Cat Rating – Scale of 1 to 5
We love all of Italy – we’ve yet to find a city we wouldn’t enjoy coming back to again and again, and Taormina Italy was no exception. We visited in September on a cruise ship shore excursion, and the weather was absolutely perfect like it usually is in the Mediterranean (especially in September when the heat has died down a bit). The cruise ships dock in Messina Italy, a medium size city, though the third largest on the island of Sicily, and of course located conveniently close to the mainland boot of Italy. For those not limited to one day, the ferry ride to the mainland of Italy takes just 25 minutes to the mainland through the Strait of Messina. The port itself is uninspiring as most ports are, but it does place you in the middle of the city and close to the Messina attractions like the gothic and quite picturesque, Messina Cathedral.
Immediately we were in love with Taormina. When you think of quaint, picturesque Italian resort towns, this is what you ideally expect. Narrow, medieval streets filled with colorful shops, small piazzas filled with cafes, bakeries selling fresh cannoli (the famous dessert of Sicily), and flower filled balconies rising above the alleys and streets. You know you’re in Europe, and specifically, you know you’re in the Mediterranean!
Corso Umberto and Piazza Aprile
Ancient Greek Theatre
Corso Umberto. We picked up some cannolis at the orange colored shop
We sat down in the patio close to the Corso since all the view tables were taken, but luckily within minutes a table at the sea opened up and we snapped it up quickly. We were so glad we did! As we sat and marveled at the blue Mediterranean sea and watched the boats go up and down the harbor, we made pigs of ourselves and gorged on piazza, caprese, olives, pasta, breadsticks, and of course several refreshing local Messina beers . Not an inexpensive meal, but worth every Euro. The service was fantastic, the ambience was perfect, the view was spectacular, the food was tasty, and we fell in love with Taormina even more.
View from our table at Wunderbar Caffe
The average visitor to Taormina is probably not going to be too lucky in their cat photo safari unless they get off the main Corso Umberto. The good news is that there are dozens of narrow, steep alleys just waiting to be discovered. Within just a few hundred feet of the main gate, we hit the jackpot and got the quintessential Italy/cat photo of all time, taken just steps from the main gate and up a steep staircase. You can’t go wrong with a vintage red Fiat and two beautiful cats on a picturesque Italian street.
Italian cats and cars
All in all, a beautiful day in Sicily and we will be back!
DO try to take photos that capture the essence of this amazing city, but DON’T take so many that your memory of the visit is primarily through the eyes of your camera.
DO stop by a bakery and pick up a famous, fresh Sicilian cannoli, but DON’T leave one in your purse and then eat it the next day (doesn’t travel well, too fresh).
DO walk the entire Corso Umberto. The views at the main Piazza Aprile offer amazing sea and Mt Etna views, but if you head down the Corso you’re rewarded with a completely different coastline, including Isola Bella, a picturesque island just off the coast.