Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and is rich in history and culture. Its strategic location made it a prize for invasions and domination from the Greeks, Normans, Arabs and Byzantines. This rich history is reflected in its diverse architecture, cuisine and ancient ruins. Nature has also shaped this Italian island. Mount Etna, Europe’s highest active volcano, created soaring mountains and cliffs that define Sicily’s rugged landscape and merge with the azure blue of the Mediterranean Sea down below.
There are many towns in Sicily worth exploring, but on our first trip to this region of Italy, we decided to head to Taormina. The town of Taormina is a popular summer destination located on the east coast of Italy and spectacularly perched on the side of a mountain. We spent our day strolling along Corso Umberto I, the town’s main street. Head to Piazza IX Aprile to enjoy panoramic views from one of the town’s largest squares. From here, you will have vistas of the coast and the San Giorgio and San Guiseppe churches. Walk further down Corso Umberto I and you will come to the Greek Theater. The theater is of Greek origin, but was renovated and extended by the Romans. Today, it is the second largest theater in Sicily.
Let’s not forget about the food! There are a plethora of restaurants and cafés that line Corso Umberto I. Try local dishes like Sicilian pizza topped with tomato, mozzarella, eggplant and baked ricotta. Another good option is arancini, which are stuffed rice balls coated with bread crumbs and then deep fried. Of course, there are also plenty of gelato shops in Taormina to sample sweet desserts. Tip: the Sicilians were the first ones to create Málaga gelato, similar to rum raisin. It’s absolutely delicious and worth trying!