Finally arrived in a moist Taormina at dusk after our brief flight to Catania from Napoli. Survived our first jaunt on Italian roads (and autostrada!) with Nic at the wheel. Dumped our bags in our little B&B and set out – wandering the medieval streets at night after rain was magical and romantic. Popped into a bar that was more for locals than tourists (judging from the reasonable prices and the great food!) and ate up – very interesting native salad and pizza (the best pizza we’ve had in Italy). Spent the evening just strolling around soaking up the atmosphere – one highlight was following the sound of the music from Life is Beautiful and discovering a huge piazza and live piano music in an outdoor café.
The next day we spent thoroughly exploring the town. It had the rugged coastline of Capri but the main street was less ‘Rodeo Drive-ish’ – although there was no shortage of designer shops, they were just a little cuter. In fact all of the shops along the main drag were food, clothing, jewellery or souvenir places. Perfect for window shopping. Tried the most amazing pistachio topped nougat. Delish!
One of the first things we saw that day was the Teatro Grecco – the ancient Greek Theatre. Where it’s huge stage wall once stood, there is now a magnificent view across the bay and the town and the looming Mt Etna. They still have concerts there, but only in summer – very disappointed that we missed out (the workmen were putting together a scaffold stage and seating for the coming summer season).
Over lunch in a little place called Pizzeria Shelter we had the biggest pizzas ever! They hung over the edge of the gigantic platters they were served on and, since we had ordered one each, we were a tad full afterwards! Met a great New Zealand couple living in London (hi Mel and Cam!) and had a fabulous chat over lunch. Ran into them again in the evening and we all compared notes on Canon cameras (and picked their brains about those amazing PDA’s with GPS software – gotta get us one of those – it would lower stress levels when trying to navigate without a map!).
Walked all the way down the huge hillside to the road along the coast (Taormina clings to the side of a mountain). Decided not to walk back up and caught the funicular instead. Got some ice-cream and changed our mind about hills and walked up the mountain above Taormina to a little church (where we saw a couple getting married – one of 3 weddings we saw that day) and even further above that to some ruins. We persevered longer than others to get to these ruins only to discover our way barred by a locked gate. Bugger! Still had a pretty damned magnificent view of everything!
Were too full from our pizza lunch for any dinner, so just visited another cheap bar filled with locals for an aperitif and some free nibbles before our final stroll and photoshoot of the town. Nic then watched the Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston film Along Came Polly…dubbed in Italian (very funny!!) while John put his photos on the laptop.