Taormina © Luca Volpi
Sicily's most famous holiday resort town, Taormina, was the 19th-century haunt of British aristocracy and the place chosen by D H Lawrence to write his erotic novel, Lady Chatterley's Lover. The town boasts what is surely the most photographed view in Sicily, across the beautiful ancient Greek amphitheatre to the sea with Mount Etna in the background. Inhabited since before 734 BC, when the Greeks arrived on the Sicilian coast, Taormina is an ancient town.
Taormina today remains Sicily's favourite holiday destination with its winding medieval streets and tiny passages hiding some great restaurants, cafes and ice-cream parlours, some hidden in secluded gardens and others in pleasant squares or on terraces with sea views. It is a great place to shop, too, with thousands of boutiques selling crafts, fashion, jewellery, ceramics, mosaics and porcelain dolls. A popular beach is at Giardini-Naxos, a few miles away, and a funicular connects the old town to the coastal area of Mazzaro below. The stone walls of the old city, situated on a plateau, enclose some fascinating archaeological monuments and medieval palaces, including the Palazzo Santo Stefano. Popular for many decades, as a holiday destination Taormina still has it all: stunning surroundings, lovely nearby beaches, medieval charm, great shops and restaurants, and interesting archaeological remains.