Chasing The Sun: Heading South To Taormina

Around Thanksgiving my family joined me in Milan to do some Euro travel before my graduation in mid December. While they did their own thing for the most part, including a fun river cruise from Nuremberg down to Budapest, we all came together for a few relaxing days in Sicily right before my ceremony. Why Sicily? Well we pretty much wanted to go as far south as possible to escape the cold.

Taormina in December is fabulous. You get the sun and the views but without the massive crowds. Taormina has a port so in the summer the main streets are flooded by cruise ship tourists.  But being one of the few people walking around in mid-December, we felt like one of the locals. Since many of the restaurants were closed for the season, we stocked up on meats, cheeses and wine at the local grocery store to eat on our deck. During the day we strolled through Corso Umberto, Taormina’s adorable main shopping street, where I was very happy to see the fantastic sales due to off season. And for dinner we were told about a great nearby local restaurant with authentic Sicilian food and delicious wine. We offset all the cannolis we ate with a hike through the town’s gorgeous Greek amphitheater, and enjoyed the views of Mount Etna erupting, which you can see all over town. Three days wasn’t enough and I was very, very sad to leave, but of course that’s when you really know it was a good trip. ::sigh::

What to see:

Corso Umberto for great shopping and Piazza IX Aprile for spectacular views

Parco Comunale, a park/botanical gardens that was once home to an English noblewoman in the 19th century and was given over to the town in 1922

The Greco Teatro for a time travel

And of course, take in the views and enjoy the pastries!

Where to eat: Vineria Modi, a delicious restaurant with great wine and authentic Sicilian food. This one was referred to us by the owner and it did not disappoint.

Where to stay: We stayed at Hotel Villa Carlotta, but since the main hotel is closed in the off-season we stayed in their villa. We lucked out because the villa had just become available and we were given our choice between that and the original apartment we had booked. The villa is a new addition to the hotel and it used to be the owner’s house. While the  apartment was fantastic, one look at the deck on the villa and we were instantly hooked. Not to mention, the service was exceptional, the owner was so warm and hospitable, AND we were given a bag of Sicilian pastries when we arrived. Sold.

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