If you travel to Italy and you’ve never been to Sicily, I am now prepared to argue that you haven’t really been to Italy.
Some of my favorite Italian dishes originate from Sicily: Caponata, Pasta Alla Norma, and Arancini (fried rice balls stuffed with meat, fish, and veggies).
After my last visit, I am convinced that Sicily is one of the most beautiful places in the world. So, if you make it to Italy, you owe it to yourself to travel to the island of Sicilia.
Sicilia was ruled by the Arabs for hundreds of years and you can see that cultural influence in the architecture, art, and even food on the island as well as the Greek and Roman influences. Learn more about the history of Sicily HERE
I spent about three of my five-week vacation in Italy in the Sicily region and I still feel like I haven’t scratched the surface. In this and the next two blog posts I will summarize the places I visited in Sicily and tell you what I loved because honestly, I can’t say that there was anything I disliked per se but I’ll tell you my favorite things about each place. I will list them in the order of my visit. I could easily write an entire blog post about each place except Palermo, but I will just summarize my experience in my favorite stops in this and upcoming blog posts. First up:
Taormina, Sicily. You can read about the history of Taormina HERE
My favorite things!
Grabbing arancini on the street to eat and walk. I had some of the best pizza in Italy in Taormina Sicily at Ortigia off Corso Umberto on Piazza San Domenico. Just fantastic traditional Italian Pizza. Please note that Italian Pizza is nothing like the gross stuff they feed you in the United States. It is not loaded with tomato sauce and is thick and dough heavy. It is a thin crust baked in an oven and some have no tomato sauce at all.
Pizza Tip: If you want pepperoni on your pizza, ask for “Salami” which is the correct name for a pepperoni in Italy.
Taormina truly gives the Amalfi Coast a run for its money. Amazing views of the Ionian sea. Crystal clear blue seas, but black rock beaches (not sand so take note).
The gorgeous Isola Bella, a tiny island off the coast of Taormina is a must-visit. And the beach in Taormina is beautiful as well. Despite the hundreds of steps down a hill to get to the sea, the views were just amazing. If you are not much for walking, take a taxi or bus and then just walk down the 20 or so steps to the beach and beach clubs. You can catch a boat to Isola Bella from there.
Taormina’s old city was my favorite. I stayed at a beautiful Airbnb that was a stone’s throw away from the city center, restaurants, and shopping. I highly recommend Airbnb and shared a review of it on my YouTube Channel HERE.
Taormina will likely be the most expensive place you visit in Sicily but it was still much less expensive for me than my stops in Capri and Positano and frankly, it was just as beautiful. While I have no plans to return to Capri or Positano, I do hope to return to Taormina in the near future. She is perfection and I LOVE her.
Other things to see and do and great places to take pics for the Gram:
The Ancient Theater
Duomo di San Nicola
Park Giovanni Colonna, Duke of Cesarò (the Public Garden of Taormina)
Stroll along the Corso Umberto and shop, eat and people watch
Special shout out to Anthea Beauty Wellness Spa. My nails and eyebrows were a hot mess when I got to Taormina. The girls there did me right and the price was quite reasonable. My manicure and gel fill lasted for the remainder of my time in Italy. They did a fantastic job!
Note: Taormina is not a large town but she’s beautiful and definitely worth a 3–4-night stay. You can fly into Catania and then take a short train ride to Taormina.
Enjoy this short video that summarizes how much I loved and enjoyed Beautiful Taormina!