It is worth strolling through some of the steep back streets of Taormina, both to avoid the hordes of summer tourists and to enjoy alluring, quiet courtyards, cool nooks and the occasional cafè. You will find some of the best ristoranti and trattorie here too. Occasionally the alleyways open out to give great views out over the coast and the steep slopes of Monte Tauro. Wonderful little gardens, little more than collections of terracotta pots, invite you to linger.
Moving on to Piazza IX Aprile, you will find the square lined with two churches, the austere Sant’Agostino and the rococo San Guiseppe, and some trendy cafés. The piazza, which has exceptional views over the coast and towards Mount Etna, is the meeting place for Taormina’s chic set. Street artists are found here, often painting the Porta di Mezzo, a clock tower that marks the beginning of the town’s medieval quarter.
Taormina’s gastronomic delights may be one attraction, but what really brought people to Monte Tauro was theatre. The Greeks built a theatre on the mountain overlooking the sea. The elements of sky, sea and fire were important backdrops in Greek theatre and Monte Tauro was ideally placed to combine all three.