Etna making a show, from Taormina
Over the last few years I’d heard a lot about Taormina. Time to have a look at this fabled town of unrivalled beauty. Or so the descriptions go.
The best thing I can say about Taormina is that I managed to get a wonderful view of Etna, just as the volcano was playing up, sending spumes of smoke into an almost cloudless sky.
The town itself, clinging to a series of jagged peaks overlooking the Bay of Naxos, is certainly a pretty little place, but I’ve seen lots of little towns in Sicily just as pretty.
Taormina is another town designed for mountain goats but not as physically impossible to navigate as, for example, Ragusa. There were lots of wonderful views down the mountain side.
Tourist buses were thick on the ground and I followed some excited passengers up to the main street.
All the shops were open and all had some tantalising window displays. My eye was caught by a gorgeous shirt, I had to get a better look and, yes, the black, soft wool, cowl-necked number was just lovely. A real stunner and unmistakably Italian. I asked the price and thought I heard cinquanta. Hmm, 50 euros is really too much to pay for a shirt, I’m on a strict budget here.
Then my mind adjusted to what the saleswoman was saying. It wasn’t cinquanta 50, it was cinquecento, crikey, 500! I asked her to repeat it and she replied clearly, in English, 500. To my shame, I laughed.
Non, grazie. No thanks.
I went back to looking at the little streets.
There were some well-heeled folk around but I wasn’t going to take any photos of ladies in fur coats. I prefer the streets anytime.
I started to walk up one street, it had good solid looking steps and didn’t threaten to strike me down with vertigo.
When I reached the top I discovered that I was in someone’s front porch. This isn’t a street, it’s the entrance way to a private house!
I retreated quickly and continued my search for an old church or two.
Why are churches built next door to another church? I know that Sicilia is a catholic stronghold (98% of Sicilians admitted this in the 2005 census) but I would call a cluster of churches over-kill.
Still, the churches are all beautiful. And I’ve never been inside one where there wasn’t some pious activity going on. When people are at prayer I can’t take photos, more’s the pity.
The following church was a little overshadowed by lights being placed on the xmas tree.
So this is Taormina. Now I’ve seen it. Whoever did the publicity deserves applause.