Choosing Taormina means choosing Art and the History of the island, Sicily, all concentrated in the few square kilometres of the historic centre. With each small stone of its numerous archaeological sites spread all over the island, Sicily tells the tales of people and mythological heroes. Taormina, itself concentrates all its treasures in the few square kilometres of its town centre and tells its own tale.
Choosing our Hotel, the Vello d’Oro, means being in a very central position and in a perfect place of departure for walks and discovery tours.
From the hotel you can reach Corso Umberto, pedestrian area, by using the second exit towards Piazza Varò (use the elevator and go to the first floor). Only a short distance away from the hotel you will find some of the most interesting Archaeological Sites of Taormina, such as the Teatro Greco, Le Naumachie and the Odeon, Badia Vecchia, the Antiquarium, Palazzo Corvaja and Palazzo Duca di Santo Stefano. A good stroll also lets you discover historical, artistic and cultural interests. Splendid views from various areas allows you admire the beaches, Mount Etna and the Bay of Naxos below.
Outside the hotel there’s the Torre dell’orologio (Clocktower), part of the old Muro Romano (Roman Wall) that fortified the ancient city. Inside the walls there’s the monumental Teatro Greco (see painting entitled Le rovine del teatro greco di Taormina (The ruins of the teatro greco in Taormina); oil on canvas, 302 x 570 cm, 1904-1905, Tivadar Csontváry Kosztka, Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest), the Naumachie, the Odeon, the buildings of great political powers, Palazzo Corvaja, and the ones that belonged to the local aristocracy of the time, Palazzo Santo Stefano and one right next to the other the church of San Pancrazio, the patron saint, on the Greek foundation of the great Tempio di Giove (Temple of Jupiter).
The patron saint is celebrated in June along with St. Peter and there is great festivity in the town. In a sort of competition the two great Vare, or wagons, are pulled by the worshippers all over town, through alleyways and squares, from the church of one saint to the church of the other saint. For some this festivity is very picturesque, whilst for others it is very moving and exciting. Right outside the walls lies the Cattedrale (the Cathedral), a medieval, austere church dedicated to San Nicola di Bari *(Today the saint is the patron of sailors, fishermen, chemists (or pharmacists), perfume makers, barrel makers, children, young maidens, scholars, lawyers and victims of legal injustices.
He is also the patron of merchants and shop owners and for this reason his effigy is on Bari's Chamber of Commerce coat of arms); the church has a powerful battlement that dominates the entire square and a beautiful fountain with 3 pools. The “Centauressa”, a minotaur, symbol and basis of the origins of Taormina’s name (Tauromenium – the walls with a bull’s strength located on the mountain that bears the same name), tops the fountain.
Enjoy Nature, the views, the sea, Mount Etna (the great volcano) by day and the town by night (with its bars, restaurants, night clubs and much more). Below you will find a few useful tips and indications. If you want you can even rent a bicycle, but renting a little Vespa wouldn’t be bad at all.