The hotel we are staying in, the San Domenic Palace, is housed in a 14th century monastery. It’s a beautiful place but it is a bit like staying over night in a museum. Not only is it architecturally interesting it is also littered with period furniture, some of which is roped off just like in a National Trust property. Sitting in the room you can hear echos of voices in the long corridor outside the doors like ghosts of previous occupants. Of course 14th century monks didn’t have to worry about charging their iPads and this is reflected in both the number and location of sockets in our room. There is a total of three sockets two of which are inaccessible and the third is in that most suitable of places for a socket – the bathroom! I’m having to draw up a rota to ensure everything gets fair charging time!
After breakfast we wandered into Taormina town. Despite it being late September it is still pretty busy with plenty of coach tours spilling their guests into the narrow streets. The town has one main street along which are all the shops but running off this are numerious other smaller side alleys down which few people venture. This is a shame as there are some quieter restaurants there and they have a real Italian charm.
The main tourist site in Taormina is the Greek theatre which is still used today. It has a mixture of the original stone seating and some modern, equally uncomfortable looking, wooden replacements. This seating looks down onto the stage with the fantastic vista of Mount Etna behind it. At least that is what we would have seen if the volcano wasn’t shrouded in cloud today.
Next we took the cable car down to the beach area below the town, which was a complete disappointment, much better viewed from a distance than up close. After stopping for a Lemon Soda and a quick look at the sea we didn’t linger in Messina and returned in the cable car.
Back at the top we lunched before making our way to the municipal gardens. Almost every major city we visit seems to have public gardens of some description and almost without fail these are beautiful and tranquil places to be. The public gardens in Taormina were no exception and had a series of small buildings which were a beautiful addition.
Tomorrow we get up close and personal with Etna.