Taormina and Cefalù, at Last!

Cefalù from La Rocca (photo by our daughter)

Cefalù from La Rocca (photo by our daughter)

When I first visited Sicilia in November 2011, I wasn’t able to see Taormina or Cefalù. I missed Taormina because I could no longer walk (I had hip-replacement surgery three months later), and I missed the Duomo in Cefalù because of traffic jams in Palermo and the slowest possible service at the restaurant in which we had lunch. At the end of October we visited both of these lovely towns with our daughter and a friend of hers, and I’m so glad that I got another chance to see them!

Taormina

Taormina

Perched on a cliff above the Ionian Sea and overlooking Mount Etna, medieval Taormina boasts a killer view and is the most popular resort town in Sicilia. Our daughter deemed it the cleanest town she’d ever seen. Taormina’s most popular site is the Teatro Greco, which was built by the Greeks in the 3rd century BC and rebuilt by the Romans in the 2nd century AD. The theater is still used for the performing arts, and the views of Mt. Etna, the sea, and Taormina below are spectacular! We stayed in the Hotel Villa Carlotta, which was wonderful, and the morning breakfasts there were some of the best I’ve eaten. We enjoyed sitting on a terrace on Taormina’s main square, drinking rosé wine, eating snacks, and watching the sun set over Mount Etna. We ate great food, especially at Trattoria da Nino, and we had good weather. We had a great time!

Christ Pantocrator in the Duomo in Cefalù

Christ Pantocrator in the Duomo in Cefalù

The next day we drove to Cefalù, another popular resort town. Located on the north coast of Sicilia, beautiful Cefalù has a glorious beach and a Norman cathedral that dwarfs everything in the town except La Rocca, a rocky crag towering over Cefalù. Unlike Taormina, Cefalù is a working fishing village and doesn’t depend only upon tourists for its livelihood. Our guidebook in November 2011 said that the apse of the Duomo in Cefalù, which was begun in 1131 AD, contained some of the most brilliant Byzantine-Norman mosaics in the world. The apse is truly beautiful, but if you are pressed for time in Sicilia, I liked the mosaics in the Duomo in Monreale (just outside Palermo) or in the Cappella Palatina (Palatine Chapel) in the Norman Palace in Palermo more than I did those in Cefalù. While our daughter and her friend climbed La Rocca, Michael and I strolled through the town. We ended our visit at a pizzeria on the beach and then headed to the Palermo airport for our flight home.

Ciao!

P.S., This post is for Kate McKenna, with whom I toured Sicily in 2011. I’m ready to return to Sicily any time, Kate!

Taormina - Duomo

Taormina – Duomo

Taormina - building near Piazza del Duomo

Taormina – building near Piazza del Duomo

Taormina - Teatro Greco with the town and Mount Etna beyond

Taormina – Teatro Greco with the town and Mount Etna beyond

Taormina - Teatro Greco

Taormina – Teatro Greco

Taormina - Teatro Greco stage

Taormina – Teatro Greco stage

Taormina - ceramic shop

Taormina – ceramic shop

Taormina

Taormina

Taormina - church on the main piazza

Taormina – church on the main piazza

Cefalù - La Rocca on the right

Cefalù – La Rocca on the right

Cefalù - marzipan

Cefalù – marzipan

Cefalù - the Duomo

Cefalù – the Duomo

Cefalù - side wall of the apse in the Duomo

Cefalù – side wall of the apse in the Duomo

Cefalù - medieval wash area (used as a laundry)

Cefalù – medieval wash area (used as a laundry)

Cefalù beach

Cefalù beach

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2 Responses to Taormina and Cefalù, at Last!

  1. Kate McKenna says:

    I loved your post on Taormina and Cefalu and especially loved your p.s. I was just thinking I’d love to go back to Sicily and see what I missed the first time plus see other things again but was thinking I would have to go alone. Then I read your p.s. We will definitely have to go back together! It was great to talk to you today. I gave Jackie your greetings and she sent hers back to you!

    Sent from my iPod

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