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Taormina (ME)

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Taormina (Messina Province) is 52 km from Messina, alt. 204 m, on a rocky plateau on the slopes of Monte Tauro, dominating the Ionian coast from Capo Sant'Andrea to Capo Taormina, area 13.2 sq km, pop. 10,255, post-code 98039, tel. 0942. Economy: mainly tourism.

History: When nearby Naxos was destroyed by Dionysius, the tyrant of Siracusa, in 358 BC, a group of survivors founded the Greek city called Tauromenion; the acropolis was at the summit of Monte Tauro and the agora where Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II is situated today. The town expanded considerably in Roman times, but in the last decade of the 1st century BC Octavian punished its inhabitants for helping Sextus Pompey, deporting them and reducing the town to the level of a colony. Taormina declined until the Byzantines reversed its fortunes when they chose it as the capital of Eastern Sicily. The Arabs destroyed it twice, in 902 and 962, after which they partially rebuilt it. Under the Norman domination the town spread to the area known as the Borgo, and it developed further in the 13-15th centuries.

Taormina has developed even more in the last century, becoming an internationally renowned tourist resort.

Of interest is the Greek Theater, Palazzo Corvaja (seat of the first Sicilian parliament in 1411), the Roman Odeum, the Porta Messina (north gate), the Porta Catania (west gate), the Palazzo dei Duchi di Santo Stefano (13th century, built over an Arab structure, and now the seat of the Giuseppe Mazzullo Foundation with a permanent exhibit of his sculptures), the Naumachie (a Roman terrace with the tank for the aqueduct of the time), the Palazzo Ciampoli (15th century), the Porta di Mezzo (medieval with 17th century alterations and an opening in the Clock Tower dividing the old town from the Borgo portion of town), the Town Library (former Chiesa di Sant'Agostino), and the Badia Vecchia (Norman with 14th century alterations).

The churches (Diocese of Messina) include:
San Nicolo' Di Bari (Cathedral, 15th-18th centuries)
Chiesa di Santa Caterina (historic, 17th century)
Chiesa di San Pancrazio (historic, built on the ruins of the Hellenistic temple of Jupiter Serapis, the walls of which can still be seen in the side walls of the Christian church)
Convento di San Domenico (historic, now a deluxe hotel containing part of the 16th century cloister and the 17-18th century campanile)

Links to other sites about Taormina include:
Taormina Photos
Messina Province

My latest book on CD is titled Sicily, Part 1 and Part 2 is now available on 2 CDs. With a file for each town (plus many other files), it relates the history of Sicily as reflected in the photos, records and festivals of its towns. It contains over 2500 text and photo files and can be ordered at CD order.

Order Italy Kathy Kirkpatrick

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© Kathy Kirkpatrick 1997-2016