled with tourists from all over the world, and it does get quite overwhelming, especially in the height of Italian summer in August.
The beaches around the coast are amazing, even if they are rocky. Pity again about the crowds. On top of the mountain is an abandoned ancient Saracen castle as well, which we tried to get into after climbing all the way up there only to realise that it was closed! This place (and Sicily in general) really is where all of history intersects – Greek, Roman, Moorish, Italian.
Be warned, this post is a long one, but it is worth it. Lots of photos ahead.
Next stop: MADRID, ESPAÑA!