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Taormina is an Italian town in the province of Messina, less than an hour's drive from both Messina and Catania. Built on a rocky promontory about 200 meters high, it offers a breathtaking view of the Mediterranean Sea and Mount Etna. Considered as one of the jewels of Sicily, this place is also steeped in history.
Giardini-Naxos is a town near Taornima. Mostly famous for its beautiful beaches, this city also has historic monuments to see.
The historicity of this charming town is visible from the Ancient Theater of Taormina, a Greek-Roman theater of the third century BC in excellent condition, which offers a wonderful view of Mount Etna and the sea, being located in the upper part of the city. With a diameter of 109 meters, it could accommodate more than five thousand people. Its foundations are Greek, but the brick architecture shows that most of the building dates back to Roman times.
Another thing to see in Taormina is the historic center, clinging to the eastern flank of Etna and perched on a natural terrace.
Starting from Corso Umberto, the main street, you reach Piazza IX Aprile, a beautiful panoramic square overlooking the bay. This is overlooked by the Church of San Giuseppe, a characteristic baroque style church, which further enriches the beauty of the square. Continuing from Corso Umberto, you reach the Cathedral of Taormina, an ancient medieval church, rich in history.
Also interesting is a visit to the church of the Madonna della Rocca, a characteristic church, reachable from Salita Castello, from where it will be possible to see a splendid view of the sea.
If the visit to the historic center has been tiring, especially in summer, it is possible to relax in the municipal villa, the public garden of the city. Among characteristic buildings surrounded by greenery and spaces of pure relaxation, from this villa you can also have pleasant views of the sea.
Alternatively, descending from the promontory, after about twenty minutes on foot, you can reach the sea. A few steps from the beach, connected to the mainland by stones and pebbles, is Isola Bella, which houses a naturalistic museum.
The small city center of Giardini-Naxos is located just south of Taormina, in a small bay protected by green hills that descend towards the sea which are overlooked by its magnificent beaches. Giardini-Naxos boasts one of the most beautiful stretches of sand in the entire Ionian Sea, including the wide beach of Recanati, popular with those looking for discos and night clubs. For those looking for fine golden sand and lush vegetation, the perfect choice is Schisò beach, while Porticciolo Saia beach is characterized by small bays bordered by lava rocks.
Although it extends above all along the sea and lacks an important historical center, Giardini-Naxos boasts an archaeological complex, which includes the Castle of Schisò, from the Middle Ages. The remains of the ancient city of Naxos are found in Capo Schisò: the excavations have brought to light a lot of interesting information on what the locality was at the time of the 5th century BC. C.
Another seaside and tourist resort near Taormina is Letojanni, a pretty village that preserves interesting architectural structures to see.
If the visit of these villages was not enough, located about half an hour by car to the west, there are the Alcaltara Gorges, chasms of volcanic origin, about 25 meters deep and between two and four meters wide. These geological constitutions are natural rarities.
South of the gorges extends the Etna Park, the largest volcano in Europe and one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Its eruptions occur both at the top, where currently there are four craters, and from the sides, up to heights of a few hundred meters above the sea level.