Experiencing a different port each day is what a cruise is all about. Day one of the Celebrity Cruises on the Reflection from Rome to the Greek Islands brought us to Sicily. Landing in Messina our adventure took us to the charming town of Taormina.
This hillside town that overlooks the Mediterranean Sea draws you in with its eclectic old world structures. Looking past every corner down each nook and cranny one finds the European character of this village. Although the town is a little touristy with too many shops, if one looks beyond to the architecture, one can see the quaint charm that is so inherent to all European villages especially those that line the coast. Seeing the wrought-iron balconies adorned with luscious plantings of Bougainvillea and more adds to the beauty of Taormina.
One must visit the ancient Greek Theater. This marvelous relic is thought to date back to the 3rd century BC and maybe one of the largest theaters in the area. Built atop a hill the theater affords the best view of the coast of Sicily. The view is magnificent as you gaze out onto the sea and glimpse the coastline in either direction.
From the Ancient Theater it is a short walk to the Municipal Gardens. Originally the private garden of the English aristocrat Florence Trevelyan, the property was donated to the town of Taormina in 1920. Florence’s love of botany is quite evident in the gardens. It is a very tranquil setting where one can sit and read a book or just meditate on your journeys.
Although somewhat touristy there are a plethora of shops selling everything from pottery to clothing. There is even a shop that makes sandals right on the spot. One must try the Granita; a dessert dish that is made of sugar water and flavorings is only available in Sicily. It is a cross between sorbet and Italian ices but a little courser in texture. The Almond Granita was especially good.
If you have never been to Sicily, Taormina is a good place to start your Sicilian journey.
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